Questlove steps in as last-minute drummer at John Mayer gig

"Lesson learned, people: EMBRACE CHAOS! There is magic there!"

Questlove stepped in at the last minute to play drums during John Mayer‘s gig at Madison Square Garden in New York on Monday (February 21).

The guitarist’s preparations for the second of his two shows at the arena venue earlier this week were thrown into chaos after Mayer’s touring drummer Steve Ferrone tested positive for coronavirus.

The Roots drummer Questlove was able to help Mayer out, however, as he joined the singer/songwriter and his band for the second half of Monday’s gig.


Writing on Instagram afterwards, Mayer reflected on a “special” show and sent his best wishes to Ferrone and his fellow musician Carlos Ricketts “in hopes they traipse through COVID and return to the stage quickly”.

“My boundless appreciation goes out to the legendary Questlove, who stepped in on an hour’s notice to help end the show on such a powerful and definitive note,” Mayer added.

“The brilliant musicians in this band stepped up in ways that I will never forget, and will bond us forever.”

In the comments section of Mayer’s post, Questlove expanded on his experience of filling in on drums at the last minute on Monday.

“Normally if I cram more than three songs (like say a Roots Jam session is a 30+ song affair) I gotta stay in isolation — not because of song difficulty or simplicity — I just need to absorb the song so much it becomes second nature and then once that happens the magic can being and you can relax a lil,” he explained.


“Thanks for inviting me. Last night was also a great lesson in me shedding skin and getting over anxiety (2017 Ahmir woulda made an excuse to not come cause fear was my homeboy & until 2 years ago when @summerofsoulmovie came along I would never leave my comfort zone and do something so reckless like what I did last night) so lesson learned people: EMBRACE CHAOS! There is magic there!”

Questlove later shared an image of his preparation notes for the Mayer gig and said that while “truth be told I coulda played the whole show”, he was still “anxious, amped, timorous, excited, scared & hyped” for the performance.

“Gotta say once onstage it was gravy,” he added. “I haven’t played with this combo since the @rootspicnic in NYC 2013 w D’Angelo [and] we haven’t lost a step. It was hella fun tonight!”

Mayer, who contracted coronavirus last month, will continue his North American tour in Washington D.C. tonight (February 23).

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