John Mayer – Chicago

Many of you might know that in addition to running Jackson Ampworks I am also a corporate pilot. Well with that in mind, I got the call a few weeks ago that I would be flying to Chicago and spending April 9-12 there so some of our passengers could attend a sales convention that was being held there over the weekend. I didn’t think much of it since I’m used to getting calls about places I’ll be flying, but the week before the trip as I was lying in bed the thought crossed my mind, “I wonder if John Mayer would possibly be playing Chicago that weekend.” Using my iPhone, a quick check of johnmayer.com revealed that they were in fact playing at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday April 10, 2010 and it was to be the final night of the US Stadium tour for the Battle Studies album!

So armed with my new found information I shot Robbie McIntosh an email and asked if I could stop by to see the show. Within a couple of minutes, Robbie had replied and welcomed me to go back stage with him and see the concert. So within the span of about 5 minutes I found that not only was John Mayer going to be playing Chicago, but I was also going as well! Needless to say I had the hardest time sleeping that night!

Fast forward to Friday April 9th after landing in Mineral Wells, TX to grab our passengers and fuel up, I took a couple of pictures of my jet just in case anyone wanted to see it.

After leaving Mineral Wells, we flew to Iowa City, Iowa so our passengers could do a quick meeting before heading to Chicago. Again I took some pictures of the plane cause it was so nice outside.

Well after getting to Chicago on Friday and checking into my hotel in downtown Chicago I gave Robbie a call to see what his night looked like and he told me that the band was in rehearsals that night with a new drummer. Apparently Steve Jordan (John Mayer’s drummer) was leaving the tour because of some prior engagements and since Chicago would be his last night, Steve recommended Keith Carlock for the job. If you know who Keith is, you’ll know that he’s played with Steely Dan, James Taylor and Sting among others and is an A-list musician. The plan was for the band to rehearse with Keith on Friday night, play the show on Saturday night and once more rehearse with Keith on Sunday. During this conversation Robbie suggested that Friday would not be a good night to meet since they would be so busy running the rehearsal so he suggested that we meet around 7:00PM on Saturday at the show. This worked out perfectly because I wanted to check out Make’n Music here in Chicago and that would give me the afternoon free to poke around town and visit this shop before heading to the United Center. See my blog here for my report on my trip to Make’n Music!

Well after visiting Make’n Music, I got one of the worst pizza’s ever from Gino’s East and took a cab to the United Center to meet up with Robbie. Once there I called Robbie and he brought me in through the underground parking garage which was great because I brought my camera’s and the security crew would have confiscated them and since I took a cab, I had no where to put them.

Given that this was the last night of the US Stadium Tour, things were a little crazy back stage with the crew and band packing things up in preparation for the trip to the Netherlands in 2 weeks. In spite of that, I was able to have a great time backstage with the band and as always Steve Jordan, Sean Hurley, David Ryan Harris and the rest of the band were very kind and inviting.

While talking with Robbie I mentioned that I really wanted to get some shots of him on stage with the Britain 2.0 amplifier and he was kind enough to ask the stage manager if I could have a press badge and take pictures in the press pit; they agreed and I secretly freaked out inside. 🙂

So there you have it. For the next three hours I was in the press pit taking pictures of the band and having an absolute blast! Here are some of the better pictures from the night.

After the show, Robbie was kind enough to let me catch a ride back to my hotel with him and Keith Carlock and a few of the crew members.

As always, thanks to Robbie McIntosh and all the band and crew behind the scenes for treating me so well and being so hospitable.

Enjoy the pics!