John Mayer's New York 'Born and Raised' Concert Reveals Beefed Up Classics and Precious Newbies

John Mayer performs at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on August 28, 2013 in Wantagh, New York.

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John Mayer's thoughtful songs have grown stronger and stretched out a bit, too.

There’s a popular analogy musicians run to when promoting their new albums. A journalist asks the artist what their favorite song is on their new set. Their response goes a little something like, “Um, that’s tough. That’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid. They’re all my children. I love them all!” Make sense, sure.

But time reveals which ones are cared for most, which ones will be nurtured, loved up on the road and which ones will be, well, bastardized and forgotten.  Last night (Aug. 28) at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, John Mayer's "Born and Raised" World Tour showed that he’s good at raising his kids. Or rather, songs.

Mayer performed cuts like "Something Like Olivia," "Who Says," and "Vultures" like a proud parent showing off a little one’s new skills. Listen to how much funkier “Olivia” is now! Here’s the three-part version of “If I Ever Get Around to Living.” Like how it’s stretching out? 

And the audience received them with cheer, like grandparents. Oh goodness, that guitar solo wasn’t there the last time we were together! This went on for two joyous hours. Really though, it’s the newborns that John was most excited to reveal.

After spending the better portions of the last two years silenced by vocal surgeries that required relative silence during recovery, Mayer finally is able to perform 2012’s “Born & Raised” and last week’s “Paradise Valley” live on stage. "Queen of California," "Paper Dolls," and "Dear Marie" from them all got play early. Fittingly, his digital display’s central picture was a starlit mountainous area, similar to Montana, where he lived for the last few years to recuperate.

Other noteworthy moments include Mayer thanking the audience for sticking up for him when bewildered friends ask, “Why do you listen to John Mayer?” He’s fully aware that he’s said his fair share of unflattering things in magazines and that he’s still got a few holes to dig himself out of in some circles.  “I will make it up to you for the rest of my life," he said.

John had nothing else to apologize for. The rest of the night—especially after he played "Lost At Sea" and "Waiting on the World to Change" for an encore—was devoted to thanking him for his performance and his ever maturing catalogue (or rather, children). Those songs sure are coming along nicely.