Photo by Eric Morgensen.
Last Sunday night, Jason Mraz, along with Toca Rivera and Gregory Page, graced the stage of the Stifel Theatre for a very different kind of show, to say the very least. The tour, which started late last month, is taking them across the U.S. before heading overseas throughout Europe and Asia. St. Louis was one of the many stops on their “Live in Stereo” tour.
As someone who was not very knowledgeable of the three artists or their music, the show was a pleasant surprise. Having been to many concerts in my lifetime I expected to see the usual: a parade of show openers before the main event. What the audience actually got was an entire show with all three acts on the stage together in one hilarious and peace-loving performance. The very first performance was by Mraz and Page with nothing more than the two of them, their instruments, and a couple random strands of lights displayed in the background. Mraz introduced Page as the guy that gave him his first official gig which was at a coffeehouse in San Diego back in the early 2000s. Right from the beginning, you could tell this wasn’t going to be your ordinary show. The camaraderie among the performers coupled with their casual appearance—jeans and dress shirts—was a clear indication this show was about to be as informal and personalized as a show will ever get.
Not long into the first half the show, during one of the trio’s performances, comedian and singer Billy Galewood—formerly of the band Bushwalla—walked out on stage with his own mic in one of the most awkward entrances ever. Without introduction, reason, or any form of acknowledgement, the trio continued singing while Galewood stood there behind the mic staring at the crowd. The audience’s laughter was infectious. After a few humorous words of wisdom—he recited the theme song to The Facts of Life in spoken word form—he quietly took his mic and walked back off stage. It wasn’t long before he returned during their performance of ‘Karate,’ with mic in tow, to act out the song line by line for the audience.
Each performance was exceptional and even more hilarious than the last one. I can’t imagine the show in any other format. While all four performers were strong acts in themselves, the performance was a lot stronger with all four of them on stage together. They played off each other and kept the audience on the edge of their seat. You were never really sure who was going to pop their head out with the next hilarious line or gesture. All four are extremely charismatic and leave you wishing it was a weekly show. You get the feeling they are just four guys traveling the country and stopping randomly to mess around and have a good time—the type of people you want to hang around and have a few drinks with.
Whether you are or aren’t a fan of the music of Jason Mraz, if you’re looking for a great show that can bring the laughs as well as the talent then you must catch one of his shows. Forget any of his pop songs you’ve heard on the radio throughout the years: Mraz offers a bigger, more colorful world to those who care to see it. | Jennifer Manjarez