January 18th, 2013
12:20 PM ET
It looks like John Mayer's season of silence is coming to a close.
The 35-year-old singer/songwriter took the stage in Bozeman, Montana on Wednesday night as part of a benefit concert for the nearby town of Livingston. Firefighters there fought against a blaze this past summer "that destroyed more than 8,500 acres of forest and farmland in and around Livingston," according to Mayer's website.
The performance marked his first time singing in concert since April 1, 2011.
During his performance, he recalled that in April, 2011, "I was making the 'Born & Raised' record and I was playing somewhere and I realized that the sound of my voice sounded like my body was a radio dial and somebody knocked it, it was like half off the station ..."
He went to see a doctor, and by that fall, Mayer had to cancel concerts due to a granuloma, which he subsequently underwent surgery to remove. Although he was hopeful to be on the mend as he released his album "Born & Raised" in May 2012, that March he had to take an indefinite performing hiatus when the granuloma grew back. In September, he underwent surgery once again.
"So it's been a crazy couple of years," Mayer said Wednesday. But encouragingly, "I went to the doctor about a couple weeks ago, and he looked at my throat and the thing is gone," he said to whistles and cheers.
"Lower your expectations," he told the crowd. "I still have this chemical that they shot through my neck a couple times, so that's going to take a while to get rid of, so it's not going to sound like it normally sounds. But I'm going to sing some songs for you tonight. I will do my best. I'm working with a limited palette here, but I'm going to try."
His return to singing live brought in a hefty donation for the evening's cause, as the event raised more than $100,000 to help the local firefighters who stood against the flames.
“Without the tireless effort and dedication of the firefighters of the Pine Creek Fire, many more homes and memories would have been destroyed, mine among them," Mayer said in a statement on his website. "I wasn’t in town when the fire broke out and I’ve always wished I could do my part to help, the way so many in the community did. Putting on a concert to raise some money for the departments is the least I can do for a town and a community that has welcomed me with open arms.”
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