Over this past Thanksgiving Break, I received the best news and biggest surprise from my parents. They told me that they had bought 4th row and center tickets to the John Mayer concert in Richmond on the day after I would get home for Christmas break. They even got an extra ticket for me to bring along a friend, which was more than thoughtful. Upon hearing the news, I was absolutely surprised because I had already been to his Atlanta concert (lawn seats) in September and also thought that the Richmond tickets would’ve already been sold out for a decent seat. Of course, my parents went above and beyond in getting my early Christmas present and went online to secure AMAZING tickets to his Richmond show immediately after I had sent them a bold text from the Atlanta concert describing how badly I wanted to see John again but from a much better seat. After the Atlanta concert, I hadn’t forgotten about his upcoming concert in Richmond, but had no expectations AT ALL to get the chance to go. So, you can imagine how happy and excited I was upon being told that I’d be seeing my favorite artist from 4th row seats.
Now, fast-forward to a few weeks later, and I’m finally on my 8 hr. drive home from UGA to my hometown in VA with nothing but John Mayer blasting from my speakers to keep me awake. The amount of excitement I had on the day I was told about the tickets had only been growing over the past week of studying for final exams and was at an all-time high on this ride home. I was actually starting to scare myself with how excited I was, but I was able to convince myself that it isn’t abnormal to have one or two people in the world that you look up to on many different levels. John Mayer has been that person for me for a long time. I started really listening to his music in middle school and it quickly became my comfort during any exciting or difficult situation that came about. I also started playing guitar when I was very young, with my dad and John as my inspiration, but my fingers were far too small at the time to effectively play a single chord. I’ve recently gotten back into playing since I can finally wrap my fingers around the guitar neck without experiencing major issues, and John’s music is now an even bigger inspiration than it was before. I also have to give credit to John’s adorable “boyish” looks and charming presence in addition to his musical talent and heart-melting voice for my overwhelming love of anything “Mayer.”
On the day of the concert, my parents and I were very busy visiting with both of their parents in Richmond while also attempting to fit in some Christmas shopping before we had to head to the concert venue that night. Even though the day was insanely busy, all I could think about was how close I would be to my favorite artist that night. We made it to the Richmond Coliseum with time to spare, so my parents and I made the necessary arrangements for my best friend Allie to pick up her ticket at will call and grabbed a few beers before heading to our seats. We were directed to our ridiculously amazing seats just in time to see the opening act, Phillip Phillips, stride onto the stage with an adorably crooked smile on his face and guitar in his hands. Still in amazement over how close I was to Phillip and would be to John, I was quickly on my feet while blissfully singing along with Phillip to his hit songs such as “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Home.” Phillip Phillips was a fantastic performer and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved his music and presence. He was humble, talented, and crazy charming; of course, holding eye contact with him while he was performing didn’t hurt my growing affection for the guy. As Phillip finished up his short but sweet set, I was already overwhelmed with adrenaline and happiness from the combination of the Shock Top in my hand and flawless music surrounding me. I couldn’t believe that the night was only going to get better. After about a half hour of making sure my friend Allie was going to get to the Coliseum in time for John to start, the lights went down and the band began making their way onto the stage. Allie was finally getting her ticket at will call and I had caught my first glimpse of John approaching the microphone stand with a guitar strapped over his shoulder… life was perfect. The feeling of being so insanely close to someone who you’ve looked up to for so long is indescribable and left me in pure bliss over the next few hours.
Phillip Phillips performing
John started his set with “Queen of California” and the crowd seemed more than pleased to be singing along with the happy tune. His set list was a delightful mixture of old and new songs, with a great balance of acoustic and electric guitar solos. He even played the piano to accompany his song “I Will Be Found.” I was glad that I knew every song that John played and especially excited that he played almost all of my favorite songs. My favorites included “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”, “Who Says”, “Your Body is a Wonderland”, “Why Georgia”, “Dear Marie”, and “Gravity”. In every song he performed, his voice as well as his guitar solos sounded flawless. John’s encore was definitely a special one as he played a beautiful Christmas song in addition to “Gravity”. All throughout his performances, it was clear that the crowd was overly excited and in a great state of mind. I’m so happy that Richmond was able to show John some love and I know that the night is one that I’ll never forget. It was a perfect show and Christmas present in every way, which I am overwhelmingly thankful for. Making eye contact with John, in addition to Phillip, a few times during the show made it all the more personal and special experience for me. The only regret that I have from the entire night is not fighting harder to grab one of the few guitar picks that John threw out into the crowd around me- maybe next time I’ll bring in a net.
I hope that I’ll be able to attend some more concerts of John’s (and even Phillip Phillips’) in the future. Experiences like these are priceless and ones that will always be remembered, so I will always recommend getting tickets to see your favorite artist when they are available. Also, one more thing…MAYER IS BACK!
John performing his opening song, “Queen of California”
Allie and I, loving life
John on the piano playing “I Will Be Found”
Playing behind his back on an electric guitar solo
The crowd lit up the Coliseum in anticipation of an encore
Playing an encore Christmas song- beautiful set, song, and guitar