Jackson Browne

10 October 2016

Pikes Peak Centre, Colorado Springs, CO


Over the years, I've collected and listened to a number of songs that Jackson Browne has written, inspired, or received inspiration from, and some of my favorite artists have harmonized on Jackson Browne recordings.  But, I hadn't actually seen Jackson Browne on stage until this show.

Regretfully passing on an opportunity to see Jackson with his full band at Red Rocks this past Summer, I instead opted to see a sparsely-arranged mostly acoustic set with Browne center stage, and guitarist Greg Leisz to his left.  I indeed also have several recordings, by the Eagles, Shawn Colvin, Brian Wilson, and others, featuring Greg's multi-instrumental talents. I also met his sister Debra a couple decades ago, introduced by a common workplace colleague -- small world.

After an opening, mellow "After The Deluge", Jackson touched on several points from his 45-year-long popular music career, including his 1993 Adult Contemporary (AC) hit "I'm Alive", featuring profound lyrics, "Those dreams are dead, and I'm alive."

Set #1 included a cover of the Warren Zevon-penned, "Lawyers, Guns & Money", and finished with his acoustic rendition of his 1986 AC hit, "In The Shape Of A Heart". At one point during the show, Jackson stated, "I just don't have that many positive songs."

Set #2 started with a song inspired by the Crosby/Stills/Kantner composition "Wooden Ships", which tells a fictitious story of a small group of people abandoning an apocalypse by sailing away on the ocean. After hearing the song, Jackson critiqued the perspective for leaving others behind to suffer and/or die, and documented his sentiments with his own "For Everyman". Note that, almost as a return favor years later, Jackson inspired a then strung-out-from-drugs David Crosby to complete his great composition, "Delta", by saying, "Finish it or I'll break your arms." More years later, in his first autobiography from 1988, Crosby simply stated, "Thanks Jackson."

Later in the set, Jackson covered a Little Feat truck drivers' song also covered by many other artists, including the Byrds, "Willin'".

Then, a tune that honestly, I prefer the Gregg Allman version of, but nevertheless is likeable in multiple forms, "These Days", followed by a stripped-down, piano-and-guitar rendition of his Top Ten hits, "Somebody's Baby" and "Doctor My Eyes".

Set #2 ended with late 1970's hits "The Pretender" and "Running On Empty".

An obligatory performance of the Browne-Frey 1972 composition "Take It Easy" served as the encore. No "Rock Me On The Water", no "Here Comes Those Tears Again", "Hold Out", "Stay", "Boulevard", "That Girl Could Sing", "Lawyers In Love", "Tender Is The Night" or "For A Rocker" -- but, maybe the next time he tours with a full band.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Troubadour night club showcased an almost unbelievable array of singer/songwriter talent, and anyone who emerged to achieve international success in popular music is a winner.

[****] - Steven T.

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