Jason Mraz at DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, DC, Thurday 27 May 2004
Jason Mraz's latest outing brought lesser-known musicians before a modest crowd at DAR Constitution Hall on Thursday night. After a video advertisement for Mraz's upcoming live CD and DVD, the show kicked off with a brief performance by Makana, a Hawaiian slack-key guitarist whose talented finger work was overpowered by his oppressive vibrato.
Next up, the evening's best all-around performer, Raul Midon, tapped, plucked and strummed his guitar, creating a wealth of sounds that gave the illusion of a full band behind him. Midon, who is blind, sang with a voice as silky as Seal's, pursed his lips to imitate a trumpet, and had the audience hanging on to his every word.
After a 90-minute set, Mraz returned for an encore of his current radio hit, "Curbside Prophet." Rather than performing with instruments, he boldly opted for an a cappella version, with Midon rocking the bass line and three other tour mates (Makana, DJ Bob Necksnapp and percussionist Jennifer Lowe) joining in. Although this song featured the night's most tasteless subtext, Mraz's risky, nontraditional arrangement lifted his set from mediocrity to end the night on a solid note.
-- Catherine P. Lewis