Sunday, October 24, 2004

Jackson Browne at the Bridgewater

On stage alone (apart from a rck of 15 guitars and keyboards) for close on three hours, Browne sang his way passionately through a huge back-catalogue stretching back over a quarter of a century:

But it's a long way that I have come
Across the sand to find this peace among your people in the sun
Where the families work the land as they have always done
Oh it's so far the other way my country's gone
Across my home has grown the shadow
Of a cruel and senseless hand
Though in some strong hearts
The love and truth remain
(Our Lady Of The Well: his closing song)

A fortnight before the US elections, a segment of the show featured his songs of political commitment:

Don't you want to be there, don't you want to know?
Where the grace and simple truth of childhood go
Don't you want to be there when the trumpets blow
Blow for those born into hunger
Blow for those lost 'neath the train
Blow for those choking in anger
Blow for those driven insane
Don't you want to be where there's strength and love
In the place of fear
(Don't You Want To Be There)

Throughout the concert, Browne gave the impression of having no set list, seeming to respond instantly to shouted requests from the audience. But this was a probably an impression. Overall, this was a powerful and moving performance that took the audience on a generation's journey and reflected a soul still searching:

Still I look for the beauty in songs
To fill my head and lead me on
Though my dreams have come up torn and empty
As many times as love has come and gone
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say
It could be I've lost my way
Though I keep a watch over the distance
Heaven's no closer than it was yesterday
And the angels are older
They know not to wait up for the sun
They look over my shoulder
At the maps and the drawings of the journey I've begun
(Farther On)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Femi Kuti

Last night at the Phil: Femi Kuti and his tremendous afrobeat orchestra and dancers.