Jason Mraz & Christina Perri in Nashville

I knew I was in for a good show having listened to Jason’s new CD Love Is A Four Letter Word.  The Freedom Song starts off the CD and when the band kicks in, you can just imagine the live show.  No more imagining, I was finally going to get to see a Jason Mraz show. First things first – I had to prepare questions for a short video interview with Jason.

I like to research what other interviewers have recently asked an artist and then avoid those questions entirely…or at least rephrase them differently, but mostly avoid.  So I got my questions together, packed up my gear and headed down to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Once inside the venue, I meet with Jason’s FOH Engineer Ettore “ET” DeDevitiis who had been with Jason for several years now.  ET brought me over to “Guitar World” where my interview with Jason would take place right before their soundcheck. I met several crew members, began setting up my gear and got some quick B-roll video of the mics onstage.  Jason has been loving what the SM86 gives back to him.  He’s very comfortable with its flat front so he can get right on the capsule.  On stage right, there were a cluster of mics set up where later in the show the band members would, one by one, join Jason around a Shure Super 55 and sing acoustic style.

My interview with Jason was great.  We’d met before at a NAMM show where he signed autographs at our booth for an hour.  The line was so long for him we had to turn people away. Look for this interview on our site soon.

After the interview, I went back to FOH to listen to Ettore’s mix.  Of course the arena was all but empty save a few people who were brought in for a special soundcheck party, but ET’s mix was great.  Being a drummer, I honed in on the kick sound and asked if he was using both a Beta 52A and  the new Beta 91A.  He confirmed.  He also mentioned it was a brand new Yamaha kit.  There were Beta 56A’s on the toms, about 4 inches above the heads.  Sounded amazing.

After Jason’s check, I watched a bit of Christina’s soundcheck.  Her voice sounded angelic through her UR2/KSM9 wireless.  I also met her drummer Elmo who had just toured with Skrillex.

Right before showtime, I met my wife and 2 boys out front and we grabbed our seats about 3 songs into Christina’s set. She puts on an energetic show and is so happy to be opening for Jason.  One of her dreams come true!

The arena was about 3/4th’s full and I was happy to see so many people out supporting live music.  Money can be tight for some and the fact that it was that well attended is promising.

Jason puts on a great show and his vocal range is pretty amazing.  He really does invite the audience into his party and they all sing along.  The band is super tight and ET has everything sitting right where it should be in the mix.  At one point in the show, he and percussionist Mona Tavakoli were on stage and performed his new song “You F___in’ Did It.”  When Mona kicked in on her Cajon, the whole crowd went wild. Pretty cool.

This is the kind show I could watch night after night and be content.  It’s great when an engineer finds that gig that they are totally into and they love doing their job every night.  With a great singer and a tight band, how could you not?

I can’t wait for the next time Jason comes back to Nashville.  I may not even wait till then…..ROAD TRIP!!

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Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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