Those who knew me back in my singer/guitarist days will understand what a thrill it was for me to see Joan Baez perform last night.
Joan Baez was one of my main musical inspirations for about 10 years of my life. I listened to her, sang her songs and was so excited to see her perform in London ‘back in the day’ when I was a young backpacker.
It seems I wasn’t the only one! Last night at her concert in Brisbane the audience was enthusiastic, full of energy and most decidedly of a certain era. In the hour before the show started the theatre was full of baby boomers sipping wine and catching up with friends. There was a lovely atmosphere, even strangers chatting over their common bond of being a Joan Baez fan for so many years.
Joan is now 72. You’d be unrealistic to expect her voice to be exactly as it was when she was 30, or even 50. But the distinctive tone and the beauty of her voice were there, even if the high notes are no longer effortless and the clarity is a little diminished by time.
She made discrete references to her fascinating life, some of which would not have been understood by those who hadn’t followed her career. She performed her version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” but in the middle of the performance she sang two lines in a distinctive Dylan voice, even mimicking his body language. The audience loved this acknowledgement of her past. It was a bit like chatting with an old friend in front of others and making a seemingly innocent comment, with only the old friend recognizing it as a revelation of past experiences that only they know about. You know what I mean? 😉
So many precious songs brought back floods of memories. For me the songs took me to thoughts of old friends, to exhilarating days and times of deep sadness, to singing with others in many wonderful times and places. “We both know what memories can bring. They bring diamonds and rust……And I’ll take the diamonds”
Most of all it made me wonder why I ever stopped playing that guitar and singing….and could I start again just for fun?
By Jenni Proctor