Solo in Tokyo (Day 6): John Mayer Live in Tokyo

December 05, 2020

Note: This happened on April 2019.

I unlocked two firsts through this experience: it's my first concert abroad AND my first time to see John Mayer live! I was so excited and so stoked that this was really happening. I have been to concerts multiple times in my country, and so I was really curious how the experience would compare with concerts in other countries. 

And so together with Ate She and Rusty, we went to Nippon Budokan, several minutes before show time. There were already a lot of people going into the venue. Since we were all first-timers, we were not familiar with the seating arrangement. We attempted to follow the signs, but when we began to get confused, we approached the venue staff for assistance. I think we asked for directions for several times. One staff even allowed us to go up the stairs with a 'No Entry' sign just so we could go faster to our designated section.πŸ˜… After a few more searching, we finally located our seats! All the seats had flyers of other upcoming concerts in that venue. Of course I kept mine as a souvenir.😁

Looking around at the venue, I think Nippon Budokan is smaller than the main concert venues in Manila (both MoA Arena and SMART Araneta Coliseum). I think our seats here correspond to Lower Box sections in those venues back in Manila.

After a few minutes, the lights went out, and the show began!

And immediately at that moment, I was culture-shocked. There was no screaming at all. The band began to play and John began to play and I saw that the people were just standing still. Also - no phones were up. I was really so mindblown by what I was witnessing. So this is how Japanese people do concerts. As the show progressed on, I had this realization -- the people were there to enjoy the music. They didn't feel the need to capture those moments on their phones to share on social media later. They didn't feel the need to scream outrageous confessions of love for John Mayer because they were all appreciating him as an artist at that moment. And all of these they are doing as a sign of respect to the people on stage. Japanese people really never fail to amaze me.😊

Of course, as much as I was observing the audience that night, I had attention focused also to the star of the nigh - John Mayer! We know he doesn't have power vocals, but maaaaan that guitar playing skills is so good! I was very much able to appreciate his strength as a guitar player. His guitar solos are to die for. 

A potato-quality photo I sneaked using my phone camera.

Each song ending was greeted by polite clapping from the audience. After a few seconds, it would die down and the venue would be almost silent (I was still so not used to this.πŸ˜…). Then John would do his talks in between songs. Occasionally there were people who would shout 'John Mayer!!' or 'I love you John!' and it would be heard all over the venue (I bet those were foreigners LOL). John told the crowd that Tokyo is one of his most loved places to perform (I bet he'd say the same if he was in Manila haha). He also spoke some Japanese. Apparently he learned from a teacher before. He told us that his Japanese intonation is more lady-like (with a higher pitch) because that was how he was taught. He's so funny!

I didn't bring my Lumix camera with me (I intentionally left it at the hotel) because I was afraid that it would get confiscated at the venue. Again, this was my first concert in Tokyo, and I know how Japanese people adhere very seriously with rules. As far as I know, any kind of recording devices is prohibited in KPOP concerts in Japan. I have no idea with the rules with Western acts. Well just to be sure (it would not be worth the stress if my camera got confiscated), I went with the safer route. Assessing the atmosphere of the venue that night, I think security is more lax with these kinds of concerts. I saw a few people using their phones to take photos/ to record. I felt some kind of regret at first, but I told myself this is the best route. It would be a rarer opportunity to be in a concert in this city so I should do my best to be fully immersed with the experience. I'll just use my camera when John comes to my country for a show. πŸ˜€

Here's a setlist of the songs he performed last night (referenced from

Moving On and Getting Over
I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)
Who Says
Waitin' on the Day
Theme from "The Search for Everything"
Love on the Weekend
Something Like Olivia
Why Georgia
New Light
In Your Atmosphere
Buckets of Rain (Bob Dylan cover)
Your Body Is a Wonderland
I Guess I Just Feel Like
In the Blood
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room (The Beautiful Ones intro)
The Age of Worry
If I Ever Get Around to Living
Waiting on the World to Change
Dear Marie
You're Gonna Live Forever in Me

It was so beautiful. Everything about this trip felt like a dream, but that feeling resonated most during this concert. It was so trippy. I felt like I was in a lucid dream enjoying this night of music with John Mayer. Honestly, I don't have much connection with most of his recent songs, but when he played Your Body Is a Wonderland, I felt like I was sent back in time. John also said, before playing it that this song is like a time capsule for him. Same John, same.

I was in full concert mode throughout the show, and I think ate She was not used to seeing me in this kind of mood. I think that's why she asked me after -- "na-enjoy mo talaga yung concert, noh?" (you really enjoyed the concert, right?). Only a handful of people have been with me during a concert. If you are one of them, you'll understand what ate She had witnessed. πŸ˜‚

This was day two of his two-night concert in the city. Just imagine my shock when I learned that John brought out Ed freaking Sheeran as a special guest on day one! I felt sad for that missed opportunity, but oh well, here's the Universe telling me that some things are just not meant to be for me. πŸ˜…

Although John didn't sing that song that I connected with most during this trip, the night couldn't have been more perfect. After 25 songs, we exited the venue in high spirits. Here's another culture shock for the night - the path to the main road from the venue was packed with people from the concert because we were all headed towards the same direction. I was literally shoulder-to-shoulder with the people in the crowd. That setup was very stampede-prone. But nope, we're in Tokyo and it's a whole new different circumstance. The people were so calm as we walked small steps to avoid pushing the people in front of us. People were chattering and minding their own businesses but they were always still mindful for other people's safety. Huhu how I wish I didn't have to leave this city. I have already fallen in love with the people and the culture!

Once the crowd thinned out, we were able to walk in a normal pace again. Ate She and Rusty walked me to my train station. Before we parted, I gave ate She my small token -- a bag loaded with Filipino snacks (I thought she might have missed sipping Kopiko in the morning ☕). And we hugged again. Huhu I didn't know when we'll be able to meet again (editor's note from the present: we still haven't met again since then 😭). I went back to my hotel with a heart full of gratitude with all the lovely memories I have created that day. πŸ’—

Thanks ate She (and Rusty!). Thanks John. πŸ’“

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