When the folk-rock quartet Raining Jane opened for Jason Mraz at a show at the University of Redlands in Southern California, he was so impressed with their act that he suggested they work together. They accepted, of course, and a collaboration was born. That’s the story told seven years later, albeit it much entertainingly,by Mona Tavakoli, the drummer for Raining Jane, from the stage at the Wang Theater in Boston where the band both opened for and played a wonderful concert with the Grammy-award winning Jason Mraz to a full house at the Wang Theater in Boston.
There’s a good accounting of the collaboration between Jason Mraz and Raining Jane here. For my purposes suffice it to say that it seems to me that Jason, like many singer-songwriters, really takes advantages of his collaborative endeavors as a way to stretch himself and push his boundaries as an artists. His work with Raising Jane has been fruitful already, producing tracks that have been released on previous albums, but &YES!, his most recent, is composed entirely of songs written and performed with the band. It’s brilliant and the songs make for a heck of a show performed live!
I know because on September 12, 2014 Jason Mraz played to a full house at Raining Jane played a brief opening set on their own, and then joined Mraz for a full concert that included an intermission. I’ve seen Jason Mraz in concert a few times, and he’s always a consummate showman. But this was an especially smooth show. The staging was elegant, the musicians brilliant and in near perfect sync, and the songs thrilling. The show mostly highlighted songs from the new album, but was peppered with some earlier hits, too. Yet even those were arranged to blend in nicely with the style of the band and the new material. It sounded great! The crowd in the packed house at the Wang definitely enjoyed themselves, and they made sure the performers on stage knew it, prompting good-humored responses from Mraz on several occasions.
In the concert gallery below you’ll see one of the more purely entertaining parts of the show, which was watching Jason and Mona on video lip sync along while they played live an environmental awareness song in front of video of them on a trip to raise awareness about climate change. It was also heartwarming to see the video from SPARC’s Tree of Life performance in Richmond, VA around the holidays.
I also have to add how much I enjoyed the sitar! You just don’t hear that instrument enough in the West!
I hope you enjoy the photos.