In 2003 when soulful survivor Jackson Browne made one of many Sydney visits to visit ex-wife Lynne Sweeney and younger son Ryan he marched in ant-war rallies.

So it's no surprise he revisits the topic showcased on his debut Australian tour in the seventies on this live disc - his first since Running On Empty in 1977.

But Browne, who worked the winery wonderlands on his 2004 tour, doesn't lay it on too thick.

This is an artist who has worn heart and soul on sleeve since he was in the Illegitimate Jug Band in 1996 with latter day Nitty Gritty Dirt Band alumni.

Browne, now 56, injects this gig with anecdotes and homilies that amuse within the context
of darker songs.

And, there lie the threads that have helped the artist weave a tapestry that never frays
on his drama-drenched journey.

He kicks off with The Barricades Of Heaven and introduces These Days with a study of its embryo.

"I wrote this when I was 16," Browne tells his audience, "although not precisely in the form.

It was recorded by others including Nico. It was in a movie. I was sitting in a movie theatre and the guitar music came on and I thought I used to play like that."

Greg Allman, former wife Cher and the Dirt Band were among those to cover a song that
shares its title with 143 other songs.

A stark contrast to three-decade old The Birds Of St Marks that debuts on a disc that also features career tunes Fountains Of Sorrow, For Everyman and The Pretender.

Browne reminds his audience of the relevance of 1986 album title track Lives In The Balance and Looking East in our troubled times.

But it's all levity by the time he reaches Take It Easy that he wrote with and for The Eagles.

"I have discovered this day a Chinese version," Browne confesses.

"I like the Cantonese version but also the translation of the Spanish 'looking for a lover who is not religious, not dangerous and will eat me like a lobster with pincers."

Yes, Jackson Browne has a sense of humour nestled beneath his oft broken heart on a disc that validates his career longevity. - DAVID DAWSON

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