Rain or shine, Jack Johnson fills amphitheater

Paige Schaefer, Features Editor, AP Lit Set 6

 “Can’t you see that it’s just raining? Ain’t no need to go outside,”  belted a scruffy Jack Johnson to 17,500 drenched but devoted fans in the 1-800 Ask Gary Amphitheater in Tampa.

And raining it was. But don’t think that hindered the loyal Jack Johnson fans who, despite the rain, lined up outside the amphitheater to see him in a rare East coast concert. 

“It was a relaxed atmosphere. Overall, it was a fantastic night,” said senior Christine Costello.

Relaxed: the perfect way to describe Jack Johnson and his fans. Johnson, born and raised in Hawaii, gained loyal fans because of his talent on the acoustic guitar and “beachy” music. 

“He is not about rocking you out, but rocking you into a smiling stupor,” stated Sean Daly in a review for Tampabay.com. “Johnson fans aren’t looking for raging guitar solos, or beats that make you want to dance; rather, they are looking for something to bob their head, or tap their foot to.”

Opening the concert with an old hit, “Banana PancakesCOMMA”Johnson got the crowd settled in to the relaxed mood of the night. “Banana Pancakes” is all about forgetting about the world and the everyday stresses, so starting out with this song mid-week was the perfect beginner.

The concert  “was such a laid-back atmosphere. It really helped me forget about the stress at school for a little while,” said senior Sabrina Marcos.

Jack Johnson often gets criticized for being boring or lackluster, says Daly.  “You can wave him off as boring, but you’re not paying attention.”

Songs like “Holes to Heaven” and “Gone” exemplify exactly what Daly means. Songs such as these cleverly comment on societal ills, while simultaneously getting the crowd to sing along. Very few artists can match the reasons Johnson has been filling stadiums for nearly ten years.

Recently Johnson’s environmental work has been making headlines.  His most recent album, To the Sea was recorded in a solar-powered  studio. Also, the tour to promote the album, released in April this  year, used “paperless tickets” in efforts to reduce the concert’s carbon footprint. In hopes to reduce the amount of waste generated at his concerts, more than 50% of the waste produced will be recycled or composted.

Johnson was not the only performer to grace the 1-800 Ask Gary Amphitheater stage. Acoustic-Blues performer, G. Love, opened for Jack Johnson with hits such as “Rainbow,” which reminds you that
“everything is going to be all right.”

 Harmonica and all, G. Love  definitely delivered. Providing the audience with a different sound but still going along with the acoustic theme of the night, G. Love was the perfect opener for a known and loved acoustic musician.

Later, Jack Johnson called up Hawaiian native Paula Fuga to the stage. With her incredibly powerful voice, Fuga brought the crowd to their feet and likely straight to the computer once they got home to do some more research about her. She certainly “had the best voice on stage” and blew the crowd away. Fuga is the type of artist whom we should definitely be seeing more of, especially with her exposure through Johnson’s concerts.

 Johnson fans never fail to fill stadiums. This time they were complete with wet lawn chairs and enthusiasm. Despite ankle-deep mud and a damp concert, the overall Jack Johnson experience was worth it. Rain or shine, Jack Johnson never disappoints.