Skip to content

Jackson Browne At the Beacon Theater, Saturday, August 4th, 2012, Reviewed

From deep in the cheapseats looking down at the softly lit stage of the Beacon Theater Saturday night, it was as if time had chosen to freeze Jackson Browne. The SoCal singer songwriter in the same visage he has had since the 1960s: long thick straight hair, trim and fit, chick magnet with a sensitive side and as many gifts at losing a girl as at picking one up. His voice is still a beautiful, full, instrument, his persona a laid back California bemused by us New Yorkers, "always keeping things real by playing the clown". An L.A. James Taylor without the drugs (coke? sure -junk? I don't think so) but  plagued by self-doubt that riddles his song. A friend of mine who knows him claims he has masochistic tendencies. Perhaps that's why his languor is so apologetic in tone and, why, for a New York audience, he is a touch too laid back.

To put it another way: the sets a touch on the boring side, but only a touch. Essentially, he plays half songs readied for the tour, and half songs on the spur of the moment based upon audience requests, but  despite the depth of his catalog, he doesn't go that deeply in. Two thirds romantic, one third political dystopias, all so melodic and gracefully written, they can feel extremely diffident to a rock fan. With a six piece backing band, he leaves the majority off stage for much of the year, and let's them roar twice, once at the end of the set and once at the end of the encore. . That's what you get when you leave your "Red Neck Friend" in your pants!

Three of the first four songs are politics a la Cali, and all of them and beautiful but sleepy. Only a perfect (actually everything is played and sang perfectly) "I'm Alive" saves the first 20 minutes from wrecking the entire set. there is no doubt Jackson knows this, he has been playing the PDs all tour: We might not want another song about Haiti but want it or not here is the pretty "Standing In The Breach" a call to the usual crap we are being called to.

But after that, Browne is in control, and as he dithers between piano and guitar, trying to decide what to play next, not cruise control, it is the theater of the real.  We get For both "Everyman" and  "A Ballerina and "These Days" , and "The Late Show". From the first album,  "A Child Of These Hills",  which Jackson explains, "Is about being in New York and missing home, though I didn't know it at the time" and includes a gorgeous harp outro by Val McCallum.  And "Looking Into You" also off the first album. No "My Stunning Mystery Companion" 

The evening ends with three sure shots, "running On Empty", "The Pretender" and "Take It Easy"-giving the set a full head of steam as we head for the exists even if "Live Nude Cabaret" is the musical highlight. Jackson introduces the latter as being about "Obsessive reverence for the female form" and features the full band in a groove and opening performer  Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins  stellar fiddling.

In retrospect, I enjoyed the two hour set more than I did at the time. Browne is timeless but sometimes he makes time standstill and sometimes he makes it rush past you, Saturday night, I was very bored when the times stood still, but certainly by the 45 minutes he had it down. "Here on stage, we fell a little uncomfortable when we visit New York", Browne explained at the end of the "But you have made us so welcome". I am not sure if he was quite uncomfortable, he didn't seem ill at ease, the uncertainty was more the spur of the moment kick of improvisation. "Don't let the uncertainty turn you around", Jackson sang to us.

He certainly didn't.

Grade: B+


  1. MARCIA G LUSSIER on April 16, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    Just curious. A native friend just told me that he was on stage playing a song called Indian wars at this concert. I am questioning whether or not it is true. I am thinking it probably isn’t. Wondering if you would have remembered it.

    • Iman Lababedi on April 17, 2022 at 3:32 am

      Black and White
      Standing in the Breach
      Call It a Loan
      I’m Alive
      Looking East
      These Days
      For Everyman
      For a Dancer
      A Child in These Hills
      Tokyo Girl
      (Val McCallum cover)
      The Barricades of Heaven
      Looking Into You
      Live Nude Cabaret
      The Late Show
      I’ll Do Anything
      Running on Empty

      The Pretender
      Take It Easy

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

The Daisy Jopling Band To Perform “Who’s Who” At The Transfiguration Church In Tarrytown, NY Sunday May 12th, 2024 7 PM ET

By admin | May 9, 2024 |

The Transfiguration Church in Tarrytown, New York Presents “Who’s Who”, original violin arrangements of iconic songs by The Who performed by the Daisy Jopling Band featuring the Sleepy Hollow High School Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, May 12th, 2024. Location: Transfiguration Church 268 South Broadway Tarrytown, NY 10591 United States Tickets are $25 and can be…

Cyborg Drummer/DJ DRMAGDN Headlining Montauk Music Fest

By admin | April 9, 2024 |

Major Label BMG Records Artist & Producer DRMAGDN Cyborg Drummer / DJ will be making his Montauk Music Fest debut this year in May. DRMAGDN will be the Official Host & MC of The Montauk Music Fest plus play headlining sets on Friday 5/17 and Saturday 5/18 from 10pm-12am at Gurney’s Montauk Resort (290 Old…

RED CARPET EVENT @ Chelsea Table & Stage 4/12/24 Featuring THE AMERICAN RELICS & DRMAGDN

By admin | March 25, 2024 |

On Friday April 12th, 2024 beginning at 6:30 pm ET  there will be a Red Carpet event pre-show sponsored by Tribeca Records at the trendy nightspot Chelsea Table and Stage located in the heart of Chelsea at 152 west 26th street (inside the Hilton Fashion Hotel) in NYC. The Red Carpet will be followed by…

Live Review: Composer Randy Edelman Live at Chelsea T&S “2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Massacre” 03/16/24 and Record Release in NYC

By admin | March 17, 2024 |

There was an infinite vitality of velvet green flowing deliciously through the air as Composer Randy Edelman presented his 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Massacre at the trendy new nightspot Chelsea Table & Stage in the heart of NYC on March 16, 2024….. a vivacious close to the spirited Irish Parade. His music is the…

DRMAGDN: Cyborg Drummer/DJ Debuts @ Chelsea T&S With Retro 80’s Party & Red Carpet Event 4/12/24

By admin | February 29, 2024 |

BMG recording artist, producer and World renowned, Global Touring Electrifying Powerhouse, DRMAGDN: Cyborg Drummer and DJ will make his debut at the popular, trendy night spot Chelsea Table & Stage (located at 152 west 26th street inside the Hilton Hotel) on  Friday April 12, 2024 @ 9:00PM. DRMAGDN will be celebrating his high energy brand of Electronic Dance Music (EDM)…

Going Steady: New Singles 2-23-24- 2-29-24 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | February 26, 2024 |

dance pop, gooey confection

US Top Ten Albums Tracking 2-16-24 – 2-22-24

By Iman Lababedi | February 26, 2024 |

75K EAUs is abysmal

Our Friend Tony Orlando’s Farewell Tour

By admin | February 25, 2024 |

“I still hit the ball, I just can’t run the bases!!!”

Sneak Peaks: New Album releases 3-1-24 – 3-7-24

By Iman Lababedi | February 25, 2024 |

contenders for the best punk rock around

Child Bite, Lamb Of God, Pantera At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, February 22nd, 2024, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | February 25, 2024 |

A three hours of hard rock, metal not metal, swift, loud, egoless pure metal

Scroll To Top