Concert Reviews

Jack Johnson at Deer Lake Park

What better way to spend and warm summer night in Vancouver than laying on the hill of Deer Lake Park with Jack Johnson there to serenade you. As unpredictable as the weather gets in Vancouver, the previous rains had no influence on the way the night proceeded. The crowd lined the festival lawn with beach blankets set for the sweet and soothing set that Johnson had planned for them.

The opening act was California native, John Craigie, who took the time between each song to tell a story that always seemed to intrigue the audience. The southern twang in his voice made it hard to turn your ears away, even when talking about the simplest things like a cell phone, before playing his song, Pictures on my Phone. Craigie spoke of folk music and the stories it can tell; everything from missing home to obtaining a degree in mathematics, which he explained was his major at his university in Santa Cruz. It was just him and his guitar on stage but that didn’t prevent him from keeping the set upbeat and chalked full of energy, but slowed it down with his sweet closing song about his home state, I Am California. He left the crowd with the words, “Maybe the world would be a lot more peaceful with a little more folk music.”

Jack Johnson and his band took the stage shortly after, and the sold-out Deer Lake Park showed as much love as he was giving out. Johnson explained the decision to a last minute change due to the beautiful sun and opened with the feel-good Hope. The crowd refused to stop bouncing and swaying to the mellow reggae-inspired sound that defines Jack Johnson. His light-witted banter kept the crowd engaged and he didn’t fail to point out everyone in the crowd including photographers. After the third song, Sitting, Waiting, Wishing, the photographers all left which prompted Johnson to wish them a goodbye. He gave shoutouts to the multiple children on their parents shoulders, and even invited a couple in banana suits on stage to dance to the classic Banana Pancakes. “I realized you guys ran out of moves when the bananas started twerking,” he said as they left the stage and returned back to the crowd.

The smash hit Upside Down brought the nostalgia of childhood days watching Curious George and brought smiles to the faces of everyone in the crowd from young to old. The banter continued as John Craigie came back out and they reminisced their former band names and the mediocrity that came with them. Craigie played two of his songs that each came with a story from a bar: We Ain’t Leaving this Bar Patrick (Till we Find You Some Love) came with the story of his first tour and his friend, Patrick being disappointed with the lack of girls that showed up to a John Craigie show. He followed that wth I Wrote Mr. Tambourine Man and a story of a drunk man in a bar who claimed to write the famous Bob Dylan song, Mr. Tambourine Man. Johnson and Craigie seemed to be the perfect match with quick wit and the same sense of humour going back and forth between the two.

Johnson came out solo for the majority of the encore playing I Got You and telling tales of when Willie Nelson got him stoned and bested him in a game of poker. The rest of the band joined him the latter half of the closing song, Better Together, which brought a chorus of Vancouverites all singing in perfect harmony along with Jack Johnson and left the audience with hearts full of warmth and joy and minds at ease.

About author

Born and raised in Vancouver with a heart made for music. Dreams to travel the world spreading a positive message to the people and sharing creations with the world. You can follow him on Twitter @AlecTaylor604.