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Concert Reviews:
Jackson Browne plays for everyone at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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STERLING HEIGHTS -- During the second half of his concert Friday night, June 8, in the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, Jackson Browne told the crowd that he'd reached "the point where I do what you tell me to."

It wasn't quite all-request time, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his band did bolster an already sublime performance by nimbly straddling the line between doing what they'd prepared and honoring his fans' wishes.

The shouting for particular songs began after Browne and company opened with "Some Bridges" and continued throughout much of the 25-song, nearly two and a half-hour (plus intermission) show. The 69-year-old Browne, sporting a gray shirt and black jeans, teased and chided as the suggestions came his way, though he also acknowledged "how great it feels to come here and have you call for my songs." And he did honor one fan's particularly urgent requests for "Rosie" during the first half of the concert, slipping it in between "These Days" and "For A Dancer."

Things got a bit looser during the second set, with "Love Needs A Heart" and "Late For The Sky" added to regularly scheduled program, with Browne visibly calling the audibles to the band.

Those were crowd-pleasing moments for sure. but that's hardly a deviation from what Browne -- who last played the area 10 months ago for an intimate acoustic benefit show at Detroit's Redford Theatre -- does anyway.

Backed by what he called "my favorite band," with solos throughout the night by guitarist Shane Fontayne and multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz, he offered tightly rendered hits such as "Doctor My Eyes," "Somebody's Baby," "The Pretender," "For Everyman," "You Love The Thunder" and "Running On Empty" and dug deeper into his 46-year catalog for ace material such as "The Long Way Around" (which, in one of the night's rare political comments, he dedicated "to people who have demonstrated for common sense gun legislation"), "Lives in the Balance," "Sky Blue and Black," "Looking East" and "Red Neck Friend." "The Dreamer" and "For Taking the Trouble," meanwhile, showcased backing vocalists Althea Mills and Chavonne Stewart.

Browne returned the love he was getting from the small but exuberant crowd, too, announcing "there's a renaissance going on in Detroit" and shouting out to his friend Gabriel Currie, who moved his Echopark Guitars company from California to Detroit. He recalled his many years of coming to the metro area, and even noted that the venue "looks a little like Pine Knob" from where he stood on the stage.

Browne paid homage to a couple of his late musical friends, too, covering Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money," which he produced back in 1978, and "Take It Easy," which he co-wrote with Royal Oak native Glenn Frey. The latter segued smoothly into the show-closing "Our Lady of the Well," and while the Freedom Hill crowd made it clear they would have been happy to, well, stay just a little bit longer for more, it's hard to imagine anyone leaving the show feeling anything less than satisfied.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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