COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- John Mayer fans have been huddling outside the South Carolina venue where the rocker has been rehearsing for his upcoming tour, hoping to get a glimpse of him.
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For some lucky fans, that wait has paid off. For two hours Tuesday night, Mayer put on a free show for University of South Carolina students, giving back to the loyal fans who have camped out in downtown Columbia during his practice sessions.
"USC students: come watch us run the show tonight. Free," Mayer said in a Twitter message sent at 6 p.m. Tuesday, inviting students to pick up their free tickets at the Russell House student union on campus and show up for a concert two hours later.
Organizers originally said only 200 tickets would be issued, but about 500 were gathered for Tuesday's performance.
Mayer has been in Columbia this week rehearsing for his two-year worldwide tour, which kicks off Thursday in Sunrise, Fla. He returns to South Carolina Feb. 8 for a show in North Charleston but doesn't have any concerts scheduled for Columbia. Given the warm reception he got Tuesday, Mayer said he might have to reconsider that.
"We will hopefully see you at one of the area concerts, or we'll have to do a show back here," Mayer said. "We'll see you soon."
Tuesday's performance had all the elements of a standard arena concert: screaming fans, cameras feeding live images to a jumbo screen, even an encore. Trying out music from his latest album, "Battle Studies," Mayer told the crowd he planned to run through the touring concert playlist and make tweaks as necessary, even asking the crowd for advice on some show elements, like a semitransparent screen surrounding the stage.
"Thank you for helping us out," he said. "This is the way you should rehearse a show."
No visual or audio recordings were allowed at Tuesday's show, a request Mayer thanked his fans for respecting. Joining in on the fun, USC President Harris Pastides said he was glad the students who have been patiently hoping to see Mayer during his visit got their surprise reward.
"That absolutely rocked," Pastides said after the show. "What a treat."
John Mayer's charitable side doesn't stop there. He just announced that he would be donating the song "The Heart of Life" and $500,000 to benefit the Haiti. He also filmed a PSA to support the Red Cross Haiti relief effort, check it out!
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