Jackson Browne At The Shelburne Museum Tuesday July 14, 2009

Words by Tim Lewis.

I’m not sure what appealed to me to make me want to go but the day tickets went on sale, but I really had a good feeling, and got tickets.  I had never seen Jackson Browne and really like a few of his songs.

Just before 6 on the day of the show my friend Miriam arrived and we watched a bit of the Sotomayor conformations before heading out.  As we approached the logjam of vehicles heading into Shelburne we realized we should have left earlier.  We slugged our way through the heavy traffic and got in and parked when the opening strains of Boulevard kicked it.  The band were onstage and sounding great.  It was too late to try and find Don and Lisa so we just went to the beer area, grabbed some Magic Hat and walked to the fence to enjoy the show.  I had seen a setlist and did not know most of it so was prepared to enjoy the show more than revel in it, but he caught me off guard by slipping Tender is the Night into the second spot.  The next song or two I did not know but then came Fountains of Sorrow, which I recognized immediately.We had made contingency plans to meet Don and Lisa by the soundboard or in the beer area so I kept my eyes open.  One of the times I was scanning the crowd and there was Don.  We walked over and hung out.  Jackson and his band sounded fine even if I did not know the songs.  The title song from last years Time the Conqueror album sounded great even though it was the first time I’ve head more than a snippet of it.  His band had a hot guitarist, a solid bass and drums rhythm section, another keyboard player and a dynamite pair of backup singers.  Jackson traded off on guitar and piano.  Everything sounded very solid and smooth with only the low sound volume keeping it from being great.  In the beer area people chatted a lot and almost drowned out the music.  Jackson spoke to the audience a lot but we missed most of it due to the chatting.The sun slipped out of the clouds and lit up the audience as he played a couple of more songs I did not know and then he played one that sounded old.  He said it was from his first album then followed it with Doctor My Eyes which flowed into About My Imagination, which he said was really Doctor part 2.  With this he took a quick set break.About 15 minutes later they came back with a bunch more new songs.  They sounded cool but it wasn’t until they pulled out Lives in the Balance that I really got back into it.  The backup singers really made this song.Somewhere in there we went back to where Don and Lisa had a blanket set up and feasted on bread and cheese with spinach dip, salmon, and strawberries.  It was easier to hear, as it was just the beer area that was chatty.The show began to wind down with some lovely sounding songs I did not know and then really picked up when he played the Pretender.  Something about the happy idiot line in the song really connected with me.  Next up as the sky turned into a blazing sunset, the band lit into a killer version of Running on Empty.  The seated crowd began slowly to rise to its feet and by the end of the song the museum was a dance party.

They quickly returned for an encore and he sat at the piano and said he did not play this one as much anymore but wanted to play it for us tonight.  He began the Load Out and I was thrilled.  I’ve always loved that song and it was the one I most wanted to hear.  It sounded great and the line about when the audience stood up how it really made the show sent tingles down my spine.  As it segued into Stay the backup singers let loose with a tour de force and wrapped up the show with perfection.

The company was great, the band were right on and the weather held out perfectly.  It was a wonderful evening and even with a slow exit from the parking lot I still made it home by 10:30.  What a night.