Jackson Browne Not ‘Running on Empty’


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Jackson Browne and friends played to a sold-out crowd at Shippensburg University’s Luhrs Performing Arts Center on Aug. 17.

Special guest Sara Watkins joined him in an outstanding performance that left the audience yelling for more.

Regardless if you have been a fan of Jackson Browne since he started in the mid ‘60s, or if you have only paused to enjoy his pop hits in the late ‘70s, this concert made you appreciate his larger than life talent.

He has assembled an incredible group of performers to tour with him who each bring his and her own unique gifts that add to the show.

Jackson Browne himself began the evening in an unheard of fashion by quietly walking onstage and introducing Sara Watkins respectfully and without fanfare.

For over an hour, Watkins performed an eclectic collection from her own albums, which she affectionately called “records.”

Her music could best be described as simplistically beautiful in the way she used her violin to repeat the melody of her lyrics. Watkins then drew in the crowd by turning her violin into a fiddle with some bluegrass songs from her beginnings with the Grammy award-winning band “Nickel Creek.”

She then introduced her brother who performed one of his original songs.

Watkins shared her experience touring with Browne, “I find it exciting. There’s a lot of collaboration between all the people on tour. Jackson customizes each show to be unique to the city we’re playing in,” she said.

Once Browne took the stage, the audience saw what she meant.

Jackson Browne once again quietly walked onto the stage and began his show. Without an introduction or drum roll, he sat down at the piano and began to sing.

Mesmerizing the audience from the start, Browne continued by explaining that his second song was one he wrote following the Haitian earthquake in 2010, “Standing in the Breech.”
It was a moving tribute to the resilience of people and the power everyone holds to help those in need.

He then carefully chose a guitar from one of nearly two dozen lining the side of the stage and began the portion of the show to which Watkins was referring.

After Browne performed one song, he began to introduce another when an audience member called out a request. Browne laughed and said, “OK, we’ll play that then” and did. At that point, play-lists went out the window and the show had no format.

Browne played and inlcuded his songs with amusing stories about the origin, then another request would be called out and the song would be played.

Browne occasionally would joke with an audience member or with another member of the tour.
Browne played everything from old favorites, including “Call It A Loan” (1980), “Your Bright Baby Blues,” (1976), “Running On Empty” (1977), and “The Pretender” (1976), to newer songs such as “Live Nude Cabaret” (2008), and “Love Needs a Heart” (2008). After more than two hours. Browne took the stage for an encore playing the crowd-pleaser “Take It Easy.”

The evening was an intimate, amusing and entertaining experience.


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