When Joan Baez plays here in Bend on Sunday night, it will be exactly 40 years and one day after the legendary folk singer closed the first night of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in Bethel, New York. Yes, that Woodstock.
On August 15, 1969 Baez took to the stage, and although six months pregnant, played a set that music historians are still talking about. She was joined on stage by Richard Festinger and Jeffrey Shurtleff, both on guitars, but also played solo, stopping to tell the crowd about her husband, David Harris, who had been jailed for refusing to follow draft orders. Her speech was just the beginning of what would be a starkly anti-Vietnam themed weekend at the festival.
Her set list included a combination of originals and traditional folk songs, including "Oh Happy Day," "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "I Shall Be Released." She also performed a gutsy a cappella version of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and closed her set by playing a defiant take on the classic spiritual, "We Shall Overcome," a song that had been and still was integral in the civil rights movement.
These days, Baez still holds the title of the "female Bob Dylan" and tours widely. Last year, she released Day After Tomorrow, which added to a long and esteemed discography that stretches back a full decade before Woodstock.
And that, friends, concludes this week's lesson in music history.
Joan Baez, Janis Ian
6:30pm, Sunday, August 16. Athletic Club of Bend, 61615 Athletic Club Dr. Tickets available at Newport Avenue Market.