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For Mraz concert, cowboy hats give way to fedoras

Bangor Daily News | BDN
Bangor Daily News | BDN
Jason Mraz prefomrs on Saturday, September 11, 2010 along the Bangor Waterfront. (Bangor Daily News/Kevin Bennett)
By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — On a comfortably cool September night, Jason Mraz had only one minor concern on his mind, which he acknowledged onstage, just as his Saturday night concert on the Bangor Waterfront began.

“I just don’t want to split my pants,” he said, with his trademark goofy, off-kilter humor. “That would be real embarrassing.”

Mraz performed to a crowd of around 7,000 in the fifth of a series of seven concerts on the waterfront. The California-based singer-songwriter took to the stage to introduce opener Robert Francis, who performed from 8-8:45, before Mraz himself came out to perform.

Fans came from all over to attend the concert. Mraz, famed for his three albums of tuneful, groovy pop, is the author of such hit singles as “The Remedy” and “I’m Yours,” which attracted legions of fans of all ages. His most recent album, “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things,” went platinum, selling more than 1 million copies.

“Oh, I’m a huge, huge fan,” said Tyler Stanley, 16, of Nashua, N.H., who traveled to Bangor with his mother, Linda. “It’s my first time seeing him, and it’s only my second concert ever. As soon as I heard him on the radio, I became a huge fan. Obsessed, kind of. And what’s funny is that I was wearing his kind of hats before I even knew who he was. I was like, ‘Wow, I have those exact same hats.'”

Mraz was, of course, wearing his trademark short-brimmed fedora during the show. He opened his set by thanking the crowd, which he called his “superfriends,” for bringing good vibes with them on “one of the last summer nights of the year.” He then launched into an acoustic performance of his hit song “Lucky,” encouraging the many teenage and twentysomething women in the crowd to sing along. A horn section and old-school keyboards punctuated the R&B and reggae elements of his music.

The crowd was younger, and comprised predominantly of women. With his happy, funny stage banter and upbeat vibe, one thing is clear: Jason Mraz undoubtedly is a charmer.

“I think he’s great. I love ‘I’m Yours,'” said Jessica Swain Kezer, of Newport. “I got to go backstage and meet him, and he’s so nice and laid back and funny.”

Many more people were on hand simply to enjoy some fun, funky music on the Bangor Waterfront.

“I got the tickets as a present, and I happened to be free this weekend, so it worked out great,” said Reannon Nute, of Orono, who attended the concert with her friends Stephanie Kisilywicz, of Bangor, and Michelle Raven, of Belfast. “I think these concerts are so great. I love that they are bringing these top acts to Bangor. People are coming here, instead of going to Boston or someplace else.”

“I like the casual vibe,” said Kisilywicz, who also attended the KahBang Music and Arts Festival, held Aug. 13-14, and the American Folk Festival, held Aug. 27-29. “I think the musicians like it, too. It’s laid back. They seem like they like the crowd, and can just relax and play.”

Up next in the Hollywood Slots Concert Series is Miranda Lambert on Saturday, Oct. 2, and Godsmack on Sunday, Oct. 10. For information or to purchase tickets, visit www.waterfrontconcerts.com.

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