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John Mayer Welcomes Ed Sheeran For Two Songs In Tokyo [Video/Photos]

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first_imgJohn Mayer rolled into Tokyo on Wednesday night for the first of two shows at Nippon Budokan in Japan’s capital city to close out his spring Australia/Asia tour. For this performance, Mayer brought out another world-famous pop star for a special collaboration: British singer-songwriter sensation Ed Sheeran.Midway through his second of two sets, Mayer stepped to the microphone to introduce his guest, explaining, “I’ve had a chance to get to know this gentleman fairly well. He’s a lovely, lovely guy, one of the most talented artists I know in my life. And he’s graced us here with his presence tonight. Please welcome my friend, Ed Sheeran.”John Mayer Delivers Chronological Setlist In Bangkok [Video]With both Mayer and Sheeran on guitar, the band moved into a rendition of “Belief” from 2006’s Continuum. After trading verses and harmonizing on the song’s chorus, Mayer told the crowd that they would play one of Ed’s songs now before moving into “Thinking Out Loud”, off Sheeran’s Grammy-nominated 2014 album, x. You can check out a crowd-shot video and photos of the onstage collaboration below:John Mayer with Ed Sheeran – “Belief” (Mayer), “Thinking Out Loud” (Sheeran) – Tokyo, Japan[Video: Hiro Kamei] Following his solo tour closer in Tokyo tonight, April 11th, John Mayer will head back to the States to prepare for Dead & Company‘s 2019 summer tour, which kicks off on May 31st at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 31st. For a list of Dead & Company’s summer tour dates, head here.[H/T JamBase]last_img read more

Trojans trending upward at midway point

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first_imgThe first half of the USC football team’s 2016 season has been the epitome of a roller coaster ride.The Trojans opened with a 1-3 record, which included a blowout loss to No. 1 Alabama and a heartbreaker against No. 24 Utah, but just as soon as USC followers began to reach for the guillotine for first-year head coach Clay Helton, the Trojans have since embarked on a three-game winning streak, which began with a 41-20 victory over Arizona State on Oct. 1. USC’s 48-14 victory over Arizona Saturday was the team’s third consecutive win and elevated the Trojans’ record above the .500 mark (4-3) for the first time this season. The winning streak has put the team back into contention for the Pac-12 South Division title and a berth to the Pac-12 Championship. Seven games into the regular season, the Trojans are trending upward as they enter a pivotal final stretch in their schedule that will dictate what the postseason will look like for the program. Darnold has sparked offenseIt wouldn’t be ill-advised to say that one single name has completely changed the trajectory of the USC offense this season. That name is that of redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold, who was named the starter for the Trojans in Week 4. Through the first four games of the 2016 season, USC had the lowest-scoring offense in the Pac-12 (22 PPG). But since playing Utah on Sept. 23 — Darnold’s first start at quarterback — USC has averaged 527.8 yards of total offense and has scored 34.25 points per game over its last four weeks. After throwing for over 350 yards against Arizona State and Colorado in recent weeks, Darnold tossed five touchdown passes on Saturday against Arizona.“What I really appreciate is [Darnold’s] humility … You throw five touchdown passes, you think you get a smile and he’s like, ‘Coach, there’s more out there,’” said Helton following the win at Arizona. “That’s what you want from your leader. He’s like his coach. He’s a perfectionist.”Senior running back Justin Davis has been the workhorse for the Trojans on the ground thus far. Davis strung together 126-and 123-yard rushing performances against Utah and ASU, respectively, this season. In the second half against Colorado, Davis suffered a high-ankle sprain that kept him out of action against Arizona this past weekend.In a backfield led by sophomores Aca’Cedric Ware and Ronald Jones II, USC ran for a season-high 320 yards against the Wildcats Saturday. After struggling early on in the season, junior receiver Juju Smith-Schuster has exploded production-wise as of late. Through the first four games of the season, Smith-Schuster averaged fewer than 50 yards receiving and five receptions per game — only scoring two touchdowns during that span.Over USC’s last three games, Smith-Schuster has posted receiving yardage totals of 123, 113 and 132 against ASU, Colorado and Arizona, respectively. In two of the last three games, Smith-Schuster has caught three touchdown passes. The offensive line has battled injuries and undergone patchwork all season long. When junior center Toa Lobendahn suffered an ACL/MCL tear that ended his season early on, redshirt junior Nico Falah stepped in to fill the void. Redshirt senior tackle Zach Banner has also dealt with an ankle injury that sidelined him against ASU and Colorado.Despite the injuries up front, players like sophomore Chuma Edoga and redshirt senior Jordan Simmons have served valuable platoon roles in providing depth for the offensive line. Going forward, the health and effectiveness of this Trojan offensive line will be pivotal to the continued prosperity of the offense. As the second half of USC’s schedule is one littered with strong defensive fronts.Defense Locking DownMuch like the offense, USC’s defense has undergone a positive reversal of performance over the course of seven games. The Trojan defense has been the backbone behind the team’s current three-game winning streak. USC’s defense has held its last three opponents — ASU, Colorado, and Arizona — to an average of 17 points per game.Against Arizona, the defense forced a total of four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles). “It’s starting to all come together for [the defense]; it’s great to get our stride going into the bye week. We get a chance to tighten up things we need to tighten up,” said senior linebacker Michael Hutchings, a team captain for USC.After being named Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2015, sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith is currently the Trojans’ leading tackler (50 this season). Against Utah, Smith tallied a season-high 15 total tackles in a losing effort. On the edge, sophomore linebacker Porter Gustin has been one of USC’s biggest assets in establishing a pass rush and penetrating the backfield. Gustin currently leads the team in tackles for loss (5.5) and is second in total tackles (42). Over the offseason, USC added redshirt senior nose tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu — a graduate transfer from Utah — to its roster. Tu’ikolovatu has been the anchor on the line that defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s “5-2” scheme calls for. Junior cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is putting together a season worthy of consideration for the Jim Thorpe Award — an award given to the top defensive back in the nation. Jackson has intercepted two passes, recovered two fumbles and been one of the most-sure tacklers for the Trojans this season. Beyond the statistics, Jackson has been able to minimize the impact which opposing receivers have had against USC.Sophomore cornerback Iman Marshall struggled early on in the season, getting beat and failing to convert several turnover opportunities. However Marshall has intercepted two passes now on the season — the most recent coming in the second quarter against Arizona Saturday. The USC defense has undergone change in narratives throughout the first half of this season. It has gone from being considered a “bend-but-don’t-break” defense, to one now that has shown an ability to suppress high-powered offenses.Jackson leading the pacJackson has been the lighter fluid for the special teams unit this season. As an individual, Jackson leads the Pac-12 in both punt (15.5 yards per return) and kickoff (31.7 yards) return yardage. Jackson has returned both a kickoff and a punt return for a touchdown this season. OutlookThree consecutive conference victories have put the Trojans in third in the Pac-12 South Division standings; the team trails division-leading Utah by a half-game. The Trojans’ last-second, 31-27 loss to the Utes has complicated their road to a division title. With Utah tied with Colorado in first place, owning the tiebreaker with USC, the Trojans will need some help from other teams now to clinch a berth to the Pac-12 Championship game. Following the bye week, USC will look to pick up its fourth-consecutive victory in a Thursday night contest against visiting Cal on Oct. 27. The team will then enter a crucial November which will pit the Trojans against opponents such as Oregon, No. 5 Washington, UCLA and Notre Dame. Should the Trojans finish the second half of the season on a strong note, there is still great opportunity for the team to clinch a spot in the Pac-12 Championship.last_img read more