John Mayer kicked off his first solo acoustic arena tour at Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center Saturday night.

The singer-songwriter and Dead & Company frontman struck a reflective tone throughout the evening, making it clear that he considered the solo arena tour to be one of his greatest achievements. “There’s no tour in my entire life I’ve thought about more than this one,” he told the audience. Mayer has performed solo acoustic shows many times before—most recently at his Rise For The River benefit at Pine Creek Lodge in Livingston, MT, where he played the album Born And Raised in its entirety—but few performers have been able to mount a solo tour of such proportions, and even fewer have managed to captivate an arena audience so fully with nothing but a guitar and a microphone. Old promo footage of a baby-faced, pre-fame John Mayer walking around Hollywood in 2002 added to the evening’s nostalgic and triumphant tone.

Saturday’s tour opener began with Mayer’s 2006 hit “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room”, followed by “Queen Of California” from 2012’s Born And Raised and “Shouldn’t Matter But It Does” from 2021’s Sob Rock, his latest LP. The setlist featured songs from throughout Mayer’s catalog, including the first “Home Life” in 18 years, which he said fulfilled the tour’s promise of “deep cuts,” as well as covers of Tom Petty‘s “Free Fallin'” and the Grateful Dead‘s “Friend of the Devil” played on a double-neck acoustic guitar.

Photo: Danny Clinch

Mayer sat down at a piano for the middle portion of the set before returning to guitar. He later debuted a new song entitled “Driftin'”, saying he likes to test out new material live before recording it. The encore featured “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967”, which Mayer recently revealed is being adapted into a major film, and “Born and Raised”.

Check out full-show audio via Zachary Semcken from John Mayer’s solo acoustic tour opener at Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center below.

John Mayer’s solo acoustic tour continues tonight, Monday, March 13th at Boston’s TD Garden. For more on the tour, including a full list of dates, head here, and for tickets and more information, visit John Mayer’s website.

John Mayer – Prudential Center  – Newark, NJ – 3/11/23

Setlist: John Mayer | Prudential Center | Newark, NJ | 3/11/23

Acoustic: Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Queen of California, Shouldn’t Matter but It Does, In the Blood, January 16, 2002: “Room for Squares” Interview (Promo video from the Room for Squares Tour at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA), Neon, Why Georgia > Split Screen Sadness, Who Says, Home Life (First performance since 2005) > Your Body Is a Wonderland (with ‘I Wanna Hug You, Kiss You, Squeeze You’ by Lu Ann Simms snippet), Stop This Train (With snippet of ‘Homeward Bound’ by Simon & Garfunkel)

Piano: New Light (First verse & chorus only) > You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me, Changing (with looped piano & electric guitar outro)

Acoustic: The Age of Worry, Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty), Driftin’ (live debut), Waitin’ on the Day, In Your Atmosphere

Double-Neck Acoustic: Friend of the Devil (Grateful Dead), If I Ever Get Around to Living, Edge of Desire

Encore: Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967, Born and Raised