Thursday, March 09, 2006

Joan Baez at the Barbican

Took Milway's parents to see Joan Baez at the Barbican yesterday evening. Well, I say that, in truth it was all just an elaborate ruse to hide the fact that we wanted to go to see her, but needed something to blame it all on if she turned out to be bum-clenchingly bad.

We have a habit of going to see performers where the average age of the audience is 60, which I don't mind in the least (some of my best friends are old people) so long as the act is good. When we saw Macca a few years back I went in with pretty low expectations, being fully prepared for Sir Thumbsaloft to make me feel embarrassed on his behalf within the first 5 seconds. Miraculously, despite the fact he played Band on the Run, I found the whole experience to be hugely exciting and could well understand what induced those young females back into the sixties to scream themselves into a bawling husk.

Old Joannie rocked my world almost as much, but the sedate surroundings of the Barbican made it feel slightly more like we were the polite audience at some BBC recording when compared to the shriek-friendly environs of Earls Court. It was a shame really - all the polite clappping and half-hearted nostalgic cheers when Joan said something vaguely protestish made it feel a bit like we were in a room full of ex-hippies who now own barn conversions in Surrey, a chocolate Lab and a Subaru. Which, of course, we were.

She sounded great for her age (clean living Joan gets the last laugh over her husky contemporaries) and the warbles of her voice didn't get wearing as they often do when you're listening on CD. When she wasn't plucking away masterfully on her guitar, or rousing her sleepy audience to laughter with some sharp gags, she was miming along to the songs with dramatic movements that made her look like she was on strings - or attempting to walk through treacle. A great gal and a great gig - and all over at the very civilised hour of 9.30.


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