Jackson Browne Provides a Captivating Look Back

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 9, 2010

The internet is mainly focused on today — what’s new, hot and trending.  But sometimes I’m surfing online and I’m hit with a blast from the past.  That happened tonight.  I was searching on YouTube for a funny video to pair with a post that I was mulling, when I came across a vintage clip of the great Jackson Browne performing live in London.  It reminded me of a piece of my history that took place years ago, but yet it seems like yesterday.

The song is the unforgettable The Load Out/Stay — a 7-minute  performance that starts out as a ballad with Browne playing the piano and singing about life on the road.

Browne seems to effortlessly capture his mixed feelings about living                 the performer’s vagabond life during the first half of the song and then he morphs into Stay and the rest of his band comes alive on stage.

From the second I hit the play arrow I was captivated.  Filmed in 1978, the performance is vintage Browne with his distinctive voice, the trademark hair and a style that makes it all look so easy.  In the video, he’s a young, energetic singer who is obviously enjoying every minute of being in the spotlight.

Watching the performance I was cast back through the decades to April 1978 when I was in the audience with my girlfriends to see Browne perform in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Still in college, I vaguely recall that we made the 100-plus mile trip to the Twin Cities in my best friend’s beat-up Ford.  Her car had an 8-track player and we probably listened to Jackson tapes on the trip.  It’s a long time ago and I don’t recall all of the evenings events.

I do remember that I had borrowed my Dad’s expensive hunting binoculars and they were wicked heavy in their leather molded case.  I’m sure that I had the glasses because the memory of finding a close-up view of Jackson Browne through those powerful lenses came flooding back to me as I watched the video.

I probably felt an out-of-body experience at the concert, much like I felt tonight.  The video had transported me to a time, place and experience of decades past and I couldn’t stop watching Jackson Browne as he sang right to me 32 years ago.  I felt a chill and a thrill remembering those feelings that I felt so deeply so very long ago.  A lot has happened since that April evening of my youth, but it is nice to reach back in time to know that I can still be touched and moved by the music.

Spend a few minutes with Jackson.

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