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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Jack Johnson turns swag on at Firefly Music Festival 2014

  • Singer-songwriter Jack Johnson showered the audience in his happy-go-lucky swag as he closed out the Firefly Main Stage of the Firefly Music Festival 2014 with a praiseworthy performance.
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  • Singer-songwriter Jack Johnson showered the audience in his happy-go-lucky swag as he closed out the Firefly Main Stage of the Firefly Music Festival 2014 with a praiseworthy performance.
    In The Woodlands of Dover on Sunday night, the folk-rocker Johnson succeeded the Black Keys and Foster The People as the latest headliner to put the Main Stage to bed at Firefly. This honor was first bestowed upon rock-n-roll duo the Black Keys for the inaugural Firefly in 2012, followed by the indie-pop outfit Foster The People in 2013.
    Unlike those aforementioned acts, Johnson’s set was far more relaxed and the atmosphere felt like a big, fun jam party than a rock concert, since a portion of the tunes bear a surf-rock and reggae-tinged groove that made people dance and wiggle. Additionally, he often smiled throughout the set, which contributed to the atmosphere feeling cheerful and friendly.
     
    Johnson’s secret sauce to keeping the thousands of festivalgoers happy was playing a set list that mostly featured old fan favorites, including the first three songs he introduced in the show: “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” “Taylor” and “Flake.” But Johnson didn’t just stop at dishing up his some of his signature songs. The singer-songwriter wanted to do something new for his fans, for the people who had to wade through four days of 100-plus acts just to see him. As a gift to them, he performed two songs with a surprise guest: The Lumineers.
    “I love these guys,” Johnson said.  
    The Lumineers ─ a folk-rock band that performed on the Main Stage right before Johnson’s show on Sunday ─ brightened up his already-glowing set, joining him on his classic song “Breakdown,” and on a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” The collaboration was magical.
    Wilmington native Sarah Hoover feels Johnson’s gesture of gigging with the folk-rock band is a sign that he truly cares about her and his other loyal fans.
    “He’s very personable,” Hoover said. “He got The Lumineers on stage because he knows everybody likes them.”
    Johnson threw the crowd for another loop when he used the chorus of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” in replace of the hook on his old hit “Staple It Together,” which meshed perfectly. However, Johnson only did this for the first chorus in “Staple It Together,” then he reverted back to the song’s original hook.   
    Although Johnson focused more on playing his older material, one of the few newer songs he did weave into his set was “Radioactive,” off of his sixth and latest record, “From Here to Now and You,” released in 2013.
    Page 2 of 2 - For the most part, Johnson’s set flowed nicely, until he unexpectedly decided that his time was up, after playing nearly an hour and a half. This seemed like a calculated move by Johnson so that his fans would request an encore. And they certainly did.
    Johnson returned back on stage to play his timeless tunes “Angel,” off his fourth studio album, “Sleep Through the Static,” and “Do You Remember,” which appears on his third album, “In Between Dreams”   
    After tucking in the crowd with those two songs, the audience was satisfied. Johnson, however, was not. He wanted to give his fans one more parting gift, but not a musical treat. He instead delivered a light show with fireworks that rocked the sky.
    “It’s been a long week,” Johnson said at the beginning of his concert. “[But] you guys are still hanging out. We appreciate it very much.”
     
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