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Namm and John Mayer

Over this weekend Jordan and Adam from Stellar Kart and I went to the Namm trade show in Anaheim, CA. Yes, the most common question I get after saying that sentence is “What is Namm?” It’s basically a trade show for the whole music industry where any and every instrument, audio, lighting, etc. company has a booth setup and you can walk all around, check out the new gear, make connections, etc. I don’t know the exact number, but there was probably 7000 booths and vendors setup. Ya, it’s big. Fun too to see different “famous” people too – we saw Carlos Santana, Joe Satriani, Slash, among others that we simply didn’t recognize who they were.

It was my first year going and was so cool. Just being able to walk all around a convention center and being able to go to any music vendor you wanted to go to and try out any one of their models of equipment, it was like Guitar Center on steroids. Also like Guitar Center in the fact that it was pretty loud with everyone playing various instruments all at the same time, but at least at Namm, all of the players have a certain standard of talent just to be there, so when someone actually does start playing around, people usually gather to watch to appreciate each other’s talent. Fun stuff. I did deem that the most annoying booth to staff for the 4 day weekend would definitely be the metronome booth with the constant tick-tocking alllllll daaaayyyyyyy loooonnnngggg.

By far the highlight was at the end of the evening. We saw ads for an acoustic cafe show throughout the day for John Mayer and Phil Keaggy. We went and got some dinner and came back to try to go to the show around 8:00 p.m. Doors were at 6:30, show at 7pm. We got free tickets throughout the day and thought we were golden. Well, we get there and there was a line to get into the show, and not moving fast at all. We told ourselves at 8:30 that we’d wait till 8:50 then call it. There were 20 people ahead of us in line and maybe 2 people being let in every 5-10 minutes. There was this bald guy that kept telling everyone that the room was completely full and it was highly unlikely that we would get in. But, the seeing 2 people getting let in every here or there gave us hope. At 8:50, we had moved far enough forward that there was only about 15 people ahead of us still, but we were within the barricade forming a line and could definitely see the entrance and probably 40-50 people behind us…we stayed. Rumor was that Mayer was going on at 10:20pm. 10:00 rolls around (ya, waiting 2 hours in line now) and there were 10 people ahead of us. Legs were so tired and we were getting so close to throwing in the towel. We saw the fire marshals and gate keepers having a lot of conversations so we all perked up as to the possibility of getting in. 10:20 rolls around, 5 people ahead of us, 2 people ahead of us left, a few let in. SO CLOSE – but we could hear Mayer just getting on stage.

10:30 comes and we’re at the front of the line after 2.5h of waiting, and our moment was granted. In we went and sat in the 3rd to back row of about 2000 people in a hotel ballroom with Mayer onstage sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar. This was by far one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. A few years back when Mayer was first breaking out, I like many others were a little skeptic of the whole rage, however I gave him the chance and rented his live DVD to which I was amazed at this boy’s talent and pure skill on a guitar and performing. To any skeptics that remain, you need to see him live because the 30 minutes that he played was the most amazing 30 minute performance I’ve ever seen. The different licks and ways that he can make a guitar absolutely sing is phenomenal.

The three of us all agreed that seeing John Mayer perform was the biggest highlight to which we’re still talking about it. My respect level for him has definitely risen – see him live.

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