Jackson Browne invigorated the crowd at the Providence Performing Arts Center as he and his band delighted the audience with his large catalog of songs including some of his hits and a few lesser known selections.
Playing at the Providence Performing Arts Center is a treat in itself. The newly completed renovations of the 1928 theater are enough to take your breath away. The 3100 seat venue is the second largest theater of its kind in the country. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also ranked by Pollstar as one of the Top Venues in the world.
The interior of the PPAC is filled with art deco lighting and gold leaf decorating the walls and ceiling. So much time and heart has gone into restoring the theater to it’s early 20th century glory and it clearly shows. You’re treated to a marvelous experience by attending any show at the venue. They even went so far as laying carpet that’s an exact reproduction of the original carpeting throughout. The original main chandelier in the theater was lost to time so the board went to a local trade school and had a new one designed that was a close replica but keeping a bit of the school’s individual style.
The staff is rightfully proud of the center and very helpful to all patrons. I really can’t say anything but kudos to the entire staff and management of the Providence Performing Arts Center for providing a world class experience and the acoustics are marvelous.
Browne, Chavonne Stewart and Althea Mills made the best of those acoustics. Stewart and Mills have been backing him for many years and they harmonize beautifully together. Accompanied by his band they began with “Before the Deluge” followed by “Some Bridges.”
A sign of the times and a reflection on society and his always political nature Browne sang “The Long Way Around” after discussing the sad effects of the Parkland shooting that is still so fresh in everyone’s mind.
They did perform “Doctor My Eyes” and “You Love the Thunder.” These timeless classics never get old and no one is ever tired of hearing them live. It’s actually not a Browne concert to some fans unless these songs are trotted out. The audience knew every word and made sure Browne and the band heard that.
“These Days,” a reflective song that seems even more so now that Browne is 69 and like many others of this generation ponders over the things he’s accomplished as well as those he never managed to attain. Even though the song was written years ago it seems more fitting now.
A couple of my personal favorites showing foot stomping fun side of Browne were “Somebody’s Baby” followed by “Redneck Friend.” He’s as versatile as they come and shows that with the different types and tempos he plays during the show.
Browne sang the hits “The Pretender,” followed by “Running on Empty” which had the audience on their feet and they never sat down right through the encore songs “Take it Easy” and “Our Lady of the Well.”
Vonda Shepard opened the show and put on a wonderful performance. She is clearly talented and very strong vocally. Shepard played beautifully on the piano and I can think of no one else to better lead into Jackson Browne than Shepard. I would go to see her as a main act.