Something Fine in New Jersey
Fall 2009 U.S. Solo Acoustic Tour Rolls Into Morristown
A SoundPress.net Archive Article by Rich and Laura Lynch
The last time we saw Jackson Browne was seven years ago around the time the legendary singer-songwriter began touring in a strictly solo capacity on a more regular basis since his early troubadour days. That night in Rochester, New York was actually the first review we ever posted on this website and the performance revealed a trend that would be characteristic of his shows from there on out. Namely, fans became quite vocal in their determination to make it known to Jackson what songs they wanted to hear. Back then we called it a request-fest.
Fast forward to present day and the vibe of Browne's Solo Acoustic concert on November 3, 2009 was similar when Jackson made a tour stop at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts in Morristown, New Jersey.
Jackson Browne was fighting a cold but was determined to soldier on as this was only the second show on his current run of dates. After opening with "The Barricades of Heaven" - an autobiographical tale about his path to musical stardom - he played "These Days" from his second recording.
These days Jackson Browne is a busy man having recently come off the road from an extended world tour with his full band in support of Time The Conqueror - his first new studio album in six years. In addition to his current schedule Browne has announced winter dates with Sheryl Crow in Japan next March.
"I'm gonna sing you a Warren Zevon Song," Jackson said to the sold-out Morristown crowd. "I've been singing it a lot lately" - before launching into "Don't Let Us Get Sick". This cover was well received and was followed up with "Looking Into You" before the cries of requests began in earnest.
One fan had yelled out "that's the good stuff" to which Jackson laughed a bit to himself before moving into the next number about the good stuff.
"I'm going to sing this song for my son, Ethan," Jackson told the audience describing how he just spent a day visiting with his first born in New York City. "When I was his age everyone went to Morocco, now it's Amsterdam," Jackson continued before playing "Something Fine" and telling a story of looking at photographs from his son's recent trip to the Netherlands.
"Goodnight everbody," Jackson said jokingly after playing the sixth number - the career defining title track from Running On Empty, continuing, "I always played that song at the end of the night, but we can do whatever we want now."
Throughout the evening Jackson did what he wanted - moving from acoustic guitar - he had sixteen six strings lined up behind him - to an electric piano. He switched to the keys for first time to unleash his "Fountain of Sorrow" before following it with "Rock Me On The Water" which was dedicated to many of his friends who are fighting a battle to save the seas.
Jackson Browne onstage at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts during his 2009 Solo Acoustic Tour.
Even as Jackson was a tad under the weather it was the health of the oceans that had him most concerned. A known environmentalist - Browne has been featured on Planet Green's Living With Ed with Ed Begley, Jr. proudly showcasing his wind and solar systems that power his home in California - Jackson gave public support to Capt. Charles Moore. This man has been recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine for his efforts to raise awareness about the "Plastic Soup" tragedy taking place in the Pacific Ocean where a blob of litter twice the size of the state of Texas is now churning into putrid proof of man's negative impact on the planet.
"One thing you can do is stop using plastic for things you dispose of," Jackson commented holding up a special Jackson-themed metal water bottle he was using to drink from before telling fans he had some with him for sale. So, fans could show their support for the artist and planet with a single environmentally conscious fifteen dollar purchase.
More requests filled the air - shout out but not played during the two-hour show was "Take It Easy", "Disco Apocalypse". Springsteen's "Racing In The Streets", "Linda Paloma", "Rosie" and "I'm Alive". But, it was the songs that were played that told an equally compelling story and provided insight into Jackson's diverse and beloved catalogue. While the many classics in the evening's set pleased long-time fans it was some of Jackson's newer output that gave a revealing look into his personal love life and song-writing process.
"This song came to me while driving," Jackson said of "Live Nude Cabaret" from the new CD telling how he combined the feel of a Ben Harper tune he was listening to with the scenery he was taking in at the time while stopped at a traffic light near a strip club. "A lot of songs come to me in the car..."
"I find a playful attitude helps," Jackson said regarding the longevity of his current relationship before performing "My Stunning Mystery Companion" from 2002's The Naked Ride Home. He wrote this song for his girlfriend to mark their first ten years together, describing how he keeps her guessing, "You know, we might stay together, we might not. What can you show me?"
Jackson was shown a lot of love from his fans during the night in the form of requests and presents. Someone in the front row handed Jackson an embroidered hand towel (wrapped in plastic!) and we learned a little something we never knew about the man and his fans.
"I have of collection of these towels with these embossed messages to me," Browne said while reading his most recent acquisition which he seemed pleased with saying, "Yeah, that was a good one."
Overall, the show was a very good one and points to a strong start for Browne as he embarks on his fall trek. Despite some difficulties with the high level of his register and back end of his voice, Jackson conquered, and closed his set to a standing ovation.
Jackson's Solo Acoustic tours have turned into something of a cottage industry for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. By going it alone Jackson can more deeply engage his fans while cutting costs - and these concerts have been previously documented on two albums worth of work - Solo Acoustic Volume 1 and 2 on Inside Recordings. These albums capture the stripped down Browne in refined and fine form and it will be interesting to see if this year's tour further adds to the performer's canon.
Browne closed out the night with the set with "For Everyman" and then returned for "Before The Deluge" - both played on piano. With these songs about man's need to come together to overcome our apocalyptic tendencies Jackson proved that he is still a man of the people who is concerned for humanity as a whole. Through his provocative and personal music he shows he still believes in mankind and the spirit of the race - and, his music helps keep our spirits high.
Jackson Browne Setlist - November 03, 2009
Jackson Browne has documented past tours on the Solo Acoustic CD series.
Related Links: For more information on JACKSON BROWNE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- JacksonBrowne.com | PlasticSoup.org | MayoArts.org | Search "Jackson Browne"
(Originally Published on November 05, 2009)
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