Oh, John…

John Mayer is a d*bag. He’s a jerk. He’s a first rate a**hole. I know that. But I am still a fan because despite his appalling behavior in real life, his songs just really get to me.

You may already know from my post on his Manila concert that one of my favorite songs of his is Edge of Desire. I love this song so much that I practically had a panic attack when I though he wasn’t going to sing it here, and then a nervous breakdown when he did actually sing it as his encore. And just when I thought my emotional reaction to this song couldn’t get more extreme, I see this video where he intros it with this short speech:

So a lot of you guys are gonna head home and either receive texts in the dead of night or actually compose them. That are not going to be fully representative of how you feel for the rest of the day or the rest of your week. But you’ll be reaching out, if you’re not reaching out you’ll have someone else reaching out to you. And your friends and your brain and your morals and your conscience have all trained you not to respond.

But I’m gonna go against the grain and I’m going to suggest that the next time you get a text from the one you like, the only person in the world  that you love and can’t talk to, that you respond. That you just write back. When they ask you if you’re up and you’re up and you love ’em just write back: ‘Yup, Come over’

Cause life is just too short to keep playin’ the game. Because if you really want somebody, you’ll figure it out later. Otherwise, you’ll be layin’ in bed with a Blackberry on your chest staring at it, doing nothing for the rest of the night. Hoping that it goes ‘bzzzzz…bzzzzz…bzzzz’

If you love someone
If you love somebody
Don’t say a word
Just come over

That speech is trouble, ain’t it? And then he goes and follows it up with the opening riff to Edge of Desire, the song for the yearning, if ever there was one.

If you actually do send out that text and it works out for you, yey! And you’re welcome. If it doesn’t and it blows up in your face, blame John Mayer. Like I said, guy’s a douche.

Or you can blame my sister, who showed me this video and had the patience to actually transcribe the speech. Thanks, G!

The Year (and a half) that was

Yes, I know that, technically, I should only be covering the last calendar year. But the last half of last year was too amazing to leave out, and I didn’t have a blog to recap last year, so I’m including those six months here.

I think I could, without a doubt in my heart, say that the last eighteen months have been the most amazing and exciting in my life. I’ve never had so many wonderful experiences cramped into such a small timeframe (relative to the rest of my life, that is) that it needs to be commemorated somewhere. If and when I fall into a “my life sucks!” rut (which, let’s face it, happens to everyone, except maybe if you’re Gisele Bunchen or Kate Middleton), this will be a reminder that, no, not really. My wildest dreams came true last year and a half, so I pretty much have no right to complain about anything in the following year and a half (not that that would ever stop me).

So anyway, here goes. A recap of my wonderful 2010 (and July-December 2009):

1: Getting to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup live in South Africa: All football fans dream of getting to watch the World Cup, and I am no exception. But never, ever, in a bajillion years did I think that this dream would come true. It was just one of those things that was never goning to happen, unless of course I had another dream come true and ended up marrying Prince Harry (‘cause we would get VIP tickets, of course). But it did happen without Camilla being my stepmother-in-law.

I got to watch, not one World Cup match, but FOUR. Actually, sitting here and writing this, I still can’t believe that it happened. Thank goodness I have tons of pictures, because when I’m old and gray, I could prove to myself that, yes, I was there when Messi and co. beat Korea Republic 4-1, when David Villa scored that goal from fifty yards out,

"El Guaje" warming up, Chile vs Spain group match

that I was sitting right alongside the goal when Asamoah Gyan missed that crucial penalty for Ghana and was in the fifth row, alongside the goal during that tortuous match between Spain and Paraguay.

The moment that almost gave me a heart attack, Spain vs. Paraguay QF at Ellis Park

And as if getting to watch wasn’t enough, I got to watch Spain. TWICE. Which brings me to…

2: Spain WINNING the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa: It was a two-fold dream come true. Not only did I get to watch the World Cup, but my beloved Spanish National Team deservedly won their first ever World Championship. And, really, like #1, I still can’t believe they did it, even when I watched every single second of every match, whether on the telly or in the stadium.

Viva España!

It’s amazing how something totally unrelated to me can make me this happy, but it did. And it still does.

3: My destined meeting with Andy Roddick: I guess it’s a theme, huh? As with #1, never in a million years did I think that I would actually get to meet Andy Roddick, much less get his picture and an autograph. But with what I can only and reluctantly describe as fate’s intervention, I did. And it’s a good thing I got a picture and the autograph for proof because I think I’ll be needing physical evidence of it actually happening, since it was so heartbreakingly unlikely to begin with.

