Junior Brown spotlights his playing, to a fault
Sun Theatre, Anaheim, Cal., Oct. 5, 2000
By Dan MacIntosh
ANAHEIM, CA - Junior Brown's concert had all the indications of a boys night out, since the singer/songwriter/guitarist sported a new beard - which greatly subtracted from his usual visual boyishness - and because he didn't bring along his wife Tanya Rae Brown as a second guitarist, which completely erased all previous feminine elements from his sound.
Without a wife or a razor to trouble him, Brown got down to playing some loud and proud country rock. But this particular show spotlighted his playing prowess over his singing and songwriting to a fault.
Standouts included the extended soloing on "Hung It Up," his regular surf medley (which, in addition to its classic California instrumentals, also contained snippets of "You Really Got Me" and "Secret Agent Man"), as well as an unannounced blues instrumental that sounded like it could have been "The Sky Is Crying," but don't quote me on that.
When Brown's naturally wonderful singing voice wrapped itself around the warm low notes of "I Want To Hear It From You," one just longed to hear more of the same, but there was just to much testosterone on this one stage for too much of that. This rig was built for speed and volume, not quiet romance.
Brown's chosen approach also adversely affected another valuable artistic characteristic, which is his wry sense of humor. Except for "Gotta Get Up Every Morning" and "Highway Patrol," Brown included very few examples of his twisted sense of the absurd.
Add to this the fact that Brown only played for 90 minutes when it usually takes him at least a good 2 hours to get through all his fan favorites, and you're left with simply a disappointing effort from an otherwise normally reliable performer.
The Del McCoury band opened the show.