Ever cool, Jack Johnson needs no flash
Singer Jack Johnson doesn’t rely on flash to impress the crowd at the Molson Amphitheatre.
IAN GAVAN / GETTY IMAGES
Jack Johnson performs at the Glastonbury Festival in England on June 27, 2010.
Nothing fazes Jack Johnson.
After successfully navigating through the slower intro of “Bubble Toes,” the surfing songwriter from Hawaii accidentally launched into the second verse of the lively love song once he switched tempos.
Johnson didn’t break a sweat, but instead just continued vamping along and admitted his mistake.
“I just get really excited when I want people to sing along,” he smiled, and carried on as if nothing happened.
It was one of the few dramatic waves of a two-hour show that found the environmentally friendly Johnson performing in front of a friendly environment of 16,000 kindred souls at the Molson Amphitheatre on Monday night.
That’s not to say the show didn’t have its lively moments, but for the most part, Johnson didn’t rely on any flash to impress the crowd, who were clearly there to hear him perform their favourites from a scattering of albums that included his sixth and latest studio effort, To the Sea.
Monday night’s performance was truly a testament to the power of the song, and whether it was the opening elastic funky overtones of “You and Your Heart,” a smooth segue into the nimble “If I Had Eyes” or a bit of a groovy workout to “Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology,” people stood, swayed and danced to Johnson’s sweet, predominantly romantic odes.
Although Johnson isn’t exactly Slash in the guitarist department, the musical power came from the well-disciplined tandem of drummer Adam Topol, bass player Merlo Podlewski and keyboardist Zach Gill, who performed double duty with first opening act ALO and served as Johnson’s vocal foil throughout the night.
Again, “understatement” was the key word here, with Gill flexing his occasional piano muscle to add a bit of meat to the arrangements whenever he was called upon to do so.
As for Johnson, he basically swayed and grooved along to the mood of the song, whether it was the relaxed reggae feel of “Wasting Time,” or throwing down covers of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed” or Steve Miller’s “The Joker.” The momentum continued to improve as the musicians advanced deeper into the set, with Johnson’s grin becoming wider and wider as the audience cheered louder with each tune.
Like the title of one of his songs, they were simply thrilled to let him “Go On.”