OK, I admit it. Martha and I rushed the stage like a couple of 16 year olds during the final set of Jackson Browne’s concert last night in Amsterdam, and barged our way shamelessly to the front. And I mean THE front. Hey guy with an original “Saturate Before Using” t-shirt, we’re sorry about those toes…
Who could resist? “For a Dancer” performed acapella with Venice, ” Lives in the Balance” restored to his set on request of his son Ethan (“If ever there was a time to be a protest singer, I guess now would be a good time…”), Steve van Zandt’s “I am a Patriot” pulling the crowd into the heart of the moment and, of course, the set pieces that either were or weren’t on the playlist to begin with, but were when Jackson shifted the river of the music at audience request.
Chavonne Morris and Alethea Mills stole the show in a couple places. The whole band had lightning in their pockets, and thunder in their shoes, though I could have done without some of Mark Goldenberg’s seemingly cross-modal guitar noodling early in the show. “Nervous and intrusive” is how Tjan puts it, and Tjan is right.
I heard Take it Easy, Doctor my Eyes, Barricades of Heaven, Tender is the Night, Running on Empty, the Pretender, Rosie, These Days, Something Fine, Time the Conqueror, Live nude cabaret, Off of Wonderland, Going down to Cuba, and the ever-audience-beloved-close-out, Stay.
I’m sure someone will post a full and ordered playlist, but I went to this concert without the minidisk recorder, without the camera, and didn’t take notes. The last time I did that, I found myself so distracted with making a record of the event, I think I missed a good deal of the event. This was a concert to be lived in. Jackson made mention at one point that he hated looking out onto a sea of cell phones and cameras. “We came a long way to be here with you, and it would be nice if you could be here too.” Well, there you go — that “same wavelength” thing.
And that is part of what makes Jackson a Rock 2.0 singer. His concerts are participatory. He watches, he listens, he takes suggestions, he responds to his audience. He chats. In fact, he chatted last night about a difference that Marth and I had noted many times, and talked about on the way in to the show — the difference between a Dylan and a Jackson concert. Jackson rapped a bit about how he went to see Bob, and the guy never said a word during the entire event, other than to walk out on stage at the end and make a shrugging gesture. Or how Van Morrisson will turn his back to the audience for 30 minutes. This was classic Jackson chat — it wasn’t mean, it was sweet and self deprecating, coming back to a “So what’s wrong with me?” note.
Not a thing, man. Not a thing.