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No Earplugs Necessary

The best part about being in the free concert zone is the ability to see artists you might not ever see live. Certain artists just don’t seem like the type I would like, and shelling out $30 for a ticket just doesn’t seem right. And often these shows are sold out long before I book them as an usher. Tonight was an example of both of these instances.

Jason Mraz is a singer from San Diego, who apparently got his start opening for Jewel. He plays a light bouncy pop with a clear bright tenor without any of the nasality that is so popular for some reason. He tours with a tight five piece band that features a harmony singer/percussionist, a multi-instrumentalist, a bass player and drummer.

Most people of his career span (one indie album, one major label album) tend to play for about 75-80 minutes. He played 2 hours and 20 minutes, and it never got boring. He was very engaging with the crowd, even having people come up on stage to do spontaneous rhyming and/or singing. He constantly puts pieces of other songs into his own songs. Nelly’s Hot In Herre, Madness’s Our House and somebody’s Leaving on a Jet Plane are just a few of many examples. He does a lot of freestyling himself, throwing out rhymes about San Francisco and the Fillmore during his act.

The sold out crowd was extremely receptive to him. This was a much higher energy level than I have seen in the hall before. Some people knew every word, some people were just swept up by how great the performance was. My fellow ushers and I were all really surprised. None of us knew much of him before tonight. I think it is safe to say that we are all fans now. I would have bought the button, but the button said “I Love Sex” and had Jason Mraz’s name on it. Now I do love sex (who doesn’t), but I just can’t see myself wearing that button around town. I think this button was for the predominantly female crowd to wear. Another popular merchandise item was the Jason Mraz baseball shirt with “69” on the back.

My job tonight was raffle ticket seller. This unfortunately led me to miss the opening act, Chantal Krevianuk (but yields extra free drinks). I sold raffle tickets to win an autographed poster from tonight’s artist. I sold $81 worth of tickets, which is usually quite acceptable. However, the last show at The Fillmore was the only night of Metallica’s run for which there was a poster. They sold $556 worth of raffle tickets, a record by about $300, apparently. So they all told me I had to break the record or I wouldn’t be invited back. Thank goodness they weren’t serious. I want to go back!

During signups tonight, I signed up for a bunch of new shows: Love, Musiq, Lou Reed, Yo La Tengo and Taj Mahal.

Tomorrow, stay tuned to this space for a report on The Flaming Lips, Starlight Mints and Liz Phair!

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