Nils Lofgren

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Nils Lofgren

Nils Lofgren

Posted: 26 Jan 2015

Image by Jo Lopez

The Sage Gateshead

23 January 2015

 

Best known for being a key member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band for the last three decades, guitarist Nils Lofgren also previously worked with Neil Young. His tour T-shirts proclaimed ‘ Touring since 1968’ and Lofgren recalled his first appearance on Tyneside in 1973 during Young’s ‘Tonight’s the Night’ Tour.

On that occasion the perennially awkward Young ignored his two previous mega-selling albums to play ‘Tonight’s the Night’ in its entirety. Having completed his rendition he teased the City Hall audience by introducing the next song as ‘Here’s something you’ve heard before’… before launching into ‘Tonight’s the Night’ again.

Nils Lofgren, though, is a crowd pleaser. New songs mix with all the old favourites from his impressive back catalogue as a solo artist. 

In reflective mood and providing long and intimate introductions to every song in a set that spread to two hours, Lofgren even played the introduction to one of the key songs on one of those seminal Neil Young LPs,  ‘Southern Man’ from ‘After the Goldrush’, explaining how he’d worked the introduction to the number.

There’s also a Springsteen song in the set, ‘Because the Night’ – Patti Smith’s biggest hit – being the first encore before Nils wrapped things up with his own sublime ‘Shine Silently.’

Accompanied throughout by multi-instrumentalist Greg Varlotta, Lofgren began the evening by playing the harp, had a stint on keyboards and played a range of mainly acoustic guitars. The sold-out audience lapped it up with ‘Keith Don’t Go’, ‘New Holes in Old Shoes’ ‘No Mercy’ and (appropriately) ‘The Sun Hasn’t Set On This Boy Yet’ amongst the highlights.

This was the third time I’ve seen Nils on his own and every time he’s been excellent. There’s talk of a return in October and if that proves to be the case get in quick before it sells out.

Rob Mason

 

 

 

 

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