James Taylor and Jackson Browne put on a satisfying show for Columbus fans

James Taylor and Jackson Browne’s calming concert at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night offered a gripping study of different ways to grow after achieving success as a singer-songwriter 50 years ago.

Browne, who is still best known for his songs from the early ’70s and albums such as “Late for the Sky”, worked in a well-worn groove. It stayed with a standard rock setup with the additional steering wheel of three backing singers, which added depth to Browne’s sometimes crisp and hoarse vocals.

Performing an unhurried set in front of a calm audience firmly planted in their chairs, Browne alternated between familiar hits such as “Fountain of Sorrow” and “Doctor My Eyes” and more recent, more didactic numbers such as his title song. new album, “Down Anywhere.”

Jackson Browne has stayed true to his folk-rock style.

Frequently stopping to discuss, for example, that returning to places inspired memories he dared not explain, Browne kept the vibe mellow and strayed little from the length or the standard instrumentation of the songs he presented. Although he occasionally stopped to introduce the band members, the spotlight was firmly on him, as the songwriter and subject of the songs, throughout the set.

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The audience’s pace and enthusiasm picked up a bit when Browne was joined by Taylor at the end of filming on “The Pretender,” a song the two cheered each other on and allowed for playful variations on the familiar. . Taylor stuck around for “Running on Empty,” stepping into the shadows to sing the backup.

When Taylor returned to the limelight after an intermission, he did so in the company of what he calls, with little exaggeration, his “All-Star Band”.

Viewers may have been agitated as they listened to his leisurely introductions to the many, many band members over the course of the evening, but these musicians were what made the Taylor segment of the evening so richly rewarding and added variety even. to the most familiar numbers. .

Taylor, who recently released a standards album, including one of the more obscure, “Easy As Rollin ‘Off a Log”, which he played at the concert, clearly tried to keep his voice as supple as ever. , and she stayed like any other instrument in her band.

While most of the material inevitably matched what audiences expected and wanted, Taylor kept the set tempo varied.

Sometimes he would stick with a simple approach, sitting on a stool to sing the classics “Sweet Baby James” and “Fire and Rain” as they appeared on the original recording.

But often he would pull out the spotlight and allow other musicians, or his five backing singers, to show their stuff, allowing the music to soar in surprising directions.

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While Taylor started out in the folk-rock lore – a tradition Browne still adheres to – over the past few decades he has shifted towards blues and jazz, even giving what is clearly a carefully structured show a feel. improvisation. Her playfully hokey take on “Steamroller,” scat chant and all, is a playful example.

Twice postponed, this concert has scratched those who have been waiting for more than a year to hear the two singer-songwriters in concert. While it may have been more rewarding than electrifying, there were more than enough memorable moments to keep spectators happy from the concert until the next tour.

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