Johan Gijsen, Niederlande
Jackson Browne – The Load-Out/Stay
To this day, this song gives me so much positive energy, says Johan Gijsen, when he thinks of the song "The Load-Out / Stay". A song about traveling and the freedom in Europe.
I first heard Jackson Browne’s The Load-Out/Stay as a teenager. Often it was the last song played at my local tavern, the TomTom, before closing time. I was one of the youngest regulars, and I always looked up to some of the elders there. Everyone was welcome at the TomTom, and it became a formative place for me, a second home. The owner, Frits, introduced me to some of my biggest musical inspirations.
First of all, ‘The Load-Out’ is just a gorgeous song. It starts off as a piano ballad, and very gradually, the music becomes more arranged and builds up more pace. Once Browne sings the line Now we got country and western on the bus // R&B, we got disco in eight tracks and cassettes in stereo the entire song just accelerates into this tremendous swing. That’s when the entire bar started rocking out.
The song is an ode to Jackson Browne’s crew: the people who haul the flight cases, connect the cables and hang the lights, who bust their tail make a rock show possible. They are the first to arrive at the venue, and the last ones to leave. And do the exact same thing at the next destination.
‘The Load-Out’ transitions seamlessly into ‘Stay’, a Maurice Williams cover, on which Browne’s lap steel player David Lindley takes over the lead vocal. Lyrically the song was tweaked a bit, as it was originally a love song. But it’s such an euphoric piece of music, and I can vividly recall that we swung our fists and beer bottles triumphantly in the air during this part, bellowing every word along. Singing ‘Stay’ before closing time instilled this sheer joy from within, a feeling that I still struggle to describe properly. I still get goosebumps just reminiscing about those nights.
To this day, the song gives me so much positive energy. When I left for Utrecht to become a live music programmer, I was confronted every day with the song’s theme. It helped me appreciate crew members in a different light. I always feel like the crew deserves a warm welcome too, not just the musicians. At Tivoli, if our own crew and the artist crew clicked, that would always make a show better. Thanks to the song, I’ve always been acutely aware of that.
That’s a huge reason why I’ve picked ‘The Load-Out/Stay’. With European Songbook, there’s a strong emphasis on traveling: in America, you travel from one state to another, and in Europe from one country to another. So the song also stresses the importance of being able to go wherever we please in the world.