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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Jason Mraz presents “Beautiful Mess-Live on Earth”

    Jason Mraz’s newest release ‘Beautiful Mess-Live on Earth,’ a CD/DVD combo, finally arrived at my house today after I pre-ordered it on September 27. I’ve seen Jason Mraz live three times, once in 2006 long before his ‘I’m Yours’ driven mainstream fame, again in October 2008 and most recently this summer during his Gratitude Caf’eacute; Tour in August.

    The set features one of his shows from the Gratitude Caf’eacute; Tour. According to Jason, he needed a ‘quality recording’ of a show for his Grandma. Well, he isn’t only making his Grandma happy by releasing this. When I heard Mraz would be releasing a DVD of his live show, I was ecstatic-he puts on an amazing live show and I looked forward to being able to relive it.

    The cool thing about ‘Beautiful Mess-Live on Earth’ is that the CD and DVD include the same songs, so you can experience it visually, or just listen to it in the car. Another exciting detail about the double disc feature is that it includes some of Mraz’s songs that he performs, but haven’t been released officially, like his cover of Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long,’ one of my favorites. Plus, in the DVD, you get to see Mraz groove along and bust out some dance moves.

    The concert filmed took place in Chicago. The opening sequence shows shots of Mraz, the stage, the crowd and the Chicago skyline. What I love about Mraz’s live show is that his band includes all of the usual instruments, but also includes a brass section–Mraz refers to them as his ‘Superband’– that occasionally breaks out into coordinated dance steps.

    The brass section is also featured in an amazing onstage jam session, something you don’t normally get to see or hear with a regular studio album. Cobie Callait makes a guest appearance on the duet ‘Lucky,’ and host Bushwalla performs his ‘Fall Through Glass’ with Mraz. Bushwalla was Mraz’s college roommate and is also a musician.

    Mraz’s tour largely celebrates love, giving and, well, as the name suggests, Gratitude. This is reflected in many of Mraz’s songs, such as ‘Live High,’ ‘Sunshine Song’ and ‘Anything You Want.’ Some of Mraz’s songs have a sort of reggae-vibe, something relatively new for the artist. Mraz reworks ‘Only Human’ and ‘The Remedy’ for the live show, both taking on the aforementioned reggae vibe.

    However, not all of the songs are love and sunshine-‘A Beautiful Mess,’ one of the more somber tracks, confronts a relationship that is going through a more turbulent phase while ‘Butterfly’ is all about the sexual, physical part of a relationship, filled with metaphors and symbols –butterfly is representative of’hellip;well’hellip;I’ll let you figure it out. Mraz’s lyrics read like poetry, and make for powerful, interesting songs.

    One of the things that I really enjoy about Mraz’s live show is that you aren’t getting what you get on his album. He infuses the tracks with new sounds, changes up the tempo, or even does mash-ups of some songs. I’ prefer this to just getting a repeat of the album, as some songs sound completely new.

    Another cool thing about the DVD is that it is long, pretty much a full set, so you’re really getting to experience what it’s like to be at one of Mraz’s concerts, bare feet and all (Mraz performs barefoot).

    One criticism I have about the DVD part of ‘Beautiful Mess-Live on Earth’ is that it all takes place in one venue. The reason this is a problem is because the ‘Live on Earth’ part is sort of misleading-I was expecting to see Mraz all over the world-as he does tour not only North America, but also South America, Asia and Europe. I think it would have been more interesting to see him in all of these different venues. I can see Mraz at Jones Beach here on Long Island, which is similar to seeing him in a comparable venue in Chicago.

    However, I doubt I’ll have the chance to see him in Japan, which is something he could have done with the DVD. I think it would have made for a more interesting DVD if it showed the venues all over the world that he performs in. That being said, I did enjoy the DVD. It’s a cheap way to see Mraz’s live performances, but there really is nothing like being there. It’s fun to watch him interact with the audience, but it’s even more fun to actually be physically present at the show.

    Another feature of the DVD is the behind the scenes footage. ‘Un Beau Desordre’ features an interview with Mraz and Bushwalla and some clips of the pair actually working with the crew backstage, sometimes joking around, sometimes actually making decisions. This is especially interesting to see because it isn’t something you’d get to experience, unless you were part of his crew. It shows how invested Mraz is in every aspect of his show, all the way down to the layout of the merchandise booth.

    Another segment, ‘We Sing, We Dance, We Make Videos’ is a sort of conversation between Mraz and his video director Darren Done, detailing his experience making videos and inspiration behind his videos, like the video for ‘I’m Yours.’

    I think some people often dismiss Mraz as the guy that sings that ‘I’m Yours’ song. Though that may be what he is best known for, he has tons of other great songs, most better and more interesting musically than ‘I’m Yours.’

    Additionally, Mraz is amazing live, and his live albums are fun to listen to, as you get that variation from his regular studio albums. If you haven’t heard or seen Mraz live, definitely give it a shot. What makes him a standout artist is the unique little things he infuses into live shows-scatting, opera (yes, that kind of opera), changing up songs, the brass section, his awesome percussionist Toca Rivera, to name a few.

    One way to experience these things is by checking out ‘Beautiful Mess-Live on Earth.’

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