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When John Mayer took the stage at the legendary Ed Sullivan Theatre for his Live on Letterman webcast, it was more than just a long time coming. Moreover, it was a huge sense of relief for the 35 year old singer-songwriter who was forced to cancel his entire "Born & Raised" tour in 2012 after initial surgery to repair a granuloma in his throat had failed.
Following the cancellations, Mayer went on to have a second surgery that would prove to be successful, but at a price - as he initially was not even able to speak for entire days at a time, communicating only through notes and people.
But after months of frustration that seemed as if there was no light at the end of a very dark tunnel, Mayer eventually battled all the way back; and then some. The "Your Body Is A Wonderland" singer spent much of his last few months writing and even went so far as to record a brand new album in his time off.
The new LP, entitled "Paradise Valley", is set for release on August 20th and shows a much smoother, humbler side to John. Mayer wrote and recorded "Paradise Valley" in only a little over one year since the release of his last album "Born and Raised" - all leading up to the moment when he stepped onstage at the Ed Sullivan Theatre.
Mayer took the stage looking ready to rock in a peace-signed blue jacket and bandana that would have made Jimi Hendrix grin. He opened the show with 'Queen Of California', off 2012's Born & Raised, and just like that…the room was shaking.
Mayer seemed in awe for a split second, really taking in the moment before busting into the second song of the evening, "Something Like Olivia" also off 2012's "Born & Raised" - perhaps feeling a bit of redemption for having had to cancel last years tour of the same name.
Mayer paused again before hitting into "Paper Doll", the first single off "Paradise Valley". Whether he was reflecting on how doctors told him he might never sing again as he stood tall on the same stage that The Beatles performed on all those years ago may never be known, but nonetheless Mayer continued to power through a slew new numbers like "Age of Worry" and "Dear Marie" like he never left - making the Ed Sullivan Theatre louder and louder with each selection.
Perhaps the most moving performance of the night was Mayer's rendition of "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room"; off his 2006 smash album and fan favorite, "Continuum". But most striking was the fact that outside of a couple quick "thank yous" and a bit of witty banter, Mayer let the music do all the talking; and showed why he's still one of the best in the game today.
John Mayer is known as a musician who defies genre boundaries. Mayer is well known for collaborations with a range of artists. From rock to blues, hip-hop to jazz to country, he has performed and/or recorded with Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, T Bone Burnett, Herbie Hancock, The Rolling Stones, Dixie Chicks, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Mayer is a respected songwriter and musician who has garnered both critical acclaim and popular appeal. He has won seven GRAMMY Awards and earned accolades for each album release, selling in excess of 20 million albums worldwide. Mayer will be kicking off his U.S. tour this month and will use the tour to both raise funds for and heighten awareness of the effects of post-traumatic stress on our military veterans. One dollar from each tour ticket sold in the United States will go to the Northern California Institute for Research and Education. Mayer partnered with NCIRE two years ago to create programs that help veterans return to healthy and productive civilian lives.