We saw Joan Baez in Manchester at the Bridgewater last night. Zoe got an acknowledgement from the stage and a spotlight. We met again with Joan and her crew. I think she thinks my name is “Bob” which I find amusing.
The show was excellent though weighted heavily toward classics. She did, IIRC, four songs from Whistle Down The Wind. Her voice was in good form which given all her touring is pretty impressive. The backup band remains awesome with Gabe’s percussion solo being a big crowd pleaser. The auditorium wasn’t quite filled but I infer that the Bridgewater messed that up by just not selling some sections behind the stage. (I know people who wanted tickets and were told “sold out”!)
Amusingly, our comped seats seem to have been double booked. But as we got there first, I don’t know how it was resolved.
I think I’m not such a fan of Bridgewater Hall for this sort of show. Compared to Ulster Hall in Edinburgh (which is similarly sized) it was more awkward visually and sonicly. The non proscenium stage undercut the dramatic visuals (esp early on) and I had more trouble hearing words than I did in Edinburgh. The crowd was a bit more passive too.
Still an excellent show. We had lots of friends who went so that was fun.
The performers and crew are a bunch of really sweet people who seem to be holding up well considering their schedule.
They’ll be back in Feb. I recommend getting tickets!
Thinking a bit about the set list, I think it’s unfortunate that she’s so constrained to do lots of classics. (And, as an audience member, I’m often wanting to hear classic songs from a performer. So I get it!)
Whistle Down the Wind is an evolution of her sound built around profound shifts in her voice. Of course, that vocal shift colours her whole performance, but I don’t think the classic songs were strongly reinterpreted. A show that was built around the new voice as much as Whistle is built around would be very interesting.
Addendum: I observed the famous British respect for signage.