Joan Baez has long history

June 27th, 2014 by Ken

Joan Baez, the queen of American folk singers is coming to Olympia at the Washington Center on July 22 for one performance.  Don’t try getting tickets – – they were sold out in two days.

I was one of the lucky ones – – I think.   I was able to get the last four seats together – – but I’m not so certain it was a good buy.   I saw Joan Thursday night in concert in Troutdale, Oregon and it wasn’t the Joan I’ve coveted for half a century.

I first saw Joan Baez in concert in Seattle on April 24, 1964.  Bob Dylan was her warm-up act.   The young woman with the large voice and gentle means left the crowd cheering and stomping.  For most, Dylan was an after-thought – – if thought of at all.

I saw her live again at the Washington Center on October 17, 1989, the date of the Oakland earthquake.   She was concerned that her son was in that area and during the concert and let the crowd know he was alright when she found out.  I truly enjoyed that concert with the experience of several decades under my belt.   I was hoping the Washington Center would bring her back soon.

It took another quarter of a century before she was scheduled back in Olympia.   In the meantime, friends of mine purchased tickets for her Oregon concert last night.

Joan’s  opening act was the Indigo Girls.  About half of the nearly 3000 in attendance were there for them.  They played for an hour and a half before Joan came on.   She performed 14 songs in an hour.   Her voice – – while still powerful and majestic – – didn’t have the range.  Now in her 70’s, she tried but had to back off of the high notes.

Her choice of songs was odd.   She sang four religious songs, two songs in Spanish and a number of new ones.   She did manage to keep the audience engaged when she sang a couple of the old ones and ended her set with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

While I enjoyed the concert, I yearned for the young Joan who sang folk songs and made us proud to be “Folkies.”

I hope her solo performance at the Washington Center in July will contain more of her old stuff and less of her new stuff.  But, no matter what, I’ll be there.

Posted in History, Informational, The Real News

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