4: Versailles: I guess among all my dreams that came true over this 18-month period, this was one of the more achievable ones, but that doesn’t make it any less special. I swore to myself I would visit the legendary chateau in my lifetime after watching Sofia Coppola’s screen adaptation of the Antonia Fraser biography of Marie Antoinette. I got my chance last, last August (in the summer too, when the seasonal features are open) and it was as grand and as beautiful as I imagined it to be. And while its beauty is surely reason enough to go, for the wannabe French history buff like me, Versailles’s historical significance is even a greater draw. The number of times my jaw dropped and the hairs on my arms stood on end at the sight paintings I only saw in books and of rooms I only saw in pictures were too many to count. And, yes, I must blog about the visit soon.

5: John Mayer in Manila: It had all the makings of a disastrous night, really (less than ideal location, less than engaging artist, RAIN) but it still turned out to be quite awesome. While a couple (or five) more songs would’ve made it a perfect night, hearing Edge of Desire, Heartbreak Warfare and Slow Dancing Room (aka the most heartbreaking song ever written) live made the long wait and the cold, wet rain well worth it.

So how can my 2011 top 2010 (and half of 2009)? If I get to go to Spain, watch the El Classico in the Bernabeu and Madrid beat Barcelona 7-0,  then get tickets to the Gentlemen’s Final at Wimbledon where Andy finally beats Federer then get tickets to the Backstreet Boys concert in Manila with ALL FIVE members performing, 2011 will for sure be better than 2010. But, barring that, 2010 has enough memories to keep me happy and grateful the next year… or decade.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Spanish team photo from FIFA.com

Three hours, Five Months and One Rainy Night

Plus about five or six years.

That’s how long I’ve loved John Mayer’s music. It was a gradual progression from interest (Back to You and the rest of Room for Squares), to like (Split Screen Sadness and Heavier Things) to love (Slow Dancing in a Burning Room and Continuum). And things came to a head for me in March of this year, when rumors started swirling that John Mayer was coming to Manila in May. I went on full stalker mode, constantly visiting his tour page for official confirmation, Googling “John Mayer in Manila” to make sure I got the latest news.

Finally, the date was set, and ticket prices publicized. The rates were exorbitant, but I didn’t care. The first day tickets became available, a friend and I left work early and drove all the way from Makati to Tomas Morato, where the Channel V offices were. We endured THREE HOURS of Channel V’s inept inefficiencies to finally purchase our tickets for the May 16 concert. I was technically supposed to be in South Africa on that date, but again, I didn’t care, I’ll figure it out. Come hell or high water, I was not going to miss this.

So I was actually quite relieved when the concert was postponed, as it saved me the hassle of explaining to my boss that I needed to be back home merely two weeks into my new job to watch a concert. And, as it turned out, it wasn’t that long of a wait, as I had adjusting to a new country, the World Cup, and two new jobs to distract me in between.

October 1 came around, and the first thought in my head when I woke up was “Crap, it’s raining!” Throughout the day, I was hoping and praying that the rain would let up, but it didn’t. It was pouring hard on our way to MOA, and I actually even called Channel V to double check if the concert was pushing through, or if, at the very least, there was a change in venue. It was so bad, that we decided to buy ourselves some raincoats from SM department store, where the salespeople didn’t know what hit them. There was such a clamor for raincoats that they had to take out all their stock, that raincoats were actually being snatched from the salesman’s hands as his was bringing them out from storage.

Chaos over raincoats

Armed with our industrial-strength kapote, we proceeded to the venue and to our seats. With the rain, wet seats, and the tight legroom in between rows (they made economy class legroom seem like first class!), it wasn’t looking like it was going to be a comfortable night. Overall, there was a feeling of “John Mayer better make all this trouble worth it”.

I’ve read mixed reviews on his concert, ranging from the inane and downright stupid to the valid (“He didn’t really establish a rapport with the crowd”). It is my opinion that if you’re a mere casual fan (you know the singles, but never really listened to the albums), then you were probably disappointed by the setlist and the concert as a whole. Sure, there was Your Body is a Wonderland, No Such Thing and Gravity, but he didn’t play a lot of the songs the more mainstream audience loves and would recognize (Back to You, Love Song for No One, Dreaming with a Broken Heart, etc.).

But if you were hard-core, die-hard fan, then, apart from maybe a few more songs (but don’t we all feel the same way after every concert?) and better weather, there really was nothing more you could ask for. If you were there for his guitar playing, then you would definitely have had your fill.  John Mayer, pop-rock roots notwithstanding, proved that night (and many other nights, for sure) why he is being touted by some as the heir apparent to Eric Clapton. While I wasn’t able to keep track of all the solos, his ukulele vs saxophone showdown of sorts in Do You Know Me? particularly stands out (I’ll stop here. I’ll leave the praise/critique of JM’s guitar playing to those who know what they’re talking about. I can’t even tell the difference between a Stratocaster and a Starcaster.).

