Keepin’ it Real, Mason Jennings Performs for Los Angeles

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Mason Jennings
Henry Fonda Theatre
Los Angeles, California
November 14, 2008

Mason Jennings stepped out onto the stage of the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. alone, with a harmonica slung around his neck. Greeted by a well warmed-up and attentive crowd, thanks to the opening feel-good set by Zach Gill, Jennings took command of the stage, ripping on his harmonica for the first few tunes.

_MG_2757.jpgDuring the opening “Memphis, Tennessee,” a song from his 2008 release In The Ever, faces in the crowd lit up, signaling they had been waiting a long time for the coming set.

Taking advantage of being onstage solo, Jennings also played one of his older hits “Keepin’ it Real.” As the show progressed, he squeezed in a few more powerful tunes off the aforementioned album. 

Switching to his keyboard for “Never Knew Your Name,” Jennings sang a love song that told the sweet story of two soul mates who found each other right under their own noses.

Another new tune, “Your New Man,” was a comedic yet bitter love song about dealing with an ex-girlfriend having a new man in her life.

At one point during the show, Jennings spoke about his concerns and thoughts on the state of the environment. Talking about an experience he had while camped next to a glacier five years ago, he recalled its enormous size and sadly reported it had dwindled in size over the years due to our changing environment here on earth. Appropriately, the following tune was a twangy and dramatic tribute to saving the planet. He passionately belted out the chorus, “Don’t let the Earth turn black.”

_MG_2875.jpgFollowing the song, he informed the audience of the possible existence of a super volcano that erupts every 650,000 years, one that scientists say has not erupted in 600,000 years. “But who knows,” he said, as he started a hilarious song about the many ways a person could die. Talking about humans’ fragile existence, the tune reminded people to not take life too seriously.

Even though Jennings was clearly busy showcasing impressive new material, he still found time to play crowd pleasers like, “Butterfly,” “Ulysses” and the encore, “Crown.” The crowd heartily sang along with the songs they knew, and listened intently to the ones they did not.

_MG_2749.jpgTo the audience’s delight, the opener Zach Gill sat in with Jennings’ band on keyboard and vocals for the last few songs of the concert. Gill, a key member of the Santa Barbara, California band, Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO), recently finished touring with Jack Johnson. With Gill joining Jennings’ tour, the crowd appeared to be there in support of both bands, as their musical styles compliment one another’s.

During his own set, Gill’s closing tune was nothing short of impressive and hilarious.  Finishing with an accordion version of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” Gill cleverly altered the theme so that the devil went to Bolivia to challenge a boy to an accordion duel.  “I’ll bet a squeezebox of gold against your soul that says I’m better than you,” he sang in a Bolivian accent.  Even members of the audience who were not aware of the Charlie Daniels’ version of the song thoroughly enjoyed the comical rendition. 

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