JACK JOHNSON, ROGUE WAVE AND NEIL HALSTEAD, USANA Amphitheatre, Monday
WEST VALLEY CITY The lyrics to "Constellation," featuring the lines "It was just another night with the sun set and the moon rise not far behind just to give us enough light," described Monday night to perfection as the sold-out audience watched the moon rise during singer/songwriter Jack Johnson's set at the USANA Amphitheatre.
The laid-back surfer-turned-musician offered a night of his songs as well as a few cover tunes and made all his fans that filled the seats and grassy areas very happy.
"Hope," "Flake," "Taylor" and "Upside Down" got the audience singing and cheering along, and when Johnson and his band Johnson, drummer Adam Topol, keyboardist Zach Gill and Animal Liberation Orchestra bassist Steve Adams, who filled in for Merlo Podlewski played the cover of Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion," the older audience member sang along.
Gill had his time in the spotlight as he played the piano, the accordion and wind-blown melodica throughout the set.
Topol's solid rhythms and Adams' roving bass lines highlighted Johnson's smooth-and-cool delivery in other songs such as "Go On" and "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing," which featured a few lines from the Cars' "Just What I Needed."
One of the biggest surprises was Gill's impromptu accordion-laced take of the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," which was renamed "The Devil Went Down to Bavaria."
In addition to the Johnson staple "Bubble Toes," he and the band also launched into a passionate version of Cat Stevens' ecological plea, "Where Do the Children Play," as opening guests Zach Rogue and Neil Halstead joined the band during the song.
Speaking of Rogue, his band, Rogue Wave, and Neil Halstead kicked off the evening with separate sets that set the mood for the evening.
Halstead's acoustic-laden tunes were more akin to Johnson's works, but Rogue Wave, after not being able to play its opening slot for Death Cab for Cutie back at Thanksgiving Point in May, was able to play a full set of mesmerizing songs.The sound mix for Halstead was impeccable, but it did take a few songs for Rogue Wave's sound boss to fine tune the mix, but when it was all said and done, both bands, to the audience members' delight, primed the audience for Johnson.