Jackson Browne - guitar, lead vocals; Scott Thurston - piano; Mark Shark - guitar; Jorge Calderón - bass, vocals; Chad Cromwell - drums; Wally Ingram - percussion;; Guests:; David Lindley - guitar (on track 2); Bonnie Raitt - guitar, vocals (on tracks 11, 12 & 13)
"Don't let 'em tell you the cold war's over," said Jackson Browne at the top of his set, on the day after his 44th birthday in 1992, as he launched into "Soldier of Plenty." Browne is a born freedom singer and humanitarian, and through the years, he's sung out for various causes, from political to environmental. On this occasion, he raised his voice in favor of indigenous peoples for All Our Colors: The Good Road Concert, A Benefit for the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders & Youth. Part of a two-day event at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California commemorating 500 years of survival of the native peoples of the western hemisphere, the weekend featured names like Steve Miller, Ry Cooder and Santana, along with a traditional pow wow and music by indigenous artists.
As for Browne's contribution, he mostly concentrated on material from his Lives in the Balance and World in Motion albums, while throwing in some timeless old favorites. Browne was redefining himself in this period of his career as more of an activist than earnest singer-songwriter, though the personal "In the Shape of a Heart," one of three singles from Lives in the Balance, is one of his most tragic relationship songs.
Several older classics like "Before The Deluge" and "The Pretender" bookend this set, but the focus is clearly on newer material, including "I'm Alive," a song destined for the title track of Browne's next album, on which David Lindley lends a hand. Bonnie Raitt is also welcomed to the stage for the socially conscious "World in Motion," which Browne notes was also cut by gospel giant, Pops Staples. Mark Shark of John Trudell's band is another strong presence, best heard on lead guitar during "Here Comes Those Tears Again," while Raitt sticks around to belt out some vocal parts. Browne also combines the personal and cultural with the Latino sights and sounds of "Lawless Avenues," a song he wrote with his friend Jorge Calderón, "on loan from David Lindley, Ry Cooder, and CSN," according to Browne.
"Long on hunger, short on joy…" sings Browne in "Solider of Plenty." His words could just as easily be sung to America's poverty-stricken tribes today as they were back in 1992. Unfortunately some things haven't changed but, luckily, Browne's still with us, taking it in, writing it down, and singing it out in the name of peace and equality. Somebody's gotta do it, and on this night, Browne as usual, does it quite well.