Apparently the Arizonans love Jackson Browne. Maybe it’s the “standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona” line. I don’t know. I’m not sure how fast this show sold out, but it was FAST. Fast enough that I missed getting tickets and I was paying attention. Honest.
Anyway, there is a wonderful thing called a ticket fairy and Saturday afternoon I returned from lunch to find an offer for a ticket, for which I am very grateful as the show was amazing.
The stage was set with 16 guitars and a keyboard. Warren Zevon and Shawn Colvin played in the background. Finally, nearly 15 minutes late, Jackson wandered out on stage in his standard uniform: jeans and a button down shirt. This one was blue with vertical stripes in a slightly darker blue. At least it wasn’t plaid. He doesn’t look or sound anywhere near as old as he is, though shaving the beard would probably help. He asked how we were doing and sat down to play
Barricades of Heaven
He said, “thank you so much” and picked up another guitar. He said it was a “real pleasure to be here tonight, thank you for coming.”
While he fiddled and played an intro he said that “this is a song I wrote when I was 16, I rewrote it when I was 23.”
During the song, he got a little distracted, and flubbed the switch from the musical bridge to the verse and had to replay the bridge again to get back to the right part. He took a moment after the song to talk to a stage person and then said, “I gotta talk to you briefly about taking my picture during songs.” He said it was weird and it was making him self-conscious so “would you not do it.”
He talked about how there’s a moment in the song where it reaches a transcendental point and the photographs mess that up. He said that “there’s a time I wonder what you’re thinking.” He talked about the cover of a New Yorker magazine where the guy is looking at some Jackson Pollock painting in a museum and was taking a photo of it with his cell phone. He added, “I’m not gonna lecture you, but we can make the choice to be here now.”
He said that someone had wanted to film the show for a tv thing but then it wouldn’t be this show because they’d have cameras everywhere and that while they were recording every single show of the tour for the album to pick out the best songs for the “Solo Acoustic” album series, “if you record everything, you record nothing.”
Continuing on the subject he said “you don’t realize it, but when you take my picture a little light goes on and so if you could refrain from doing it and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle” the show would continue. He also said that we shouldn’t be intimidated by the venue because it was no more or less fancy than other venues.
He went to the piano and started
Fountain of Sorrow
He fiddled around on the piano a moment and people started shouting out requests. He commented on how “in every audience when people start shouting out songs, someone says ‘Play what you want!’ as if they’re really concerned that I’ll sit here and play what they say.”
He said it was like a relationship, that you have to listen some and not listen some but he was “getting incapable of listening to people but then again, if I sit here and think of what to play we could be here awhile.” He added, “Or I could just go back to the set list,” but he shook his head and said, “Nah.”
For A Dancer
“Arizona’s a little bit dry,” he commented, returning to the guitar stool. He started playing and said, “I really want to take a sip of that tea, (they had some tea on a table next to him) but it blows my ambiance.” Apparently it wasn’t a big enough problem because he stopped to take a sip of the tea and continued on to play
He went to pick another guitar but he couldn’t decide which one. He said, “it’s like a jukebox. I got certain songs in certain guitars,” and that he “was not really trying to strike envy in the heart of the guitar players in the audience… well, maybe a little bit.”
“This is a song I wrote when I was 18, rewrote this when I was about 50-something. I wrote it on the guitar but it never came together. I didn’t change the words, just rearranged some of the syllables in my mind.”
Birds of St. Marks
He explained about how there used to be a statue outside of a particular hotel in Hollywood and how when he was 18 when he took his first plane ride and that they had driven to New York but he flew back and there was this one guy who was trying to talk him into taking acid and the then getting on the plane.
He noted he didn’t try the acid and then went on to talk about the statue and how it was an ad for the Sands hotel and that “this shows how long it’s been since I was 18” but the statue was made of wood and the paint was peeling. The statue across the street apparently was on some land owned by the Rocky & Bullwinkle people and so there was a statue of them going around and around. He said, “that’s my Hollywood, not to be confused with Raymond Chandler’s Hollywood.”
He said it was fun to pick the ones he hadn’t played in a long time and it was like hearing them again – even if he couldn’t get through them all the way. “This one’s from way back,”
I Thought I Was A Child
Before the Deluge
At this point there was a short intermission during which more Shawn Colvin was played.
