John Legend & John Mayer Perform "Lilac Wine" Live On The Late Late Show
While he’s best-known for his blues pyrotechnics and his recent transition into folk-rock, John Mayer showed tailored poise on CBS‘s Late Late Show last night, joining musical guest John Legend for a cover rendition of James Shelton‘s 65 year-old song “Lilac Wine.” Mayer is currently guest-hosting the late night program, and will be sitting at the Late Late Show desk (and likely its performance stage) through the rest of the week as one of several interim hosts between now and March 9th, when James Corden officially takes over.
While Legend clearly led the performance, delivering both lead vocals and lush piano, Mayer did much more than sit in as a supporting sideman, and with his spakling-clean Gibson L5 guitar and deep arsenal of soulful blues licks, the 37 year-old Grammy winner helped turn “Lilac Wine” into a high-class duet. Handling a tune that’s been deftly covered by Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley and many others, the two Johns showed just how mature and capable of players they truly are. Not the flashiest or most viral of late night music performances, but on every note a success–a testament to the simple joys of playing well.
In just a few short hours Mayer will welcome Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir to his program, a move that fits perfectly with his newfound love affair of the Dead’s music. Friday night will see mega-pop guitar star Ed Sheeran guest on Mayer’s program. “What [Mayer] really wants,” Billboard reported, “for the next three nights is to bring back a vibe of classic TV, with great musicians performing earnest songs for a music-loving audience.” Watch “Lilac Wine” below.