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John Mayer planning week-long visit to Albany

John Mayer planning week-long visit to Albany

Musician to play at Times Union Center
John Mayer planning week-long visit to Albany
Dead & Company —surviving members of the Grateful Dead joined by John Mayer — perform at the Times Union Center in 2015.
Photographer: Daily Gazette file photo

Singer and guitarist John Mayer will see a lot of Albany in late March.

If they're looking, people in downtown Albany may see a lot of Mayer.

The musician will kick off his "Search for Everything" tour at the Times Union Center on Friday, March 31. When the show begins at 7:30 p.m., Mayer will have spent four or five days on the arena stage -- he'll rehearse the show in Albany.

The 39-year-old performer is expected in Albany on Sunday, March 26.

"We've become known for being a building that's good to go in and spend time rehearsing," said Bob Belber, the Times Union Center's general manager, on Monday.

Belber said the good reputation has been earned by the Local 14 stage hands union for correctly handling all artists' rigging, and by TU Center staffers who make sure visiting entertainers have everything they need.

Location has also helped. Starting a tour in Albany gives musicians and promoters bunches of options as they plan shows.

"We're centrally located in the Northeast," Belber said, "and it's easier for them to start a tour coming out of a rehearsal that's for example, in Albany, and then to be able to go to Boston and then back to New York and Philly. It's just a good spot to be able to get to the next second base."

Mayer will head north after the Albany show, playing Montreal on April 1. Toronto, New York City, Washington and Philadelphia will be stops during the tour's first full week.

Mayer probably remembers the Times Union Center space. Dead & Company, which put him on stage with surviving members of the Grateful Dead, played its first-ever show in Albany on Oct. 29, 2015.

Mayer will be on "Everything" duty through late May, when he'll begin a 20-gig tour with Dead & Company that will last into early July. Then it will be back to the solo performances that will conclude in early September.

Mayer's production team will pay daily rental charges for the arena.

Belber said musicians have booked the TU Center for rehearsals in the past. Canadian rock trio Rush practiced for six days during the early 2000s. Beyonce ran through numbers at the arena for four days in 2001 during her Destiny's Child days.

The timing is right for an extended visit. There were open dates on the TU Center schedule; Belber said the arena might not have received a concert had rehearsal times not been available.

"There's a limited number of dates that he's doing and he didn't have to play Albany," Belber said. "On this one in particular, the fact that we had the open dates for the rehearsal really solidified and helped us get the date."

About five years ago, singer Chris Brown rehearsed at the Times Union Center for over a week. Then he hit the road and didn't come back.

"Unfortunately on that tour, we did not get a show," Belber said. "We didn't open the tour, it was just the rehearsals."

Belber also said the rehearsal week puts extra money in downtown. Mayer's people will also be in town, and that means credit cards and cash will be at hotels and in restaurants.

The rehearsals do not mean TU Center staffers will be watching and listening as Mayer prepares for his spring travels. Bands hate sneak previews.

"There are rules our employees have to follow; they know there are repercussions if they don't," Belber said. "Part of being known for good service is making sure there aren't any rogue employees who aren't following the rules."

There are no rules against people looking around downtown for a famous rock star.

While folks may not spot some of Mayer's famous friends -- like Katy Perry or Jennifer Aniston -- they might see Mayer grabbing a cup to go in a coffee shop, ordering the chef's salad in a restaurant or maybe splashing a few laps in the hotel pool. He could just be walking around downtown Albany.

"It's probably a good bet," Belber said.

Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124, at [email protected] or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. His blog can be found here.

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