A familiar voice from better days took center stage Friday night at Pechanga Resort & Casino when iconic singer/songwriter Jackson Browne performed before a sold-out crowd.
Defying time with ageless vocals and the same slender frame and signature brown locks for which he is known, Browne took his sweet time with a performance that stretched over a two hour span.
Understated and unassuming, he stepped onto the stage and slipped into a slew of deeper tracks and a few fan favorites accompanied by just a trio drums, guitar and piano.
Seated for most of the show and choosing from an impressive collection of acoustic guitars, the performance had the relaxed vibe of a spontaneous jam session — the kind where real music dances in the room and lyrics linger in your soul.
Browne stood for just two songs — “Running on Empty” and Take It Easy” — and the audience stood and sang with him.
From anthems to ballads, Browne aimed to please, securing an easy rapport with a rambunctious crowd that called out for their favorites tunes.
“When I have people call out songs they want to hear, what happens is, I kind of wanna play them,” Browne said to rousing cheers.
And he did. But, ultimately, he pulled together a mostly mellow, eclectic grouping of pieces of his choosing– new and old.
Highlights included “Sky Blue and Black,” “Before the Deluge” and a beautifully cadenced “These Days.”
And among the favorites were the soulful jam of “Lives in the Balance” and the haunting harmonies of the acoustic duet with Val McCallum of “Call It a Loan.”
Missing were songs like “Doctor My Eyes” and “Tender is the Night,” but it’s fair to say the audience got it’s money’s worth as Browne took his time with each tune, spinning and riffing, drawing out every line and melodious note.
And with a songbook as vast and varied as Browne’s, there was something for everyone.
For a look at future concerts at Pechanga Resort & Casino, visit www.pechanga.com.
Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at Southwest Riverside News Network. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.