By Carol Anne Szel
Jackson Browne took the stage Sunday night at the NYCB Theatre Westbury for a sold-out show, where in his unassuming style he emerged from behind a massive curtain in this legendary venue. The stage held his piano, of course, and a bevy of guitars both electric and acoustic. And for this tour, he brought a full band of players, bass, guitar, keys, drums, lap steel guitar and a female backup singer.
His almost effortless style, hair flowing like it did when he was a young singer/songwriter in 1972 with his debut album, “Jackson Browne” (aka: “Saturate Before Using,”) Browne took the stage opening the evening up with “The Barricades of Heaven” followed up with “Just Say Yeah” and “Fountain of Sorrow” to the delight of this 50-60+ year old crowd of Jackson Browne enthusiasts.
Browne did not push any agendas or speak of any of his many charitable causes during breaks at any time in the night, but did leave us in these troubled times simply saying “Take good care of each other.” After all, in his songs — expressed from his heart and a lifetime of living with every emotion on his sleeve like heartbreak, frustration, and peace — this 67-year-old says it all.
After singing his big commercial hit “Somebody’s Baby,” Jackson Browne then went into “Boulevard,” saying “here’s another upbeat song,” relating to the fact that he’ll shortly get back into his “somber and morose” music he proclaimed, laughing.
Between each tune the audience shouted out their favorite songs, and at one interlude a man in the audience pointed to his own hat and yelled out “Paul Rodriguez” alluding to Browne’s recent collaboration with Rodriguez with “Song y Son” in which they pursued American/Spanish rhythms and played a show at Town Hall in NYC this March. Jackson Browne was thrilled, and asked the man to bring his hat up to the stage where he autographed it on the cap’s brim that was also already signed by Rodriguez. Quite a way to get a walk up to the stage to meet your hero!
“One of my favorite bands,” Jackson Browne proudly said from stage, as he broke into the Eagle’s classic “Take It Easy” in the night’s encore, by far a better rendition than the emotionally charged one he and the remaining members of the Eagles did at the February Grammy Tribute to Glenn Frey.
Performing three cover tunes this evening, he gave a shout-out to noted musician Danny Kortchmar who collaborated with him on “Shaky Town,” and ended the night with a poignant version of Little Steven’s “I Am A Patriot,” very fitting in what’s happening in the world today.
Notably missing from the show, were his hits “These Days,” “Stay,” “Rosie,” “Doctor My Eyes.” But this musician, who has sold over 18 million albums in the United States, definitely did not disappoint! His voice was as crisp and clear as when I first saw him in concert 40 years ago as he rocked the crowd with favorites “I’m Alive,” “The Pretender,” and “Running on Empty.”
A sort of prelude to the three upcoming shows Jackson Browne is playing at NYC’s Beacon Theater, all I can say is to get your tickets now. This is a show not to be missed.
(Carlos Varela cover)