He Had Me at “Somebody’s Baby”

WC and Mrs. WC did something Saturday night they hadn’t done since early March of 2020: they went to a live concert. It reminded WC of just how badly he has missed live shows. This was a show that almost didn’t happen. Originally scheduled for June 2020, it was rescheduled to June 2021. And then rescheduled again to October 2021. It was worth the wait.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Jackson Browne, one of WC’s all-time favorite singer-songwriters, opened with “Somebody’s Baby,” his tribute to Roy Orbison and anthem to the confusion between the sexes. His second song was “Fountain of Sorrow.” Which is the very first tune on WC’s master playlist on his smart phone. If you appreciate early 1970’s rock and roll, you are already wishing you’d been there, too. And it only got better from there.

Age has been very kind to Jackson Browne. His voice is nearly unchanged; maybe a bit of loss at the very high range, but mostly indistinguishable from 50 years ago. His early unlined face and mostly dark hair would be the envy of most women. He gave us a lot of his standards and a few of his more recent, more overtly political songs. Listening to “The Pretender” took WC back to the days when a compromise was a moral quagmire, when we were all going to save the world, and the realization that we couldn’t even save ourselves. And he closed, as he always does, with “Running on Empty.” Which as readers who are Jackson Browne fans likely guessed, was the tune being played when WC grabbed the cell phone photo at the top of this post. Such a treat to see him live after all of these years.

Oh, yeah. Careful readers might have noticed the guy playing guitar behind the piano. The one in the Irish Kerry Cap?

That’s James Taylor. Did WC mention it was a double bill?

And where Jackson Browne gave WC a concert, James Taylor gave us a show. Four backup singers, very impressive stage effects and four (!) encores. And while James Taylor has often been criticized as “too white” and “Martha’s Vineyard mellow,” more than half of his songs were blues-charged rockers, including a minor-key version of “Mexico” that shook a bit of the dust out of the rafters at the arena. His version of “Steamroller Blues,” his send up of white guys covering the blues, threatened to pull down the rafters. And he managed to stutter and hiccup around the obscenity in the last verse without ever saying it, which made it even more entertaining.

Upper left: Lou Marini, Saxophonist; Upper right, Michael Landau, Guitarist; Lower right, Larry Golding, keyboards; Lower left, Henry Taylor, backing vocals (All photos Mrs. WC)

During Browne’s set, James and Jackson did a nice job sharing the lead on Browne’s “The Pretender;” Browne returned the favor near the end of Taylor’s set, sharing the lead on “Take It Easy” and Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” Their voices work well together, and they seem to be genuine friends, although Browne may have been a little less enthusiastic than Taylor about doing “just one more” encore. And Taylor closed the show with an utterly charming duet with his youngest son, Henry, performing “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

An altogether excellent evening. Not just because it had been such an incredibly long time since the last live concert. This was a pretty terrific show, even if wearing a mask through a 4.25 hour show was less than ideal (and a frustration with the 10% who weren’t masked, and another 10% who took their masks off to guzzle beer). Both Jackson Browne and James Taylor were happy to be back on the road, performing for fans and sharing what they do best: making music. The crowd was pretty happy about it, too.

Including WC and Mrs. WC.

7 thoughts on “He Had Me at “Somebody’s Baby”

  1. WC, thank you for the review of this show. We decided not to attend-we are just barely boosted & are reluctant to venture out into crowds in the Capitol City, where mask-wearing is a crapshoot. I am a lifelong Jackson Brown fan & enjoy JT also. I first saw JB perform in real life at the “Water for Life” benefit concert for the Snake River Alliance in 1978. It was in the old gymnasium at BSU, Carol King showed up to sing a few songs too. We have seen JB perform in New Mexico, Seattle, the Idaho Center in Nampa & the Outlaw Field here in Boise. I last saw JT at the BSU venue then called “Taco Bell Arena”, 31 years ago when I expecting our first child.
    I opted to stay home on Saturday night, put in my AirPods & play all of the JB & JT songs. I donated money to my friends that are running for the Boise City Council instead of purchasing two tickets. It seemed like a political contribution to help re-elect a great woman to our city council & to keep another seat in the progressive lane was prudent. I think both JB & JT would have approved of my decision. Their music is often political. I appreciate both of them for their lyrical insights & for supporting the same progressive candidates that I do on the national level. JB is an environmental advocate & I think we need to talk about climate change impacts “right here in River City”. All politics is local & it is gearing up to get more volatile here in Boise. Tell Mrs. C thanks for the photos! I am waiting for more prairie dress sports photos from the Target Dress Sisters. I volunteer to help capture them on their skis, inner tubing & ice skating this winter.


  2. You are correct – I wish I had been there. Great voices, great songs, great memories. We once attended a James Taylor concert at the Curran Theater in SF where he sang a duet with HIMSELF, the recorded voice coming from a 45rpm record on a portable phonograph at his feet. He kick-nudged the turntable to get it closer to a small mike. And he sang the obscenity on Steamroller Blues. I joined in on the final “blue-ooos” note. At least I tried…😁 Thanks.


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