Twenty-odd minutes later he came back out and started right into
Someone yelled out “Ready or Not” and he started on another long story. “See, if I sang that song, I stopped singing that one about 20 years ago, because of that verse. She deeply resented the washing machine.” He said it wasn’t actually the washing machine but that he bought her a washing machine and sang about it and he said, “If I keep talking about it I’ll have to do it.”
He continued to say that he liked doing his own laundry and that it was one of life’s greatest, well, not the greatest, pleasures. He said that there’s “something else going on, it’s a song about pregnancy” and someone yelled out something to the effect of “we all do it” or something and he laughed and said that not really. “You wanna hear it?” He said that “just so you know what you’re not gonna hear. I made a deal with myself not to sing that verse.”
Someone else kept saying something and he said, “We can’t really have a conversation. I’ve got the mic. (they said something) What I’m trying to tell you is there’s… You gotta thing about washing machines? (response) She’s a Maytag rep!” He said that “34 years after it’s a fairly serious thing that you can’t just really joke about so I figure it’d be best to just leave that silly verse out.”
Ready or Not
During which he messed up the first verse about the waistline and tried to go right into meeting her in a crowded bar.
He thanked us again and started roaming the stage. He stopped and said, “The funny thing about this is you go off in another direction and suddenly I don’t feel like doing it. Life is so linear.” He said he was “gonna sing a song someone just asked for it. It’s really hard to do because I wrote these answer parts and they kinda overlap (someone offered to sing them) Yeah, if you want.”
The Late Show
He said, “I told you it was hard to sing.” He got up and said, “I only have one rule in the whole show. It’s that if someone calls for one of my better known songs, I gotta play it right away because when I’m playing obscure stuff I’m afraid people might start thinking, “Why am I here? Why’d I buy tickets to this show?”
Running On Empty
Lives In The Balance
Late For The Sky
Doctor My Eyes
Looking Into You
This block of songs was fairly uninterrupted, with the exception of a few nods to acknowledge song requests.
He went back over to the guitars and said he’d been “working on a new record with a band” that would be out in the fall. “Would you like to hear a new song?”
He swapped guitars and said, “this is a song that’s not 100% finished” but he “really love singing this song, or it could be I just really love this guitar.” He continued talking about how someone had given him pictures that he had seen during the intermission and that he was really glad to get them because they were of him and David Lindley back in 1978 and he didn’t have that guitar anymore. He said that there’s always “sorrow… why DID I sell that guitar?”
He asked for the person who sent the pictures to get in touch with him and that he was going to send one to Martin Guitar Co. because they always ask, no the fans always ask, where the Martins are and that he used to play them all the time but he “fell into the deep end for Gibson.” He said “They’ve all got songs, just different songs. I mean I can’t play this on a Martin.”
I wanted to be somebody you’d see when you’re feeling good… began to cook up a plan to take you out of town…”
He asked if we wanted to hear another new song and started a very bluesy, funky style tune with a slide.
Sitting down by the highway… down by that highway sign… everybody’s going somewhere… bright baby blues… let me slide… don’t mean to be cruel but you’re looking confused…”
He said, “You guys have been great. Thanks for coming out. I’m gonna sing you a song that I helped write, that I co-wrote.” He said he had written most of it but if he hadn’t written it the guy he wrote it with wouldn’t have gotten it done. He said, “I wrote it with Glen Frey of the Eagles. I wrote it in Arizona and in Utah.”
Take It Easy
During which we proved once again that Arizonans are not good at sing-a-longs to the point that Jackson even said that we were the “first audience in a long time that hasn’t gone right into the ooohoooh oohs.“
He said he was going to sing this song that he wrote for his girlfriend but he really “wrote it just to let you know I’m alright after some of the most dire songs in popular music.”
My Stunning Mystery Companion
During which he couldn’t remember the first line and tried using “explanations” but when that didn’t work he said, “what the hell is that word? How did I forget a word like that? That is truly embarrassing.”
He said thank you again, waved and was gone.
*Because of the camera ordeal, I only got a few shots. Even thought my camera makes no such light and uses no flash.
**Thank you Tucson Kim for the ticket.
***And since the #1 search for this site right now is “Does Jackson Browne dye his hair?” I will go ahead and answer. I am 99.8% positive he probably does something. His hair (as beautiful and wonderful as it is) is dark, while his beard (which really needs to be removed) is grayish. As of yet I have not been able to ask him personally though at a concert I attended in 2004, he said he didn’t have to dye it much, he just moves the part around. Being as that was four years ago, I’d say he probably does indeed dye his hair. But really now, what does it matter what he does to his hair? It’s his hair.