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John Mayer Breaks Out New Songs, Comedy Act on Mayercraft Cruise Carrier 2

April 1, 2009 4:36 PM ET

"I feel like the kid in that YouTube video coming back from the dentist," John Mayer joked midway through his second headlining show aboard the Mayercraft Cruise Carrier 2, referring to the stoned viral-video sensation. "You know at one point on this boat you all went, 'Is this going to last forever?' "

But the voyage came to an end hours later, after the 2,800 on board enjoyed four days of nonstop music (sets from 15 artists), booze, pizza, wine tastings, hangover yoga sessions and a flip cup tournament. Organized by Atlanta-based Sixthman — the brains behind the singer-songwriter-filled Rock Boat, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Simple Man Cruise and the upcoming Elvis Cruise — the second annual Mayercraft Carrier was the bigger, badder, kink-free version of 2008's inaugural voyage. The Carnival Splendor, the cruise company's largest and newest vessel, provided Mayer with plenty of room to frolic with his fans (sans neon-green Borat mankini) or retreat to privacy when he wasn't jamming or busting out his stand-up comedy act.

As the boat left the Port of San Pedro headed towards Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on Friday, March 27th, Mayer donned an itty-bitty sailor's outfit and took to the Lido deck stage with his brother Carl and comedian James Smith to welcome all aboard. "The ocean was created in 1923 after humans demanded a place to swim," Mayer deadpanned before telling everyone, "Enjoy yourself and be nice to your livers."

Mayer MCed at the ship's disco on Friday night and invaded the DJ booth Sunday and Monday nights to play his favorite tracks (including cuts by Girl Talk, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Prince and Tom Petty) into the wee hours. Mayer also joined David Ryan Harris, a singer-songwriter who has played in Mayer's band for the last few years, onstage and took part in a Q&A session with returning passengers where he candidly addressed queries about his new album (hopefully out this year) and shared details of his new passion: helping returning war vets transition into civilian life. But perhaps the most-buzzed about moment was Mayer's unscheduled Sunday night comedy act. The sometime stand-up had the crowd in stitches with his own short routine (check out clips on YouTube), before inviting crowd members onstage to face-off with impersonations.

Then there was the music: Mayer's Friday afternoon acoustic set sprinkled in old favorites ("My Stupid Mouth," "Sucker") with live set standards ("Good Love Is On the Way," "Belief") and the debut of "Heartbreak Warfare," a tune whose lyrics ("Red wine and ambien / you're talking shit again / it's heartbreak warfare") made it hard to avoid thoughts of the rocker's recent tabloid romance.

Each passenger attended one of two headlining shows in the ship's Spectacular Spectacular lounge. Mayer's playing felt refreshed since he's been off tour since last summer, and his seven-piece band injected a new energy into the arrangements — Monday's "Vultures" got more funky with an amped-up bass and vocal scats, while Saturday's 16-minute rendition of "Wheel" took the poetic song to new, self-proclaimed "spacey" levels. Mayer also indulged fan requests at Saturday's show, breaking out favorite "3X5" and incorporating the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" as an intro to oldie "Love Soon," while he turned the middle of Monday's set into an impromptu Q&A with fans.

The music kicked off Thursday night with One Splendid Evening, an event benefitting VH1's Save the Music Foundation, which included acoustic performances by O.A.R., Guster and Erin McCarley as well as sets from Gavin Rossdale, Sara Bareilles and a duet between Jordin Sparks and Mayer. Mayer did a short set of his own material, which included the debut of "Half of My Heart," a new tune with a more folky sound. Then he switched to axman mode as Sparks joined him for her singles "Tattoo" and "One Step at a Time" before turning Mayer's already soulful "I'm Gonna Find Another You" into a stand-out bluesy number.

The crowd skewed younger than last year's (likely due to the college-age fanbases of O.A.R. and Guster) and many took to the upper decks for some Cali sun (or, in the case of one inspired couple, photos to document their wedding aboard the ship). Guster turned the end of their Monday night headlining set into a free-for-all jam session for all the bands on board, inviting amusing renditions of "Margaritaville" and "Don't Fear the Reaper."

And while the ship has barely docked, a third edition of the Mayercraft Cruise Carrier is already in the works — although Mayer's joke about heading to Alaska is indeed just a joke.

Set Lists:

March 27 Acoustic Show:
"Good Love Is On The Way"
"Belief"
"My Stupid Mouth"
"Clarity"
"Sucker"
"Heartbreak Warfare"
"Heart of Life"
"Who Did You Think I Was"
"Neon"

March 28th Headlining Show:
"Belief"
"Crossroads"
"I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)"
"Good Love Is On The Way"
"Slow Dancing In A Burning Room"
"Vultures"
"Heart Of Life"
"Waiting On The World To Change"
"Wheel"
"Why Georgia"
"Bigger Than My Body"
"Heartbreak Warfare"
"Burning Down The House" (Talking Heads Cover)
"Love Soon"
"3x5 "

Encore:
"Gravity"

March 30th Headlining Show:
"Belief"
"Crossroads"
"I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)"
"Good Love Is On The Way"
"Slow Dancing In A Burning Room"
"Vultures"
"Mercy" (Duffy cover)
"Waiting On The World To Change"
"Wheel"
"Bigger Than My Body"

Encore:
"Inner City Blues" (Marvin Gaye cover with DJ Logic)
"Gravity"

Related Stories:

Secrets of the Guitar Heroes: John Mayer
John Mayer Album Guide
Video: John Mayer Frolics on Maiden Voyage of Mayercraft Carrier

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