Jackson Browne - vocals, guitar; Jeff Pevar - guitar; Guests: David Crosby - vocals; Graham Nash - vocals
Opening with "The Next Voice You Hear," from his 1997 best-of album of the same title, folk-rock maestro and benefactor extraordinaire Jackson Browne shows up for Wavy Gravy and Seva foundation's annual fundraiser and goes beyond the call of duty in these 1998 concert highlights.
Delivering a short set of biting topical songs, accompanied by some large helpings of humility and grace (with a couple of special guests thrown in), Browne's appearance at Seva's 20th anniversary show was among the organization's most memorable events, and listening back, it's easy to hear why. Dedicating "Lights and Virtues," from his '89 album, World in Motion, to Wavy "and everybody who does this amazing work," Browne (with accompanist Jeff Pevar on guitar), otherwise glitters and glides through a quick set, despite a substantial pause to correct a tuning glitch. "Folk singers actually know how to tune their guitars" he quips. But after two false starts, Browne is forced to admit he's learned his own song wrong—and yet he does so as effortlessly as he's worn his signature hair for the last 40 years.
Welcoming David Crosby and Graham Nash to the stage to the palpable disbelief of the crowd, folk-rock's million-dollar trio sings sweet three-part harmony to Browne's "Lives in the Balance," as Pevar accompanies them, Spanish-style. There could hardly be a song more apropos to the occasion or three better voices to sing-out for Seva.
In 1978, Seva co-founder Wavy Gravy (aka Hugh Romney) began organizing rock 'n' roll benefit concerts to aid in the organization's mission to serve struggling third world communities with issues concerning health, cultural survival, and the ability to live sustainably. And when Wavy and Seva ask for help, no matter how big a star or ill-prepared you are, you grab your guitar and play for them. If you're Jackson Browne you carry a message of virtue and light in a song every night, but in this case the object lesson is "fess up and get on with the show." If only he could've staaaaaaayed just a little bit longer...