I saw Joan Baez perform live last night at the Royal Albert Hall! I did, I did!!!
Thanks (a million thanks actually) to Shefaly who suddenly told me on Wednesday that she had an extra ticket for the concert on Thursday. I was jumping up and down even as I heard about it. This is Joan Baez. A woman whose voice has kept me going through many angst filled years.
Shefaly and I may have been some of the youngest members of the audience. The audience was filled with grey, long, flowing hair. It took them a little time to warm up, but clearly this was a generation to whom the music of the 60s would have meant a lot. A man sitting right next to Shefaly, seemed to know every song, every line. He was out of tune. But something was touching about that incredible passion and memory.
What can I say about Joan Baez that hasn’t been said already. She sings beautifully. When she does her numbers without any instrument support, her voice comes out crystal clear. There is nothing to embellish. Nothing to cover up. And her sense of humour and charm just filled the hall. She struggled with her bracelet, and the rest of her band kept trying to take it off, as she rattled off story after another. The best bit was when she was singing Love is Just a Four-Letter Word and in the middle of it, she started singing like Dylan! Like the whole twang, jagged edgy voice. The audience was in splits.
Oh and she sang Amazing Grace. One of my favourite songs, and she got the entire audience to join her. Even the ones who didn’t know the lyrics. As she prepped them up for it. It was fantastic. Beautiful. You never quite realize that the voice on the CD is real, that there is absolutely nothing that needs to be modified to make it sound better. She was petite, tiny almost. And I wondered where the voice came from.
At various points in my life, I’ve wanted to be different things. One of them, (and I did have some talent then, mind you!) was to be able to sing on stage. Well some of that faded away. But on such nights, when I hear such overwhelmingly good music, I wonder what that would have been like. For now, the heart is full. Very full.