(Yahoo!) - The location was ideal: The Allen Room, a 150-capacity space at New York’s Lincoln Center, overlooking Columbus Circle and the NYC skyline. It was a far cry from the Bonnaroofestival grounds, where Jack Johnson had recently played an upbeat set to an audience of thousands, replacing Mumford & Sons after that band had to cancel at the last minute.
At Bonnaroo, Johnson was the hero of the weekend. And while his scaled-down, acoustic United Way benefit show taping on June 24 was far more intimate and relaxed than his Bonnaroo set, he still emerged a hopelessly romantic and lovable hero.
Dressed in his regulation casual uniform of blue T-shirt, jeans, and sandals, and performing on a stage decorated with three Afghan rugs and a paisley piano, Johnson previewed a batch of new songs from his upcoming album From Here to Now to You, which comes out September 17. The 60-minute show, "An Acoustic Evening with Jack Johnson," was filmed by PBS and will air in the fall.
Johnson's performance wasn't flawless, but his humanity has always been a large part of his appeal. He fumbled over his words during a couple monologues and forgot some of the lyrics to the new song "Never Fade," but he shrugged off the goofs with a laugh, informing the audience, "Nope, those aren’t the right words," and continuing through to the chorus without a pause.
Johnson's delivery was devoid of tension or pretense and conveyed the vibe of a songwriter sharing music with friends. He reveled in sharing stories with the gathered audience about the creation of each new song, making the session feel much like an episode of VH1's "Storytellers." Johnson’s stories were as heart-warming as his songs.
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