27 August 2009

Jackson Browne Rocked Red Rocks: Putting Myself in Harmony’s Way

We support the arts. The arts support us.

Sorry for the lame photo, but here's my iPhone's view
from Red Rocks Row 5,26 August 2009:
Jackson Browne and his badass band.

"...and the river opens for the righteous.
And the river opens for the righteous.
And the river opens for the righteous. Someday."
-- Jackson Browne, "I Am a Patriot"

"Righteousness strikes the harmony chords of truth, and the melody vibrates throughout the cosmos, even to the recognition of the Infinite."

Musicians are magicians, in my mind. These gifted people walk on stage, pick up instruments that often amount to inanimate bits of wood and metal and string; and they make music. Jackson Browne’s band polished smooth the songs time has not conquered: “The Pretender,” “For a Dancer,” “In the Shape of a Heart.” These minstrels rocked the rocks. What we see and hear seems seamless, almost effortless. What we don’t often see or hear are rehearsals. We don’t often stop to think how much these people must have practiced their craft to hone it to art.

Jackson Browne is one of my heroes artistically and politically.

And when the singer-songwriter strolled onto Red Rocks’ stage last night, I couldn't help rising from my seat in the 5th row and waving an unbridled giggly groupie girl welcome—my right arm fully extended skyward, all wiggly in my wrist and fingers, all smile on my face. Behind my old Raybans and under a bandana covering my crown chakra, I felt sufficiently shielded from the minstrel's considerably brilliant starpower.

Maybe I imagined it, but Jackson Browne seemed to see me.

Probably all his fans feel that way. But really, he had just reached center stage and gotten into his guitar, and he looked my way and lifted his chin and lengthened his neck a little as if to acknowledge my greeting. I have to admit, I was twitterpated because, for me, Jackson Browne is more than a hero: He’s a muse.

His music mesmerized, thanks, in part, to a romantic evening under a star-spangled sky decorated with a rising half-moon. Rising to our feet, an almost sold-out audience grooved to old hit songs and new songs swelling in the natural amphitheatre between Ship Rock and Cathedral Rock. Jackson acknowledged, “There aren’t too many places like this.”

I'm so grateful to have received the gift of Jackson Browne’s inspired and inspiring music in such a sublime setting as Red Rocks--felt like a holy birthday gift to me one day after I turned 49.

Jackson aimed no direct jabs at John McCain/Republican music thieves.

I appreciate that Jackson, to his classy credit, did not utter a word about his recent lawsuit settlement with John McCain and the Republicans over their infringement of his copyright on his hit tune “Running on Empty.” The band just broke into the number, which forevermore shall be an anthem to artists’ rights to their intellectual property.

A concert at Red Rocks always presents a pilgrimage.

You have to make more of an effort to get there—and to get out of there after nightfall without falling. Like so much in life, the rewards are commensurate. I went to the concert with no expectations: Jackson’s catalog all pretty much pleases me. The set list showed off the band, the lyrics, and Jackson’s still-sound vocals sensationally enhanced by this tour's addition of two soulful back-up singers who put us all in harmony’s way. Jackson Browne and his band walk the talk when then “go out and make a joyful sound.”

Check out my Denver Post article on Jackson Browne and take my 70s rock quiz!

Music unites us all, puts us in harmony's way.

Music allows us to share a vibration. Literally, scientifically, that's what music is: a vibration. That's why live music can move us in ways that even the best sound systems will not. Live music is just that: living. Music is humanity at a high point.

Which is why I always feel good about purchasing CDs in a record store or even buying music online. As Jackson Browne pointed out recently in his Associated Press statement after his successful lawsuit settlement against the Republicans for copyright infringement, if we don't support artists, they won't be able to make a living creating art--and all of us will lose.

Why are outdoor concerts especially cosmic?

AND because as anybody who's gotten into the groove of a really great concert knows, there's special mystery and magic inherent in being part of a shared experience like Jackson Browne's recent gig at Red Rocks, here's a link to my piece the Post published on music therapy and the value of outdoor concerts.

Other recent concerts I've enjoyed indoors and out:
• Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Pepsi Center, Denver
• Colorado Symphony at Fiddler's Green, Denver
• Chicago Symphony at Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavillion in Chicago
• Jon Chandler and the Wichitones & Cowboy Classic bands, Lakewood Cultural Center
• Dakota Blonde at Nissi's, Lafayette, Colorado
• Rod Stewart at Fiddler's Green, Denver
• Jimmy Buffet at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City
• Robert Cray at Civic Center Park in Denver

"Let the music keep our spirits high." -- Jackson Browne, "Before the Deluge"

We support the arts. The arts support us.

Pass it on!


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