Nils Lofgren @ Town Hall, Birmingham – Wednesday 16th May 2018


Fifty years burning down the road….

Marking half a century of touring since he started out as a teenager under the wing of Neil Young, Nils Lofgren has always found a willing audience on this side of the Atlantic. Across his long and varied career Lofgren has been solo artist, band leader and enjoyed stints as a member of Crazy Horse, Ringo’s All Starr Band and the E Street Band, and the evening plays out as one long celebration of his many achievements complete with anecdotes, tap-dancing and exceptional guitar playing. And whilst by his own admission he never had a huge hit record he has written more than his fair share of great songs over the past five decades, many of which the Town Hall crowd were delighted to hear once again.

Accompanied by Greg Varlotta (multi-instrumentalist and tap-dancing instructor) the duo lead off with an inspired ‘Code of the Road’ and for the next two hours deliver a masterclass of musical virtuosity. Lofgren comes from an era that marked a golden age of guitar players and his purity of technique is breath-taking to behold, nowhere more so than during the sublime ‘Girl in Motion’ and ‘Keith Don’t Go’. Taking a seat at the keyboards Nils reminisces on the After The Gold Rush sessions and revisits both the Neil Young and the Grin songbook for ‘Wonderin’ and ‘Believe’, along with his own graceful arrangement of Carole King’s ‘Goin’ Back’.

Tap-dancing shoes are changed into for the uplifting ‘I Came To Dance’, just one of those Lofgren originals that should have been huge, before he straps on an accordion – the instrument he first leant as a child – for ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’. After a largely acoustic performance there is still time for Nils to turn to his trusty Telecaster and close out with heartland anthem ‘Shine Silently’ and leave with the promise of both a new album and a full band tour in 2019. This was a perfectly crafted show that celebrates a remarkable career and, fortunately, there is still more to come.

Code of the Road
Little On Up
Walkin’ Nerve
Man In The Moon
Girl In Motion
Love You Most
Black Books
Rusty Gun
Goin’ Back
Too Many Miles
Keith Don’t Go
I Came To Dance
No Mercy
Flight of the Bumblebee
Shine Silently

Review by Dean Pedley