Forty eight years into an incredibly fruitful and eventful career, Jackson Browne proves able to put on a show just as slick and enthralling as those at its peak
Perhaps not anywhere near as well-known among the population of a city like Manchester (particularly the student population) as throughout the USA, Jackson Browne nevertheless drew great support from the audience at Bridgewater Hall in the form of cordial cheers and requests, as well as a lack of empty seats. Browne and his band seemed to draw upon the enthusiasm of the seated audience in delivering such an energetic performance throughout the 3-hour set, and Browne met the incessant requests with witty ripostes; upon the band’s return to the stage for the half-hour-long encore (but well before ending the show on his biggest hits), Browne suggestively exclaims that “now we can do what we want…”.
Having recently released his fourteenth studio album, Standing in the Breach, the band played most of the album in its support, introducing most of the songs from it with charming little monologues explaining to the audience their personal significance, history, or composition. Being well-noted for his involvement in current affairs, relevant remarks are made throughout Browne’s on-stage banter, these do not wear their welcome though – his words are short, sweet and witty – and after what needs to be said is said, the band plays as though it’s second nature to them.
The backing band, made up mostly of recently-hired professionals, were also remarkable; each player executed their pieces with not only technical perfection, but with genuine enthusiasm and vivaciousness – the back-up singers were particularly impressive. Guitarist Mark Goldenberg handles rhythm guitar excellently, switching freely through pedal, lap steel guitars – among others – and like the rest of those playing, never missing a beat. The overall setting and approach of this gig is one that students might not be so familiar with, but made for an experience that almost anyone could truly enjoy.