Review: Jason Mraz at Red Butte

In retrospect, the downpour of rain that hit as I stood in line for Jason Mraz and His Superband was probably a sign from The Universe that I was not in the right place. But I hunkered down through the short-lived storm and headed into the venue with, admittedly, a little hesitation—corny pop music has never been my thing. But, as I always say, there’s no such thing as a bad night at Red Butte. Right?


Let me preface this by saying that everyone else seemed to be having a good time, and I’m glad they got what they paid for. But for me, I can tell you that no amount of booze, friends, scenery or Salt Lake City summer nights will ever convince me to see Jason Mraz in concert again. Rather than a full review, I’ve decided to just post random entries from the notes I took at the show. Think of it as field notes from a cultural anthropologist—I was definitely a stranger in a strange land.

  • Mraz comes onstage in jean shorts, a goofy caddy hat and white sneakers with bad facial hair. Is this a homage to Father’s Day, or is this who he is fundamentally as a person? He opens with a joke about waking up sore. #dadjoke?
  • There are more women in his band than men, is this equity or repression? (I later found out that though Mraz bills this as Jason Mraz & His Superband, the women in his band are actually a band called Raining Jane, but apparently they do not get billed as such. So, that’s something.)
  • He says of the percussionist, “She puts the ‘purr’ in percussion.” I roll my eyes.
  • Mraz gives the crowd permission to sing, saying, “When we sing we breathe consciously… When we sing, we are awake in the moment.” I would rather be consciously not-breathing than singing a Jason Mraz song to be perfectly honest.
  • His guitar has a sticker that says “Be love.” This guy puts the relentless in relentless optimism.
  • Now we have free-style rap and culturally appropriated Caribbean beats. But I still can’t stop looking at his facial hair.
  • The women of the band have choreographed dance moves. I’m armchair diagnosing them with Stockholm Syndrome.
  • The woman behind me is standing with her hand on her heart. Is she really feeling this music or having a heart attack? I can’t tell.
  • During a solo, the electric guitar player seems to be making guitar noises with her mouth as she plays. I’m not sure why she would do this, it’s kind of like making car noises while driving… in front of 3000 people.
  • Lyrics to this song include, “You make my pants a little tight/You can loosen them if you’d like”—at this point I groaned so loudly that the people seated in my area all looked at me.
  • There is a group of ladies in the front row who all seem to think Mraz is singing to them. I hope for their sake that he is not.
  • New song, new terrible lyrics in which he keeps calling a woman a “beautiful mess” because he thinks this is a compliment. Actual lyric: “Your comebacks are quick and probably based on your insecurities.” Look, Jason, Billy Joel already wrote a song about a woman with borderline personality disorder when he wrote “Always a Woman,” and he did it better.
  • Now he says to the crowd, “I’ve dated a lot of crazy girls.” Oh good, the old “All of my exes are crazy” line. My eyes hurt from rolling them so hard.
  • Now a song about how women need… wait for it… chocolate. “Because it regulates her mood with a rush of serotonin/ it can change her attitude when she is hormonin’” Aren’t menstrual cycles hilarious, you guys.
  • After making us listen to him scat for way too long Mraz says, “I wish I could write a whole song of just zoo-bee-dos.” Well, Jason, it couldn’t be worse.
  • Now a song with the lyrics “I take the music with me everywhere I go.” Dear God. I hope so. Take it far, far away.
  • He segues from “I’m Yours” (no, you most certainly are not) to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” don’t you dare drag Bob Marley into this, Jason.  Then he tells the crowd that its time for an intermission. I breathe a sigh of relief. He changes Marley’s lyric to, “Every little thing is going to pee alright.”

And that’s when I left. Maybe the show got better in the second act, or maybe not. But my night got better as soon as I left.


Photo by Stuart Graves

Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is a former managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months, you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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