Jason Mraz At The Greek

Bill told me they left a lot of money on the table.  That in most markets tickets were $30-$35.  The ducat I was holding had a price of $42.50, yet I was in the sixth row.  To see Jason Mraz at the Greek!

Do I really care?

I remember seeing him back at the Wiltern, the girls swooning as he sang his MTV hit, "The Remedy".  Which he played second Saturday night. People sang along exuberantly.  But where was Jason going to go from there?

Can you believe Steely Dan’s "Peg"?  Only topped by a cover of Edwin Hawkins’ "Oh Happy Day"!

How does this guy sell out the Greek?  With no one staying home, despite the lightning and the rain?


Some people have star power.  Most don’t.  But, if you do, you can build upon this base to entrance audiences, to build a career.

That game of running singles up the chart?  That’s what the major labels do.  Real managers know it’s all about tickets.  How can you get people into the seats?  And keep them coming?

The king is Jimmy Buffett.  He comes back to party with his fans every summer.  He’s had a modicum of hits, but they’re just the hanger, the framework for an extravaganza.  Where boomers come out, get tanked up and sing along.

Jason Mraz is not very different.

He spent evenings at open mics at a comedy club to hone his patter.  He involves the audience.  Which responds with exuberance.  He’s got the girls singing the boys’ parts, and the boys singing the girls’.  He’s got us raising the roof with our hands, and saying goodbye with them at our asses.  He’s doing it with a conga player and a horn section.  There are no hard drives.  No choreography.  Just music.  It’s a party.

Right now Jason is riding a monster hit, "I’m Yours", which radio only went on after the audience demanded it.  In today’s media world, the institutions are always one step behind.  And that track’s bringing people to the gig, but Jason even did great business when his last album, "Mr. A-Z", was lost in the shuffle of the Elektra merger into Atlantic.

He’s not without edges.  He went on record as being for gay marriage.  And Obama.  There was a relentless positivity that could even make me an optimist.

If you want to survive in this business you’ve got to deliver a show, you’ve got to admit the audience owns you, that you’re lucky they come, that you’re privileged to be able to play music for a living.  Jason Mraz evidences all this.

He’s infectious.  To go to the show is to be won over.  It’s to believe this business will survive just fine.  That it’s not only the dinosaurs who know how to win an audience.  And keep it.

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