If you were like me, though, and you were there for the songs, then it’ll just be a matter of taste. Personally, apart from the unfortunate exclusion of the tonally upbeat but lyrically heartbreaking Split Screen Sadness, I was satisfied. I’ve always found it remarkable how JM’s songs are always about something everyone has gone through but in a totally real, non-sappy, non-cheesy way. He writes about heartbreak so well (surprisingly enough, given his douche-y history with women), but never with the oh-woe-is-me-I-can’t-live-without-you sentimentality most songs come with. He perfectly captures the confusion, the conflicting feelings that love and life come along with: the torture of pining for someone you’ve broken up with, the awkwardness and nervousness of dating, the satisfaction in and concurrent loneliness of being single, the inherent stubbornness that keeps us in relationships that we know are doomed anyway and our almost sadistic ability to hurt the people we love.

Which is why, it wasn’t Your Body is a Wonderland (uggggh, puh-lease.) that had me shrieking my head off and shedding some tears (yes, I’m pathetic. I know.). It was the opening guitar riff to Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, the bridge to Heartbreak Warfare and the bass line to his encore, Edge of Desire that got the tears flowing. To say that I love these songs is an understatement. There was a point where I just had these three on repeat on my iPod and ONLY these three. To hear them live, and that close was just overwhelming for me.

The night was almost perfect (although, I almost had a meltdown when I thought he wasn’t going to perform Edge of Desire). Apart from the aforementioned exclusion of one of my favorite JM songs, my only other grievance was about the asshats  up front who refused to lower their umbrellas, obstructing everyone who wasn’t seated in row B’s view (and yes, that was me who started one round of the “Umbrellas down!” chant). Except at the point where it was at pouring the hardest (and it wasn’t actually that hard even at that point) I didn’t actually mind the rain, it gave the whole concert a sort of mystical, magical feel to it.

When I’m covered in rain, rain, rain…

So, the three-hour wait for tickets, the actual ticket price, the five-month wait, the rain. It was worth it, for the most part. Now if he had only sung Covered In Rain

PS: I don’t know why my pictures are coming up blurry. Might be because of the resizing when they get uploaded. I swear my pictures are better than this.

Because they might not publish my comment

I went to the John Mayer concert last night (more on that soon) and today, I googled the concert just to check out the reviews, if there were any. I don’t know why I do this, as I always get slightly annoyed when anyone doesn’t agree with my opinions (even if she is Michiko Kakutani), but I do it anyway. I suppose it’s to temper any previously unalloyed love for something, whether it be a book, a bag or, in this case, a concert.

I came across this one, from the Manila Bulletin website. Yes, I am a die-hard John Mayer fan, but, fan or not, I would like to think that my fan-hood doesn’t impair my ability to evaluate whether an article is good or just pure crap. And well, this one was in the latter category. It was so bad, that I actually made the effort to sign-up for an account with their site (and I don’t even read their paper) just so that I could comment on this so-called piece of journalism. So I’m posting my comment below, just in case the moderators don’t approve it on the site:

Really? Really? This got published? With such gems as:

“Hale’s Champ Lui Pio was texting somebody on his phone.”

“More than just being Jennifer Aniston’s ex, he also wanted to be recognized as a well-rounded guitar player.”

“…shouted one gorgeous lady in a wet black dress.”

“His companion agreed, muttering with a grin, “Yeah, s***t.””

REALLY?!? I can’t even bring myself to write that last word. I cannot, for the life me, believe that one of the country’s leading dailies will allow that word to be published in one of their articles, even if it is just on their website.

Apart from some very basic grammatical errors, the article was full of useless anecdotes and  name-dropping and was obviously written by someone who has a very rudimentary knowledge of  music (he doesn’t even know what a ukulele is), much less John Mayer’s music specifically. The tone was condescending throughout and arrogant in turns, when he obviously has no right to be.

I searched the net for a professional, knowledgeable review on JM’s concert last night. Instead I got this. An article with the word “s***t in it.

No wonder I don’t read the Bulletin.

So, reality check time. Has my Mayer-love blinded me, and was the article actually a worthy read? Or, like me, were you ruing the 2-3 minutes of your life you spent reading that article, minutes that you’ll never get back?

If it’s the latter: 1.) Yay! I’m not a crazy, judgmental, condescending biatch. 2.) Sorry. You can blame those wasted minutes on me.