Jack Johnson Previews New Album on Santa Monica Pier
"The real reason this show is free," Jack Johnson told the intimate crowd gathered on the Santa Monica pier on Monday night, "is because we haven't played in a month." Johnson, it seems, was only half-kidding, as he started his 'Curious George' lullaby 'Upside Down' with the second verse. In his defense, it was quite possibly one of the chilliest May evenings in Los Angeles in a long time, so he could've had cold fingers. Even keyboardist Zach Gill joked, "I thought we'd all be in our batching suits." Instead, Johnson opted for a down puffy jacket.
The stripped-down show, which fans got free tickets to after participating in a two-hour beach cleanup the previous Saturday with Johnson's label Brushfire Records and the Heal the Bay charity, served as a preview of his forthcoming album, 'To the Sea.' Johnson sampled a total of five new tracks, with one featuring a reggae, staccato "uh-oh-oh" refrain that will fit nicely with his hits like 'Flake' and 'Bubble Toes,' which he also played for the eco-friendly audience.
Johnson opened up the set with the new album's punchy first single, 'You and Your Heart,' before launching into songs off each of his other beloved records. Off the more recent 'Sleep Through the Static,' Johnson played 'If I Had Eyes' and 'Same Girl'; off 'In Between Dreams,' there was 'Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,' a ukulele version of 'Breakdown' and 'Staple It Together'; and 'Wasting Time' off 'On and On.' He even threw in two covers: Steve Miller Band's 'The Joker,' which the crowd provided the trademark cat call to, and Bob Marley's 'Mellow Mood.'
"I thought there was a taco truck down there," Johnson told the