I won't say that I've been to hundreds of concerts over the years, but I've been to a few. I can say that I've never been to a concert like Jackson Browne's concert at the Ryman Saturday night. On the stage sat a piano and 15 guitars lined up side by side. And it was just Jackson Browne on vocals. No backups. No special guests. And the Ryman was so quiet and perfectly still during the songs, hanging on every word and note.
After his opening These Days, he said, "You know, I don't have a set planned for tonight. I'm just going to play whatever." That's when the "requests" started pouring in from the audience. Several people would yell out song titles, he'd decide which one he wanted to play, then he'd play it. He said he did have two rules he would abide by - whenever someone requested Running on Empty, he'd play it immediately; and if someone requested a really obscure song that he was particularly fond of, he's play it over any other requests.
I'll have to admit there were a couple of songs I wasn't familiar with. One of the men sitting beside us knew more about Jackson Browne than probably anyone else on earth. He yelled out My Stunning Mystery Companion. Jackson looked up our way and said, "Wow, that's a great request. I wasn't expecting that." He was right, it was a great song.
Thre were three songs I really wanted to hear - Doctor My Eyes, The Pretender, and Rosie. He played all three in a row right before intermission. And if the concert had ended there, I wouldn't have been disappointed. My other favorite song of the night was My Redneck Friend.
He closed the night with Take it Easy (which he co-wrote with Glen Frey and let the Eagles record it first), Somebody's Baby and Running on Empty.
And his fans left there feeling anything but empty.....