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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
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  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Linear PCM Stereo
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  • Audio commentary
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John Mayer - Any Given Thursday
Sony Music Video/Sony BMG . R4 . COLOR . 118 mins . M15+ . NTSC

  Feature
Contract

The old solo male singer/songwriter thing has undergone somewhat of a renaissance in recent years. All manner of wannabe Springsteens have emerged – Damon Gough (aka Badly Drawn Boy), Ben Harper, Ryan Adams, and, of course, John Mayer. Despite being easily corralled under the one banner, they all exhibit their own traits – BDB’s sweet, introspective style, Ben’s tinge of soul, Adams’ pain-in-the-arse Oscar the Grouch petulance – and Mayer’s genuine air of Mr Nice Guy, but without the sickly saccharine.

Any Given Thursday sees John’s return to where it all started for him, Birmingham, Alabama, playing to a hormone-packed Oak Mountain Ampitheater. With the decibel level of the screams throughout it’s much as if we’re witnessing the birth of a one-man Beatles, although thankfully Mayer’s mixture of warm, heartfelt jangly tunes is still audible above the sometimes incredibly annoying din. Yes, he’s a bit of a spunk this one, sort of in a Tom Hanks-ish kind of way, but he’s also an extremely talented spunk, as evidenced in this almost two-hour show.

For somebody whose career is so young, as indeed is he, John is already displaying quite a remarkable aptitude for holding a crowd in his thrall. Unlike many performers he’s not afraid to chat between songs, with everything from heartfelt thankyous to relationship advice neatly punctuating proceedings. But those in it simply for the music will not be disappointed. An uncanny maturity is displayed by the placement of The Big Hit, No Such Thing, right near the top of the set – there’s none of that saving it for the encore crap so many would resort to. Both his albums are liberally sampled, along with the odd foray into covers territory, with everybody from Stevie Ray Vaughan to The Police to Bjork to Cyndi Lauper to Deniece Williams being pillaged.

John Mayer has the whole package – the personality, the looks and most importantly the undeniable talent to potentially be the last man standing from the whole new wave of blokes-with-guitars. Oh, he also gives pretty mean hee-haw dance - let’s hear it for the boy indeed!

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

Tsk, tsk – another region 4 NTSC release... Overlooking the lack of intelligence shown in releasing a DVD which the majority of the population will be unable to play, visually things are quite a treat – not surprising considering the show’s recent vintage. With a beautiful filmic sheen on proceedings and nicely rendered colour – especially for a stage show – the only possible downside is the odd white fleck, but then there are so many camera flashes going off it’s hard to tell what’s what anyway. Whilst presented in a 1.78:1 ratio, sadly things aren’t anamorphically enhanced.

The sound is an absolute treat, whether you opt for the Linear PCM or the Dolby Digital 5.1. Each specifically mixed for their format, the former offers superb CD-like sound, whilst the latter spreads things all around the room – thrill to the screams emanating from behind you – whilst the subwoofer gets to add just the right dose of thump to proceedings.

As for extras, it’s rare to come across a commentary on a music release, as it also is to find a truly engaging example of the art - anywhere. John and man about town Scotty Crowe are great fun on this frank yet entertaining track, with Mayer imparting all manner of thoughts on his songs, touring and watching himself “bouncing around like a weirdo”. A five-minute rapid-fire, fly on the wall featurette follows, offering a look at all the usual stuff - everything from setup to punter arrival and, erm, the act of fellatio on microphones, complete with time lapse photography and a bit of fiddling with the truth time-wise... An interview gives us a brief ten minutes with John, authentic bed hair and all, guiding us around his hotel room, having a bit of a sing and letting us into some of the secrets behind a few of his songs. Wrapping things up is a photo gallery, featuring mainly live and rehearsal shots and playing through to the strains of 3x5, a discography which masterfully documents all two of John’s releases and a web link.

A fabulous music release with decent enough quality where needed, this will have the converted gleefully screaming along to their heart’s content, whist if you’re yet to fall under Mayer’s spell this is the perfect way to get bewitched.


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  •   And I quote...
    "Let’s hear it for the boy!"
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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