Jackson Browne, Royal Albert Hall, review: A concert of Bruce Springsteen proportions

It's a privilege to witness this epic experience

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The Independent Culture

“This is one we haven't been playing on tour,” maintains Jackson Browne veering off setlist with the characteristically poignant “Late for the Sky”, from the Californian's 1974 tour de force of the same name.

The 66-year-old songwriter generously treats us to a concert of Bruce Springsteen proportions (more than three hours), in which new material from this year's robust Standing in the Breach blends seamlessly with his enviable back catalogue.

Affecting new songs “The Long Time Around” and “Leaving Winslow” (on which he pleads “I figure I'll be doing some disappearing myself”) stand up well against enduring Seventies laments “These Days” (written when he was just 16) and “Fountain of Sorrow”, and the rousing anthem “Running on Empty”, which is sort of Browne's “Born to Run”.

However, it's “Sky Blue and Black” from 1993's I'll Alive that is the surprise stand out, with Browne's exquisitely cracked voice bringing a restrained (apart from the repeated song requests) audience to its feet.    

Browne, who is admirably still engaged in climate change activism, throws in some barbed comments (“the world is ailing because of the way we do business”), but in the main this as sumptuously laid-back as it comes, save for some searing guitar solos from the exceptional Val McCallum. It's a privilege to witness this epic experience.

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