Monday, August 22, 2005

''Baez Is Back!''

"Folk Singer Icon Joan Baez Takes Camp Casey II By Storm--CRAWFORD — Shortly after Joan Baez arrived Sunday afternoon at Camp Casey II, she gave a press conference with the Gold Star Families, all of whom have lost loved ones in the war. She talked with them, and she cried with them.

Ms. Baez returned to the trailer to prepare for her performance, speaking only in whispers when it was necessary to speak at all, saving her voice.
She gave a moving performance, peppered with energy, emotion, humor, and humanity. She even showed compassion for President Bush, although she disagrees with him. She said she doesn’t make Bush jokes any more because they often offend more conservative folks, and that isn’t helping anything.

At one point, she laughingly forgot the line “keeping things vague” in the song “Diamonds and Rust,” and the audience helped her out. When she consulted a paper during the performance, holding it at arm’s length, she joked, “I get these brilliant ideas and then they fade from my mind, plus I can’t read any more.” Despite her good humor about aging, time has been very kind to Joan Baez. She is a lovely, compelling woman.

Ms. Baez told the crowd that she had only picked up the guitar again a week and a half ago and will go on tour in September. She claimed her fingers were like spaghetti, and that she didn’t remember words. “My mother says, ‘Did I take my ginko balboa today?’ and I say, ‘I don’t remember!’”

She sang “Joe Hill” in response to a request. Saying that the phrase “in harm’s way” was a euphemism for “sitting ducks,” she put down her guitar and sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” without accompaniment. Her voice rang sweet and true.

Ms. Baez suggested that if the mothers really wanted catharsis, they could sing along with her “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Emotions ran high as many in the crowd of perhaps five or six hundred wept openly. At the end of the song, she said, “You know, I have to manage to get through it, too.”

Ms. Baez sang “Gracias a la Vida” and several favorites from her long career. She thanked the group for having her here, then admitted she purchased her ticket to Texas before the invitation arrived.

After her performance, she graciously talked with several individuals in a dark area near her trailer. Three of these were veterans. Two were mothers who had lost their sons in Iraq. She hugged them and cried with them.

Camp bugler and Iraq war veteran Jeff Key, in an unplanned and completely spontaneous moment, took Ms. Baez’s hand. He led her to a spot before the many crosses that have been placed at the front of the camp. She was beside him, a diminutive woman beside a tall, strong young man, as he blew taps in the moonlight to a large, respectful crowd. He saluted. They hugged. And there was complete and total silence.

When Ms. Baez returned to her private area behind the trailer, she sat down at a table, dropped her head into her folded arms, and wept."-from the post, with photos, in The Lone Star Inquisitor. You can also "Listen to Joan sing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" from tonight's performance" via Crawford Update.

No comments: