A few thoughts on Jackson Browne’s concert Friday night at the sold-out State Theatre:
*He may sing about “Fountain of Sorrow” (which was the night’s highlight) but he clearly visits the Fountain of Youth. He still looks the same – same hairdo (looking like he was supposed to get a haircut two weeks ago), same figure, same untucked dress shirt and jeans. Let me repeat: He looks the same at 65 as he did when he was 24 and released his first album. His voice has the same timbre, though he takes some songs in a lower key.
* He was in good voice at the State. Remember in 2011, he postponed his State Theatre gig a few weeks because of problems with his vocal cords.
* The first of two sets on Friday lasted only 55 minutes. The promised 15- or 20-minute intermission stretched to 40 minutes. The second set ran 75 minutes. He played 22 songs total.
* With a row of 20-some guitars (some acoustic, some electric) lined up behind him, Browne opted to play piano a lot. He worked without a set list and occasionally accommodated requests shouted by fans (“I’m a recovering people pleaser,” he joked). Despite the unplanned repertoire, the set had a nice flow, partly because Browne was intermittently talkative and often funny (whether making fun of himself or his stepfather).
* After giving a long explanation how he had to watch a movie 20 times before writing a song to be played over the closing credits (he never mentioned the movie’s title but it was 2009’s “Shrink” with Kevin Spacey), he started playing the song and after a few lines, he decided picking with his thumb wouldn’t work. So the Rock Hall of Famer stopped, picked up a guitar pick and started “Here” all over again.
* Browne really likes the State Theatre. He told the crowd that a couple of times and even reminisced about receiving one of the guitars he was playing in the wings of the State from the late Minnesota guitar-maker Roger Benedict (whose company carries on).
* Browne praised the MSP Airport, noting that not all airports have a French Meadow Bakery. Travel tip duly noted.
Set 1: I’ll Do Anything/ Sky Blue and Black/ Looking into You/ Looking East/ I’m Alive/ Something Fine/ Leaving Winslow (new song) / In the Shape of a Heart/ Rock Me on the Water
Set 2: For a Dancer/ Here (from the 2009 movie “Shrink”)/ Your Bright Baby Blues/ Birds of St. Mark/ Fountain of Sorrow/ The Fairest of the Seasons/ Rosie/ Shaky Town/ Doctor My Eyes (Browne on piano, Manny Alvarez on guitar)/ Late for the Sky/ I Am a Patriot (Steve Van Zandt song)/ Running on Empty ENCORE The Pretender