An Evening with Joan Baez - Auckland and Wellington concerts
8th April 2013
An Evening with Joan Baez
"She took to the stage to rapturous applause and her opener, ‘God Is God’, was flawless, the finger-picking of the acoustic guitar in perfect rhythm, the room hushed to hear her every word. You could have heard a ghost cough in the auditorium as she sang haunting tunes including ‘Farewell Angelina’, ‘I Need You Just The Way You Are’, ‘Jerusalem’, and the beautiful ‘Mary Magdalene’. 10 out of 10. Finger-picking good." Liverpool Echo, 2012
For the first time in more than 20 years Joan Baez returns to New Zealand for two concert performances only in August. Joan Baez is a musical and political force of nature whose influence is incalculable – she marched on the front lines of the civil rights movement with Dr Martin Luther King, inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, sang on the first Amnesty International tour and stood alongside Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London's Hyde Park.
Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963. Her Grammy nominated and most recent album, Day After Tomorrow (2008) recorded in Nashville and produced by Steve Earle, carries on Joan’s tradition of serving as an interpreter for a wide array of songwriters, with material by Earle, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, T Bone Burnett, Patty Griffin, Thea Gilmore and Eliza Gilkyson.
It's 54 years since Joan Baez, then 18, was introduced onstage at Newport Jazz Festival. Baez bought her first guitar when she was 15 and quickly became the central figure of the powerful folk movement, gracing the cover of Time Magazine when she was 20. Bob Dylan met her in Greenwich Village and she introduced him to the world as the two became musically and romantically entwined. Baez is a wonderful interpreter and Dylan gave her some of his best songs – ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue’, ‘With God On Our Side’ and ‘Blowing In The Wind’ to name a few. Their relationship inspired her to write ‘Diamonds and Rust’. Baez put her own stamp on other fine songwriter’s songs, amongst them ‘There But For Fortune’ (Phil Ochs), ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ (Robbie Robertson) and ‘Jerusalem’ (Steve Earle). Her unforgettable performance of ‘We Shall Overcome’, at Woodstock, when she was several months pregnant and her husband David Harris in jail for draft resistance, has indelibly linked her to that song for millions of fans.
Baez is recognized as an outstanding, courageous activist whose beliefs can't be separated from her music. She sang about freedom and civil rights from the backs of flatbed trucks in Mississippi and on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at Dr Martin Luther King's march on Washington in 1963. Baez brought the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight at Berkeley; organised resistance to the war in South East Asia, travelling to Hanoi; performed at numerous benefit concerts and recently, Baez performed at Occupy Wall Street in New York and contributed to the ‘Occupy This’ album.
In 2009 the PBS American Masters series premiered a documentary of her life story, ‘Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound’ which will screen on SKYTV Arts Channel on Friday 17 May. She has also recently been awarded the Amnesty International‘s inaugural Joan Baez Award for Outstanding Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights. Today, Joan Baez's voice is as extraordinary as ever but carries with it the gravitas of a life well lived.
This will be a rare opportunity to experience one of the world's greatest and most inspiring performers.
For the New Zealand concerts Joan Baez is backed by both her son, Gabriel Harris, on percussion and multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell on banjo, guitar, keyboards and fiddle.