Jackson Browne | Sage Gateshead | 21 June 2017

Reviewed for The Northern Echo

It’s hard to believe that LA based singer-songwriter Jackson Browne is 68 years old. He doesn’t look it and he certainly doesn’t sound it. This week at Sage Gateshead he delivered a masterclass of bittersweet songs that lasted close to three hours.

Playing guitar, he opened his set with Just Say Yeah – an exquisite take on lovelorn pursuit – and The Long Way Around, a song that laments the desensitising we surely all feel as rolling news bring us a constant stream of disasters and shootings and which stands proudly alongside any of his older classics.

By the third number Browne had moved to the piano for a stunning take on Before the Deluge. Whether you believe it to be a paean to the environment, the death of hippie culture or something more directly spiritual, it was achingly beautiful. This was followed by a rare outing for Looking East.

A number of covers were scattered through the set including Randy Newman’s A Piece of The Pie and Carlos Valera’s Walls and Doors, before which Browne noted with sadness that the progress made by the US in recent years to build bridges with Cuba was now being undone.

Highlights were plentiful including Doctor My Eyes, For A Dancer, Your Bright Baby Blues, I’m Alive, Sky Blue and Black, and The Pretender.

Backed by a hugely talented band that included Val McCallum on guitar, Greg Leisz on pedal steel, and keyboardist Jeff Young it was a rich and uplifting evening of music.


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