Apart from sharing an amusing anecdote about how he once thought he had a job with Bob Dylan, only to find out that Dylan merely wanted to borrow his guitar, Nils Lofgren didn't pause long between songs at the Birchmere Monday night. Instead, the hometown favorite (and Bruce Springsteen sideman) packed as many tunes as he could into a briskly paced two-hour set, alternating reflective finger-style ballads with vibrant acoustic or electric versions of "I Came to Dance," "No Mercy" and "Shine Silently."
About to go into the studio soon to record an album, Lofgren unveiled three songs that he's working on, including a typically warmhearted and inspirational lyric dedicated to his grandmother. He sang it and several other sentimental ballads in a wistful tenor, sometimes alone and sometimes accompanied discreetly by his brother, Tom, on keyboards and by Paul Bell on guitar. Every so often though, Lofgren would pick up his electric guitar and really shake the place with a now searing, now sweeping solo, or, in the case of "No Mercy" and a couple of other tunes, join his bandmates on a fiercely percussive acoustic romp.
Pete Kennedy, another area guitar whiz, set the tone for evening with a lot of acoustic guitar fireworks of his own, including a dazzling arrangement of "Mystery Train."