As a teenager, many years ago, by the time I first heard Jackson Browne, from my older cousin, I was submerged in hard rock and later heavy metal, so far in fact that if you had asked me then what I thought of his stuff I would have answered, “It sucks” or “I hate it.” Of course we all know that wasn’t true, but when you are a teenager anything other than what you like sucks. Thankfully, the teen years only last so long.
Last year I put in to shoot Jackson Browne for “something to do.” It was an off night and I thought it might be fun. I walked away from that evening a fan. Over the years, my mind has opened up, and I have a real appreciation for good song writing and a good performance. Jackson Browne was brilliant. He appeared to be having fun, was very engaged with his fans, played very well, and his songwriting, especially on the material I had never heard, was great. When I saw he was coming back, I was more than happy to cover him again.
This time around the show was a little different, whereas last time it was a stripped down version, pretty much just Jackson and a slew of guitars and a piano. This time he has a full band along with him. If the show was not sold out, it was damn close, and the seats were quickly filled. The night was nice, although a bit cool on the water.
I was a little disappointed because A) My good camera lens, which I had sent away for a overhaul, had not come back yet and B) Browne’s management had all three photographers shooting the show away from the stage and at an angle, making it difficult to get the quality frames I needed and that our Maine Music News readers have come to expect. That said, I did what I could.
The show was completely different from last year’s. Not only was there a band along with him, but this time he played a lot of deep album cuts, which for me who doesn’t know a lot of his non-radio songs, was great. The audience seemed to agree, and more than once I heard, “I can’t believe he is doing this one.” Everyone was smiling and clapping along. During the set, Jackson commented on how much he really enjoyed Portland and the people he had met in the city, He also remarked about the cool breeze that he was not quite used to or ready for. Ringing his hands together saying, he said “Typically when we come to play cities in the north, we are freezing and we see people walking down the street in t-shirts. Tonight as I look out in the crowd I see you all bundled up, I’m not sure we are prepared.”
The crowd who appeared older than the shows I typically attend, stayed seated throughout most of the two and half hour long show, but toward the end, they rose to their feet and many walked or ran to the front of the stage to “kick it old school.” Toward the end of the set, most of the radio hits came, and the crowd sang along. Another great show in the books, I walked to my car singing songs that I heard 40 years ago and this time I loved them. Jackson Browne is a class act and if you haven’t seen one of his shows, You really owe it to yourself to check one out.
The Set List:
The Barricades of Heaven – Just Say Yeah – Fountain of Sorrow – The Long Way Around – Shaky Town – I’m Alive – For Everyman – Walls and Doors (Carlos Varela Cover) – For a Dancer – Redneck Friend – The Birds of St. marks – Which Side – I’ll Do Anything – Yeah Yeah – Sky Blue Black – Somebody’s Baby – Boulevard – Doctor My Eyes – The Pretender – Running on Empty
Encore: Take It Easy – Our Lady of the Well