Live review: Nils Lofgren

He came to entrance...

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No, he didn’t bring his trampoline. A double hip replacement put paid to those antics a while ago.

However, at 64, with a career that stretches back to playing with Neil Young on After The Goldrush when he was just 19, Nils Lofgren has a pedigree that sets him alongside the legends as well as a spring in his step and an undimmed gleam in his eye. In his hat and garb he looks quite the rock’n’roll troubadour, even if his audience nowadays look like delegates at a Liberal Democrat Conference; however, by the end of his set tonight, featuring a huge version of Because The Night, that same audience are up in their seats and punching the air as if having been told to prepare for government.

The set itself feels as much like An Evening With Nils Lofgren as a concert, interspersed amiably with anecdotes; about Clarence Clemons, to whom he pays affecting tribute in song, as well as one involving The Sopranos and James Gandolfini. Inevitably, intimations of mortality hover in the air as he contemplates what might be the twilight of his career. This is a room full of people all growing old together. However, he’s also defiant: ‘The sun hasn’t set on this boy yet’, he growls, meaningfully, in a set that combines tender vocalising and brilliantly Byzantine guitar soloing with unique showmanship on Dream Big… involving a harp and stick. Nils will be irreplaceable but there’s no need to think about that just yet.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.