Just What I Wanted – Jack Johnson Concert Review


Jack Johnson, duh

Sometimes it’s nice to get exactly what you expected.

That is exactly how I felt after seeing Jack Johnson play at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in Chula Vista on October 9. Jack delivered just what I had gone to see- album-precise versions of his hit songs, a few special guests, and a good time.

Let’s face it: Jack Johnson is not the world’s most innovative musician, but that isn’t a bad thing. His simple, sunny melodies (enhanced at the show by a full, very talented band) and very personal lyrics are poignant in their own way. This came across in an especially strong way live. He explained the meaning behind a few of his songs, including one of my favorites, “Do You Remember?” (as I predicted, it was about his wife). Jack, as you can imagine, is incredibly personable (and handsome) live, making for a good vibe among the audience.

I can’t say much more about Jack’s musical style other than its preciseness to the album versions of the songs. I felt like I was listening to one of his albums. I would have appreciated some improvisation (of course I would- my favorite bands are Phish and Dave Matthews Band, the masters of jamming), but at least the live version didn’t fall short of the performance on his albums.

I appreciated the variety of his set list, and I got to hear every song I went to hear. From his early classic, “Bubble Toes,” to the opening song, the single from his new album “You and Your Heart,” I was very pleased with the songs he chose to play. Other personal favorites included his classic song “Inaudible Melodies,” the way-too-catchy title track of his new album “To the Sea,” a stunning version of “Country Road” featuring Hawaiian singer Paula Fuga (this song alone was worth the price of admission), and the exuberant finale of “Better Together” featuring Paula Fuga and the opening act G.Love & Special Sauce.

I would recommend Jack Johnson for anyone who is going to a concert to have fun- not to have a life-changing musical experience. It was worth it for me to see an artist I have been listening to since I was 13 play all my favorites. I got just what I wanted.