While performing his tune "Gravity" Wednesday at Nashville's Sommet Center, Mayer, 32, stopped playing and apologized to his bandmates.
"In the quest to be clever," he began, "I completely forgot about the people that I love and that love me."
He then said that he had entered a world of "selfishness and greediness and arrogance." He said that he thought if he could just be "speedy and witty and pull together as many fast words and phrases as I could, that I would be clever enough to buy myself another day without anybody pinning me down and saying, 'You're a creep.'
"I should have just given that up and played the guitar," he went on. "I didn't. So I decided I would try to be as clever as possible all the time, and I did that at the expense of people that I love and that feels absolutely terrible.
"I think it's important that you know that everybody on this stage is here playing with me not because they condone what I say in any interview ... they're on this stage because they support myself as a possible future grown-up," he continued as the audience cheered.
Mayer then got choked up.
With his voice cracking, he told the crowd, "And maybe they see something that I don't. So maybe I need to take a break from trying to be clever and spend a little time looking at what they see -- because they've done an unbelievable thing by standing on this stage and standing by my side playing tonight.
"It's just not worth being clever," he said, adding: "I quit the media game. I'm out. I'm done. I just want to play my guitar."
He then thanked the band again for standing by him.
After a lengthy pause, he began playing guitar solo.
After the show, Mayer Twittered: "I just wanted to play the guitar for people. Everything else just sort of popped up and I improvised, and kept doubling down on it..."
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