Recorded at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California, Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles finds singer/songwriter and guitarist John Mayer performing in three different band settings: acoustic trio, electric trio, and large ensemble. As such, the evening works as a nice representation of Mayer's work beginning with the 2003 album Heavier Things and continuing through his creative reinvention as a modern electric blues artist with 2005's Try! John Mayer Trio Live in Concert and finally his smash Grammy-winning 2006 effort, Continuum. Essentially, the concert is designed to showcase Mayer's ability to move from melodic soft rock and pop to folky solo numbers and rockin' blues. Generally, the conceit works and the concert does shine a light, so to speak, on Mayer's virtuosic musical chops. However, segmenting this concert into such specific aesthetic sounds loses some of the diverse flow a Mayer concert usually has. It should be noted that the concert is also available on DVD and Blu-ray, where you get see each band and appreciate the diversity among the ensembles. That said, for fans of Mayer the songwriter, you really can't lose, as the guy is hard-pressed to come up with a bad song, and tracks like the fan favorite "Daughters" and the bittersweet "Stop This Train" really benefit from the acoustic reading Mayer gives them here. Similarly, by putting "'Who Do You Think I Was," "Vultures," and his inspired take on Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love" in the middle electric trio section, Mayer builds the energy of the concert, perfectly setting up the pop/blues cornucopia of the final large ensemble set. Beginning with the hit "'Waiting on the World to Change," Mayer's last set (on disc two) is really the set most fans will gravitate toward, as it finds Mayer and his backing group of stellar sideman diving headlong into such soulful numbers as "Why Georgia" and "I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)," while also making room for such bluesy nuggets as his Stevie Ray Vaughan-inspired reworking of the Ray Charles hit "I Don't Need No Doctor" (a number heard on John Scofield's That's What I Say with Mayer as guest). Admittedly sprawling and ambitious, Where the Light Is is nonetheless a dynamic showcase for Mayer, who never fails to shine.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar