Jackson Browne wins challenge of time
LENOX — Singer/songwriter Jackson Browne is timeless.
No, really. At 66, Browne still looks, from afar at least, a lot like the young kid who first visited Tanglewood 45 years ago, opening for the band America.
"After my set," he recalled for the audience. "I sat on the lawn and watched the show from there. Tanglewood. Wow."
Browne presented a 26-song show before a three-quarters-filled Shed audience on Tuesday that sprinkled new songs in with old hits, as well as a few intriguing covers.
After opening up with oldie "Rock Me On the Water," Browne segued into "Just Say Yeah" from 2008's "Time the Conqueror" and then bounced back to the early 1970s with "Looking Into You".
His next few selections, "Fountain of Sorrow," "The Long Way Around" and "Call It A Loan," featured the slide work of band member Greg Leisz.
Former member (and star in his own right) David Lindley had formerly taken these parts, but Leisz, an L.A. session man who has played with half the musicians in the business, filled in very ably.
Leisz and Browne's other guitarist, Val McCallum, were the bedrock of the set, trading off riffs throughout the show.
A few numbers later, Browne picked up an acoustic guitar and played a mini-acoustic set, featuring "I'm Alive" and "For Everyman."
Browne is also an advocate for a number of social and environmental causes. The next tune, "Walls and Bridges," was written by Cuban artist/activist Carlos Varela. It was a translated into English by Browne on his 2014 album, "Standing in the Breach." It speaks of "some who build walls and some who build doors."
"A song for our time," said Browne to the audience, referring to the concept of building a wall between Mexico and the United States.
The first set ended with "Doctor My Eyes," which was the encore song Browne sang in 1971.
The second set opened with "The Birds of St. Mark's," "Your Big Baby Blues" and what Browne described as a "barroom rant": the political "Which Side Are You On."
Browne alternated newer songs with older favorites for the rest of the set, until he revved the audience up for The Big Finish: "Shape of a Heart," "The Pretender" and, of course, a mighty version of "Running on Empty."
The encore was a treat: The Eagles' "Take It Easy," written by Browne and the late Glenn Frey, and "Our Lady of the Well," both from Browne's second album, "For Everyman."
The final number was a cover of Little Steven's "I Am A Patriot," a song Browne covered in 1989's"World in Motion." The song holds that dissent is not disloyalty. Browne has played the song live many times since 1989.
Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251
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