There was no stepping back in time during the Jackson Browne concert rescheduled to May 29 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, it was more like experiencing timelessness. The accomplished folk rock singer-songwriter performed seamlessly—and looked and sounded (in general) as if time had simply stood still.
The show was simple. Jackson Browne, a keyboard, and 14-16 guitars (from where I sat, I couldn’t quite count straight—y’know, aura glow and all). He was candid throughout the evening, taking requests from the audience, humming to fill in for temporarily forgotten lyrics, and sharing the occasional fun fact including that his mom is from St. Paul (in case you didn’t know).
We were treated to a couple of Warren Zevon stories and songs including “Mohammed’s Radio.” He misses Zevon greatly. We heard the stories behind “Giving That Heaven Away,” “In the Shape of a Heart,” “The Pretender,” and “Rock Me on the Water.” After a brief intermission we heard “For Everyman,” “Fountain of Sorrow,” “Two of You, Two of Me,” and “Lives in the Balance.” We were treated to a chat about Cuba as Browne imbibed a couple of shots of Cuban rum. And we got into drinking songs…specifically, “Naked Ride Home.” Oh yeah, you can only imagine.
There were a couple of shout-outs to causes he’s attached to presently, one of which is the SEVA Foundation. Browne had just performed at Wavy Gravy’s 75th Birthday Party, which benefitted that foundation. Throughout Browne’s career he’s done an amazing amount of work performing for fundraisers. In fact, I expected more of a political slant at the State considering Browne’s sung to support causes from Tibet to Pediatric AIDS. He’s charasmatic. People listen, and he helps you believe.
Browne lived/thrived in NYC’s Greenwich Village in the late ’60s, he’s written for and/or performed with decades-lasting star artists including Gregg Allman, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, alt-cult-rock heroine Nico, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and the Eagles. Browne chose to spend a lot of his solo recording career with the illustrious, über-cool David Lindley and, from his early teens (Browne was hired as a staff writer for Elektra Records at 17), he’s had the ability to pen lyrics including among many, many others:
Well, I’ve been up and down this highway
Far as my eyes can see
No matter how fast I run
I can never seem to get away from me (“Your Bright Baby Blues”)
It’s such a clever innocence with which you do your sorcery
As if somehow the years just bow and let that young girl go free
I thought I was a child until you turned and smiled
I thought I knew where I was going until I heard your laughter flowing
And came upon the wisdom in your eyes (“I Thought I Was a Child”)
On stage at the State, Browne was vulnerable, compassionate, and also confident and comfortable. You felt like he was just a guy who was happy to be playing for you.
I saw the show with my longest-time-friend, Teri, who has throughout the years been understanding about my Jackson Browne, well, let’s just say issue. That turned out to be apropos as Browne kindly mentioned a longtime friend who was in the audience, and how much his friends and family have contributed to his life. It was serendipitous to have a friend like that with me during a concert like this.
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