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August 22, 2014

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Photos: Mraz, Perri offer excitable, easygoing music at Red Rock Resort

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Dustin Walker

Jason Mraz performs at Red Rock Resort on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012.

By Mark Adams

With his music in mind, Jason Mraz’s Sunday night show at Red Rock Resort was exactly what you’d expect from the Grammy-winning recording artist. His fun-loving tracks translated into a mellow and relaxed vibe, and his musicianship was awe-inspiring.

Sunday night’s performance was the last leg of the singer-songwriter’s "Tour Is a Four Letter Word" national tour in support of his latest album Love Is a Four Letter Word. Serving as the tour’s opener was rising star Christina Perri, who spoke with the Weekly before the show last week.

Perri provided about a half hour’s worth of tunes, treating the audience to much of her debut album Lovestrong. The singer-songwriter displayed her impressive pipes throughout, jumping from softly singing through delicate and exposed areas to filling the arena with her powerhouse voice.

Especially wonderful was her hit breakup anthem “Jar of Hearts,” which she belted from the piano bench, tickling the ivories all the while. The song was an obvious audience favorite, as a majority of concertgoers gave her a standing ovation.

Perri ended her set on a cheerful note, closing with her upbeat “Arms.” Aside from the music, her band’s hijinks also lifted spirits -- the horn section donned funny costumes for the final number, including an incognito Mraz clutching a saxophone and wearing a hilarious shirtless get-up.

After a short intermission, Mraz again took the stage, opening with “Everything Is Sound,” a track off Love. Mraz and his band were extremely rehearsed, as it and each track that followed sounded polished and fine-tuned (literally).

Jason Mraz, Christina Perri at Red Rock Resort

Jason Mraz performs at Red Rock Resort on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Launch slideshow »

The band added something extra-special to the experience, and it was nice to see the audience was into what these backup performers had to offer. The level of talent onstage was spectacular, which also was apparent from the beginning as the opener included killer guitar and piano solos.

In fact, there were killer solos and instrumental features throughout, as Mraz made a point to highlight each of his fellow musicians. The band consisted of a guitarist, a bass guitarist, a keyboardist, a violinist, a horn section (saxophone, trumpet and trombone), a drummer and an auxiliary percussionist. Many of the musicians were multitalented, also providing backup vocals or doubling on instruments on various tracks. They were grooving throughout the night, and the horns sounded especially great on tracks “Make It Mine” and “Butterfly” from his third album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

About half the tracks from Love were performed, including “Living in the Moment,” “Frank D Fixer,” “The Woman I Love” and “I’m Coming Over.” Many concertgoers were more familiar with his earlier work, as they weren’t singing along or dancing much to the newer songs.

Though the tour was in support of Love, Mraz didn’t ignore the hits that got him where he is today. He peppered the set with them, including his debut album’s lead single, “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” his “Lucky” duet from We Sing (with his lovely violinist filling in for Colbie Caillat), and also from We Sing, his uber-popular “I’m Yours.” Many concertgoers swayed and danced, some grabbing onto their loved ones during the swoon songs.

Mraz performed a handful of fan favorites, maybe most memorable was “Bella Luna” from his successful sophomore record Mr. A-Z. His falsetto was flawless, and how he could meticulously jump from those high notes to sailing through the more powerful moments of the song only made that even more impressive. “Plane” off the same album was an inspired performance.

A number of cover songs were worked in -- Mraz closed the concert with Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country.” His rendition of the standard “Fly Me to the Moon” was absolutely fabulous; his soulful yet gentle voice really suited the song well. Others performed were “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Steve Wonder’s “Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours” and Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” the latter popularized by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Mraz has the stage presence and showmanship you’d expect from an acclaimed and award-winning musician with 10 years in the industry. His confidence is apparent, and he commands the stage in a way that’s refreshing among the usual rock star bravado. He routinely interacted with the audience, inspiring the massive crowd to do the wave at one point and consistently charming them with amusing anecdotes to introduce songs.

The singer did just that when he returned for his three-song encore and shared his brief backstage experience. “It’s such a unique feeling to be taking a bathroom break and hearing 10,000 people cheering you on,” Mraz joked.

The funnyman invited Perri onstage to perform her song “Distance” as the first additional number. The audience enjoyed this, and the two artists harmonize well. Mraz followed with “93 Million Miles” and the lead (and hit) single “I Won’t Give Up” from Love.

During the last number, a group dressed in animal costumes stepped onstage, dancing around and inspiring many laughs. The audience soon learned that the costumed individuals were Perri and her band, as they took their masks off, locked arms and sang along with Mraz and his many devotees -- a reminder of the friendly and fun three hours that just transpired.

And Mraz’s easygoing and excitable music, it was clear to see that his fans were more than satisfied; they were mesmerized. Standing still with ear-to-ear smiles as the lights illuminated, they looked as if they didn’t want the merriment to end.

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