Jackson Browne Remains A Dreamer

There are some concerts that you listen to music, while others it’s a party. Jackson Browne is definitely a listening crowd – or should be. The much-heralded singer/songwriter who wrote and recorded some of the songs many in the crowd grew up listening to (and who know, maybe party) recent stop in Chattanooga is one of those case studies.

Performing to a packed house at the Tivoli Theatre Browne found himself at times competing with a talkative crowd, at one point stopping and telling someone near the front to literally shut up. Rule number one when you go to an acoustic show is to listen to the music and artist. I realize it may not be my place to lecture people on proper oncert etiquette, but after all these years and 47 years of Browne’s music, you would think some would already know better.

In retrospect it’s hard to believe we’ve known Browne 50 years first with the Nirtty Gritty Dirt Band and then as a songwriter (he co-wrote the Eagles’ first charting single (Take It Easy” with Glenn Frey) an his own work of course, his first single on the radio being “Doctor My Eyes”.

This show and I guessing in part because it is an acoustic tour is for true fans of the legendary singer/songwriter – more so than the fans of the radio hits. Those in attendance were treated to a night of deeper cuts from his vast musical catalog going back almost 50 years. Sure there were a few familiar ones throw in such as, “Doctor My Eyes”, The Pretender” and “Running On Empty” with an encore of “Take It Easy” a song he co-wrote with Glenn Frey.

Browne’s songs and writing style have changed over the decades. The early years was a definite country-tinged rock sound as “Something Fine” and the already mention a few time, “Take It Easy” to more of an introspective and personal singer/songwriter with songs like “For A Dancer”, “Your Bright Baby Blues” and “Call It a Loan”, to politics and political awareness on songs like, “The Dreamer” about the DACA program and “Lives in the Balance”. His days of political activism goes back publicly over 40 years. I remember the “No Nukes” concerts and around 1986 with the album Lives In The Balance poltics came more to the forefront of his songs. His last singe to make Billboard’s Hot 100 chart was “In the Shape of a Heart” at 78 was one of a personal nature as it addressed Browne’s relationship with first wife Phyllis Major, who committed suicide in 1976.

Despite over 30 years without a radio hit, it didn’t bother Browne or the louder than usual crowd in attendance. This with the boyish good looks, thought a little gray in area, Browne’s performance was energetic and full of energy and soul and singers Alethea Mills and Chavonne Stewart really added to the mix that gave his songs and even more soulful feel and appeal.

Jackson Browne Setlist

Set 1:
Some Bridges
Something Fine
Off of Wonderland
For a Dancer
The Dreamer
The Long Way Around
Late for the Sky
Call It a Loan
Leaving Winslow
These Days
Lives in the Balance

Set 2:
For Everyman
Your Bright Baby Blues
Jamaica Say You Will
Walls and Doors (Carlos Varela cover)
Before the Deluge
Doctor My Eyes
Redneck Friend
Love Needs a Heart
The Pretender
Running on Empty

Take It Easy (Eagles cover)

– Chris Oughtred