David E. Reynolds | Lansing, MI United States | 02/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I generally characterize John Mayer as a talented chick musician - by which I mean that chicks dig him cuz he's dreamy sounding and handsome in a famous-geek kind of way. In spite of his appeal to the screaming teeny and lower-20's girls, John Mayer is a talented musician and lyricist.
Mayer's band is talented at setting up a solid groove that carries through an entire track. As a drummer, I focus in on drummers of the music I listen to. I love what his drummer lays down on this concert set: he has straightforward grooves that are very musical. They feel right and they fit.
This set has more of a jazzy feel to it than his studio work and it's a good sound. It has more of a natural, earthy feel that I think is missing from his studio work, possibly because it's harder for a producer to get their slimy hands all over the music on a live session.
Mayer's lyrics are several notches above the teeny mulch churned out by Britney et. al. His lyrics are thoughtful, poetic, innocent and at times, quite deep (how come everything I think I need / Always comes with batteries? something's missing / and I don't know how to fix it). One reviewer placed JM in the Dave Matthews camp. While not as musically versatile as DMB, JM has lyrics that are of the same level of thoughtfulness and depth, though not as consistently as DMB.
The recording quality is excellent. Very good imaging of the stage: the instruments have spatial presence in the recording and each has a proper and clear voice in the overall mix.
The single detracting feature of this disc set are the screaming girls. Jeez! You really have to focus on tuning them out but occasionally, they scream at wholly inappropriate times or for some inexplicable reason, the engineer boosts them in the mix and they just ruin the moment. What the engineer was thinking when they mixed this set is beyond me. Want to show that john is dreamy and the chicks dig him? Fine. Show pictures of swooning girls in the liner notes. Include a DVD with cuts to starry-eyed girls as JM plays. But man! Leave them out of the mix. Plech."
The Essence of John
Matt Seagull | Westfield, New Jersey United States | 03/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dave Matthews, Dispatch, O.A.R., it all ends up the same. There's only so much of an essence of the band that you can capture with studio albums. The only way to truly experience the band is to see them live. If you can't see them live, the next best thing is to get the live CD, put it in your stereo and kick back. The formula doesn't change for John Mayer and his double CD live release, "Any Given Thursday." Many of the studio versions of songs on his LP "Room for Squares" get a nice extended facelift on this album. The opener, "3x5," gets a nice drum-laced intro. Songs like "Neon," "83" and "Why Georgia" also get that extra special ingredient in a live concert that does not do the songs justice on the studio album. The real gem of the performance is the acoustic set. "Love Song for No One" gets the honors of being the best song of the performance, as John gets a chance to shine alone. He also does an excellent rendition of the Police's "Message in a Bottle," a song I find particularly bland, but that may just be me. Even so, John gives it a laid-back flair and lets the crowd groove along. What prevents this album from getting that fifth star are the basic carbon-copies of the studio versions of "No Such Thing," "Your Body is a Wonderland" and "My Stupid Mouth." Nevertheless, the songs are just as catchy as the originals. If you're new to John Mayer, I suggest getting "Room for Squares" first, but this album suppliments it nicely."
Much Better Than I Exptected
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 04/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a huge John Mayer fan. I know the radio hits, that's about it. Someone recommended "Any Given Thursday" to me, and much to my surprise I have really come to like this album. Meant as a stop-gap until Mayer would release his second album, and as a quick cash-in to Mayer's quick rise to stardom, this live collection nevertheless delivers."Any Given Thursday" (2 CDs, 101 min.) is the complete recording of a September 2002 concert in Birmingham, AL. The set contains, not surprisingly, the bulk of the "Room for Squares" album (10 of its 13 tracks are here), and Mayer delivers them confidently, at times taking his time to "jam" with his band. My favorite tracks include the sublime "Why Georgia", "83" and "Neon" (all of which are on CD2, clearly the better of CD1). There is also the obligatory "John solo" mini-set, which contains a great cover of Sting's "Message in a Bottle" (I don't miss Sting's whining voice at all!). Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there is not a single song previewing the "Heavier Things" album.In all, I was very pleasantly surprised with this album. OK, John Mayer live invites comparisons to Dave Matthews Band, there's no denying that. But hey, is that such a bad thing? Not in my book!"
Matt Konen | Billings, MT | 02/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, this is a 4.5 out of 5, not just a four. John Mayer's first live album is fantastic, featuring new and old material and about two hours of music. John Mayer is really a very good musician. Not only can he sing, but he can actually play an instrument, and play it well, unlike so many of today's newest musicians. Highlights are Mayer's version of Sting's "Message in a Bottle," "Why Georgia," and "No Such Thing." Even though Mayer's songs have received so much airplay they were starting to get very, very old, the live renditions of them breathe new life into them, revitalizing them with an energy only some bands are capable of in a live setting. If you're a fan of any of John Mayer's studio albums, you will not be disappointed. Also, fans of other groups like the Dave Matthews Band will enjoy this music. Now, here's the reason I gave this a 4.5 instead of a five: Mayer's voice tends to be a bit, well, "breathy" in the beginning tracks of this album. It just makes it sound more like he's talking than actually singing. There's nothing wrong with this, necessarily, because, ultimately, the strength of the music ultimately outweighs this flaw. I was a bit annoyed, just the same. His voice definitely picks up and becomes stronger as the CD progresses, and the second disc is the stronger of the two. Fans of Mayer's work should definitely pick this up, but I recommend it to everybody, as it is an amazing live performance, and it would be a shame not to pick it up, if not just to see what it's like."