James Taylor and Jackson Browne at the Pechanga Arena

If there’s such a thing as a perfect tour it would be James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Taylor and Browne stopped at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, CA Monday night (11/1). The Pechanga Arena (formerly San Diego Sports Arena) will celebrate its 55th anniversary on the 17th and it has a lot of history in both the music and sports worlds.

The arena hosted the San Diego Clippers (1978-84), the SD Aztecs (1966-97), and since 2015 ice hockey team SD Gulls, indoor soccer team SD Sockers 2, indoor football team SD Strike Force, lacrosse team SD Seals, and has hosted tennis events and roller hockey. The walls of the venue like the Forum highlight various concerts and sporting events over the years there. Just to name a few bands that played the arena were Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Elvis Presley, and Nirvana.

When it comes to singer-songwriters Taylor and Browne have been two of the biggest over the last 50 years. Coming from an era with artists like The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Warren Zevon, and Carole King, Browne and Taylor left a big impact on the singer-songwriter sound of the late 60s and early 70s. This tour runs all the way through mid- December in the U.S. followed by Taylor’s European and U.K. tour through March 2022 then joined by Browne for a Canadian tour which goes all the way through May. Both Browne and Taylor have been inducted into both the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Next year it’ll be 50 years since Jackson Browne released his debut album, but his career goes back six years before that, writing a hit for Nico from the Velvet Underground at the age of 16. Browne was a writer and short-term member of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and with his help the Eagles landed their Top 40 hit for “Take It Easy. Browne’s debut album spawned another two Top 40 hits “Doctor My Eyes,”, and “Rock Me on the Water.” It was Browne’s third album, Late for the Sky that landed his first Grammy nomination which was for “Album of the Year.” His next album The Pretender was his first to make the Top 5, but it was his fifth album Running On Empty that was his best selling album going 7x Platinum. Lastly Hold Out, his 6th release, went to number 1. Browne’s following nine albums after that over the last 41 years were charted between 8 and 86. From releasing a new album nearly every year for his first five albums, Browne has only released four albums the past two decades. Browne’s latest album Downhill from Everywhere released three months ago was his first release in seven years. Browne is a seven time Grammy nominee.

Browne opened with a song he happened to write in San Diego, “Somebody’s Baby,” which he mentioned it being in the 80’s classic film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Browne’s set was just an hour so he tried to fit as many hits as he could in 11 songs. Taylor joined Browne for his last two songs which were The Pretender and Running On Empty. Back in March of 2020, Browne was one of the first major artists to be Covid Positive, and thankfully his vocals are still great and still putting on a show like he always does.

His “All Star Band” really is an all star band with session greats Michael Landau (Guitar) Steve Gadd (Drums), Jimmy Johnson (Bass), Walt Fowler (Trumpet), ‘Blue’ Lou Marini (Sax), Larry Goldings (Keys), and Michito Sanchez (Percussion) There are also four backing vocalists including Taylor’s son Henry, Kate Markowitz, Andrew McCuller, Dorian Holley, and Andrea Zonn who doubled as the fiddle player and a back-up singer. The show opened with just Zonn and Gadd playing together following a video montage of different artists singing Taylor classics and a photo slideshow. There was a curtain over the middle of the stage with a projection on it before Taylor and the rest of the band came out. This led into the opening song “Country Road.”

Taylor played a total of 17 songs including many hits like “Copperline,” “Mexico,” and “Steamroller.” “Steamroller featured Landau on one unforgettable guitar solo. Whenever I hear that song I think of James Taylor playing it at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival with Joe Walsh. This was my first time seeing Taylor since his 2010 Troubadour reunion tour with Carole King which featured the band he used in the early days. This was my first time seeing a regular Taylor show. The visuals were spectacular with the giant screen above the stage which changed each song.

During the encore, Browne joined Taylor for The Eagles’ “Take It Easy,” which Browne performed at the Grammys in 2016 with the Eagles as tribute to Glenn Frey who had just passed before the awards took place. Browne also performed Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend,” with Taylor. King and Taylor played a historic show together at the Troubadour in 1970 which they reprised in honor of the venue’s 50th birthday in 2007 and for the 40th anniversary of the show played a whole tour. King was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame for the second time this past weekend. Taylor and his son Henry finished the show together with “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

Taylor has been nominated for 19 Grammys and won 6 on top of being a Kennedy Center honoree, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, MusiCares Honoree, an honorary doctorate from Berklee School of Music in his hometown of Boston, MA, and is even an Emmy winner.

Jackson Browne Setlist:

  1. Somebody's Baby

  2. The Barricades of Heaven

  3. The Long Way Around

  4. Fountain of Sorrow

  5. Downhill From Everywhere

  6. The Dreamer

  7. Until Justice Is Real

  8. Doctor My Eyes

  9. Late for the Sky

  10. The Pretender with James Taylor

  11. Running on Empty with James Taylor

James Taylor Setlist:

  1. Country Road

  2. Copperline

  3. That's Why I'm Here

  4. Mexico

  5. You Make It Easy

  6. Line 'Em Up

  7. Steamroller

  8. Easy as Rollin' Off a Log- Johnnie “Scat” Davis

  9. Sweet Baby James

  10. Fire and Rain

  11. Carolina in My Mind

  12. Shower the People

  13. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)- Marvin Gaye


  1. Shed a Little Light

  2. Take It Easy with Jackson Browne- The Eagles

  3. You've Got a Friend with Jackson Browne- Carole King

  4. You Can Close Your Eyes with Henry Taylor