Tuesday, February 5, 2013


       "It was just a stupid mistake" Jackson Browne said about not being quoted in a recent piece in the San Luis Obispo Tribune detailing his 1981 involvement and arrest at an anti nuclear protest at Diablo Canyon.
       "The article made it sound like I've lost interest. That is absolutely not the case" he told an enthusiastic and adoring full house at the Cohan Center on the Cal Poly campus.
Photo by Ken Chen San Luis Obispo Tribune 1981-printed again 3 February 2013
     Browne said he would have welcomed the opportunity to tell about his continuing involvement with MUSE and
      The Tribune piece included an old quote that implied Jackson was no longer an activist on the issue.
    Many in the Cohan Center audience applauded as he said   
 it was a victory of sorts that no new nuclear plants had been built in more than 30 years.  
    He acknowledged that some 17 hundred people in the San Luis Obispo area worked at Diablo Canyon, still he said nuclear energy is unsafe and creates continuing problems. 
   "No more nukes, y'all" he said after his few minutes of commentary.
Seems like Jackson's PR firm missed a chance
    I've seen Browne several times over the years and am always impressed by his lyrical power. He is a marvelous troubadour. As Lana said on the way out of the hall "...his poetry truly captures our age and hearts."
    He is also a great performer both as musician and singer.
His work on piano and on several of the almost 20 guitars he had on stage is still that of a virtuoso.
     Five large oriental rugs lined the playing area and he alternated between sitting while playing the guitar and the piano. It provided an intimate, house concert feel.
     But he also rocked the hall and had a couple of friends who helped blow the place away. Val McCallum  was killer on guitar.  He also performed his hauntingly rich and textured Tokyo Girl. Taylor Goldsmith of DAWES contributed mightily on keyboard, guitar and vocals.  
    Browne told the audience that Dawes is his favorite band now and that having Goldsmith play has been a bonus since he was on "a bus man's holiday" waiting for the release of their new album.  Goldsmith premiered his new FIRE AWAY and with Browne and McCallum they created a musical charge that electrified the hall.  Fire Away will do very well.
    The house was full of Browne fans and there was a continuing chorus of call outs for tunes.  Finally Browne abandoned the set list and moved through a pastiche of his decades of music and the time flew by.  There was no opening act and the group took a short break and still ran out of time.  Browne thanked the promoter and hall management for permitting them to play overtime.  Showtime was 7:30 and we left the hall around 11:00.
     During the evening he told of being a youngster who'd hitchhike up to the Central Coast. 
     "This is the most beautiful part of California.  My dad called it Steinbeck country.  Mom would drop us off outside Ventura and we'd start up Highway 1. That's when the fun started."
     He told about attending a concert a couple of years ago
at the Cohan where he was told about a flamenco guitar maker from Nipomo, just south of here.
     "I've got a couple of his guitars now," he chuckled.
Browne has spent a lot of time here and he sprinkled a few of those memories and anecdotes through out the evening. It was apparent to him that he was not only among fans, but with friends and California neighbors as well.
     Jackson Browne on the Central Coast where spring comes early and memories are continually being made.  
The first blooms-oxalis in our green winter.
        During the short break I was looking out the angled windows of the modern designed Cohan over looking part of the Cal Poly campus.  People around me were in rapture of the music, others were discussing the local wine being sold while I was lost in a reverie of my own early Highway 1 memories.  I saw something a little wobbly out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to see a young man zipping his way along the bike lane on a unicycle, with a head lamp around his head like a headband.
    As Browne had said a few minutes earlier  "California, it's all good!"
    See you down the trail.

1 comment:

  1. In the museum at Yosemite there is a 1914 Indian motorcycle in a glass case. A fellow had driven it to the park in 1914, he was turned away at the entrance. He left it and toured the park by other means. A few years later he joined the Army in WW1, he took the cycle apart so his mother wouldn't sell it. He didn't put it back together until 1965, he then donated it to the park. It was the first motorcycle ridden on the (then) gravel roads to Yosemite and now it's part of history, "How California" indeed!