Photos by Anna Soderholm
Jason Mraz is definitely not a newcomer to the music scene. The man with a sensitive, positive soul and a penchant for wearing hats performed at the Bluestem Amphitheater on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
The two-time Grammy Award-winning artist who has more than 15 million monthly listeners on Spotify visited Fargo as part of his Good Vibes tour with opener Brett Dennen.
Perfect weather paved the way for a perfect night of calming, wonderful music. The audience ranged from kids to every age of adults, proving the crossover power of their music.
Dennen warmed up the crowd by starting a little bit early and performing barefoot, his persona matching the carefree, beachy vibe conveyed in his music. He hit every note, including high falsetto notes, with ease, particularly on “Must Be Losing My Mind.”
He grooved around the stage during his whole set, really feeling and living the music he was performing. He frequently switched guitars, one of which had an elephant on it, while he continued to give off a fun vibe.
People frequently yelled song requests at him, showing that not everyone was there just for Mraz. He said it was his first time in Fargo-Moorhead, and his remarks about how nice the area was made it seem as if it wouldn’t be his last.
“Here’s Looking At You Kid,” the title track from his latest EP, was met with lots of tapping feet and swaying along to the music. When he said he only had time for a few more songs, many people booed and awwed. He clearly captured the attention of the audience, whether they were initially there for him or not.
“Wild Child,” a song whose title seemed to personify him the best, elicited with many cheers. It had more of a rock feel to it as opposed to the more laidback vibes in most of his other songs, and you couldn’t help but move along with him.
He rounded off his set with his latest hit, “Already Gone,” which concluded with a standing ovation.
After about a 20-minute break, it was time for Mraz.
Everyone immediately stood and cheered as he and his bandmates came out in different colored jumpsuits. Mraz embodied his signature self, “the geek in the pink,” and sported light pink.
He told everyone to take a deep breath and “Let’s See What The Night Can Do,” as he launched into that track from his sixth studio album, Know., which was released on Aug. 10.
He had such a calm, loving presence from the moment he stepped on the stage. People frequently yelled song requests to him, and he often obliged, making the setlist feel fluid and personal.
He performed an acoustic version of “The Sunshine Song,” and the audience cheered, danced and whooped.
Several times during the show, Mraz took the time to connect the audience with the band members and even each other. Most band members had one, if not several, solo jam sessions, which helped show off their individual talents even more.
During one of the songs, he told people a few times to high five someone they didn’t know, and Mraz said it was such a positive exchange of energy. Later, he wanted to keep everyone connected, regardless of where their tickets where, so he had everyone do the wave. Both he and his bandmates seemed impressed with how many people participated.
There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that he’s an amazing singer and songwriter that loves music. He told a story about how he wrote a song by closing his eyes and just letting the music come out of him.
“Singing has always been my first love,” he said. “I just try to stay out of the way.”
He performed a wide range of his music, including fan favorites “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” and “Lucky,” the latter of which he joked was about two seagulls who landed on separate trash heaps in the ocean. He also sang and rapped with ease throughout his set, especially on “Work In Progress.”
The sounds he and his bandmates made was more than just regular music; you felt it. He brought up the subject of love several times during his set, saying that he felt it was his duty to reflect the love he feels back into the world.
You could tell he and his bandmates really enjoyed performing together and vibing off each other’s energy. You could feel their passion for music, their instruments, the songs and each other.
The whole evening was truly a positive exchange of energy. The emotional, heartfelt songs flowed continuously from one to the next with minimal pauses in between.
After someone in the crowd yelled at him to look at the sunset, he talked about our environment, planet and space.
“That’s why we’re all dressed like astronauts, to remind us that we’re all just floating out in space, doing our best to make shit up,” he said.
Then he launched into “Making It Up,” which seemed to really resonate with many concertgoers.
The audience was very respectful, attentive and engaged the whole time, adding to the special quality of the show and the performance.
As the sun continued to set, making the night a bit chillier, people kept swaying and dancing as they continued to get caught up in all the good vibes of the evening.
My friend and I left feeling happier, calmer and more content than when we arrived. I knew how much I loved Jason Mraz and his music before, but seeing him live was a whole different experience.