All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Memories of Woodstock: Joan Baez at Jazz in Marciac 2018

Luke Seabright By

Sign in to view read count
The couple had in fact met in prison a few years beforehand, after Baez was arrested, alongside her mother and dozens of other women, for blocking the doors of an induction center in Oakland, California to prevent young inductees from entering. Dedication to various forms of social activism has always been central to her music and public persona (she famously performed "We Shall Overcome" at the 1963 March on Washington). She made no exception on this night. Her cover of Woody Guthrie's song "Deportee" had a devastating poignancy in light of the current US government's immigration policies ("you won't have a name when you ride the big airplane, and all they will call you will be deportee"). She spoke of healing in the face of hate in "The President Sang Amazing Grace," written in memory of the 2015 Charleston shooting. The song was the first of three she would perform from off her latest album, Whistle Down The Wind, released in March 2018 ("Silver Blade" being another, which has everything of a future classic).

The emotion was palpable throughout the night, not least on stage. In interpreting the Anthony and the Johnsons song "Another World" (also on the album), Joan Baez candidly revealed to the audience her apprehensions as her life nears its close ("I need another world, this one's nearly gone"). Such uniquely personal covers of other composers' works are of course what she is most famous for. At Woodstock, before singing "Sweet Sir Galahad," she says "I'm just smart enough to know that my writing is very mediocre." Most fans however would challenge this claim. One of her own compositions, "Diamond and Rust," remains one of her most beloved songs. Unsurprisingly, it drew a rapturous response from the Marciac crowd which, at many points throughout the night, was invited to sing along. When the English language was required, this would often be tentative (one exception being the refrain from "The Boxer"). However, when she started to sing, in impeccable French, the George Brassens classic "La Chanson Pour L'Auvergnat," the whole tent seemed to join the chorus in unison.

The insatiable crowd succeeded in bringing Baez back to the stage three times until eventually the lights were switched back on and people started to disperse. As they slowly made their way to the village square to cap off the evening with some jazz, the tent freed itself up for an army of blue-collared volunteers to execute their final mission for the night: clear out all 6000 chairs before the last concert. Every year the festival programs a standing event on the last night, and for the 2018 edition they were expecting an 11000-strong crowd, which is unheard of in Marciac. Who was able to attract such numbers to a small village in southwest France? Carlos Santana. To many jazz fans, Marciac may be the European Newport, but on those last two nights, it had a clear flavor of Woodstock.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018 Live Reviews
The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read "David Lyttle & Joseph Leighton at Keady Clachan" Live Reviews David Lyttle & Joseph Leighton at Keady Clachan
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 10, 2018
Read "Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Pharoah Sanders at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard" Live Reviews Gary Peacock Trio at the Jazz Standard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Jazzkaar 2018" Live Reviews Jazzkaar 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: July 24, 2018
Read "Yoko Miwa Trio at Scullers" Live Reviews Yoko Miwa Trio at Scullers
by Doug Hall
Published: November 3, 2017