“Let’s go for a ride,” urged the guitar-toting singer-songwriter as he opened his first Hong Kong performance of his Good Vibes 2019 tour. As fans might have expected, Jason Mraz radiated positivity and love throughout the evening, and ensured fans had an amazing time.
It has been three years since the exuberant yet composed singer last performed in Hong Kong. This time, he’s touring in support of his latest album, Know, playing two nights at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. He opened with the acoustic Long Drive and Let’s See What The Night Can Do, which set the mood for the night, reflecting his intention to stay chilled in the long drive of life!
Unlike most concerts where upbeat songs are played at the start of the show to turn up the volume, Mraz kept it low-key, immersing his audience in the smooth sounds of his guitar and signature folk-pop voice.
He turned the show into a homey party where everyone breathes music, actually encouraging the crowd to take a deep breath. Instead of fancy decorations and complex stage designs, the stage was kept simple yet beautiful. There was a single backdrop throughout the performance, printed with the name of the tour; but far from being boring, this reminded the audience of the aim of the show: to create good vibes. The show was filled with love, support and happiness, offering a little getaway from the outside world, and ensuring everyone was up and dancing to the music.
Mraz offered a refreshing take on some of his best known hits, including I’m Yours, Lucky and I Won’t Give Up. And while the singer’s solo vocals are amazing, his harmonies with indie quartet Raining Jane on many of the songs greatly elevated the tunes.
There was not much talk between songs, the artist preferring to speak his mind through his music.
“Singing is my first love,” he said. “It allows me to feel connected to something.” And it is this connection that makes him remarkable: his music and lyrics are genuine, and weave his life stories into them, which in turn allow the audience to feel connected to them, and be encouraged and inspired at the end of it.
Lucky, from the album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things - which earned the artist a Grammy Award and has over 141 millions views on Youtube - was re-arranged as a jazz number that somehow emphasised the feeling of “sailing through the sea” - and, as the lyrics go, really made the music fill the air.
The singer ended the show with Have It All, which is basically a letter from the musician to the audience. He said it’s a song for people who are about to embark on a new journey. He added a bit of improvisation at the end of the song (which he always does) to tell the audience that, “If you have a dream, either big or small, I want you to have it all”.
In his gentle voice, the humble artist thanked the audience several times for listening. He clearly made music the central focus of the night and of his language as well. His incredible wordplay in his lyrics makes him stand out from other artists. But perhaps it is his personality, as well as his love for life, that shines most brightly through all his songs, which is why he’s definitely a unique and beloved artist of today.