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The last time Jack Johnson played in the Gaslamp, the crowd watching his 2004 Street Scene set seemed to stretch a mile from the stage. So when his latest gig at the intimate Balboa Theatre was announced, fans who scored seats must have felt like they won the lottery.

Which, in a way, they did. Tickets were sold to those who had preregistered for a random drawing on the singer’s website, ensuring that just a relatively small group of fans would catch Johnson playing just days after the release of his latest album, From Here to Now to You. Backed by his usual three-piece band, Johnson owned the crowd, eliciting laughter with a story one moment and a mass sing-along the next.

The singer and his rhythm section jelled famously; the presence of multi-instrumentalist Zach Gill, however, was more of a wildcard for Johnson, adding beautifully to songs like “Washing Dishes” but killing the vibe of others like “Taylor.”

Johnson’s current tour was inspired by a 2012 solo-acoustic run through his native Hawaii. But, like closing song “Better Together” says, it’s more fun seeing him with his band, Gill included.

  • Concert: Jack Johnson
  • Date: October 18
  • Venue: Balboa Theater
  • Seats: Center orchestra
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