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Review: Jackson Browne at Hall One, Sage Gateshead

American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne gave an impressive and moving performance in Sage Gateshead's Hall One reveals Martin Ellis

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Jackson Browne has announced a clutch of UK dates including one at Sage Gateshead on November 20
Jackson Browne has announced a clutch of UK dates including one at Sage Gateshead on November 20

The American singer-songwriter – and superstar, some would say – started his career in the 1960s, cutting his teeth in New York’s Greenwich Village and in California.

Jackson Browne’s 1970s albums brought international commercial success and over the following decades he has maintained his reputation as a premier league songwriter and high profile environmentalist.

The opening part of the first set included many reflective songs, some related to his childhood and how he saw the world when he was growing-up.

Hall One was filled to the rafters, the audience listened attentively and Browne shared his feelings. “I am feeling a bit shy,” he said. “ Don’t know why.”

He went on to say that some artists, like Bob Dylan, never speak to the audience and sometimes he listens to his concert recordings and thinks that he says too much.

After commenting that everything was too quiet, people started calling out requests from Browne’s huge back catalogue.

I had heard that some members of his usual touring band were not with him this time as they were already involved in other tours.

But this backing band was tremendous, sympathetically enhancing Browne’s guitar and piano. I particularly enjoyed the keyboard player’s delicate accompaniment.

One of the strengths of Jackson Browne’s songwriting is his clarity. He is a passionate environmentalist and his message is clear: “They say nothing lasts forever… all the plastic made is still here...”

He finished his second set with Running On Empty and then returned with Take It Easy for an encore.

Both audience and seemingly Browne himself were delighted when he was allowed to perform a second encore. For A Dancer had people in tears.

Shyness apparently having abated, Browne told us how much he enjoyed the view of the bridges and the river from his hotel room.

Clearly he enjoyed his visit to Tyneside. For his audience it meant a moving and impressive performance.

Martin Ellis

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