Joan Baez concert 28th July 2008

August 1, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Posted in General, Music | 1 Comment

On Monday August 28th I set out from home with a friend to head for Barcelona. We had arranged to meet Catherine, a translator friend and several other people from the Joan Baez list first in a Chinese Restaurant just across from the Palau de la Música Catalana where the concert was to take place. Apart from Hyldred, Catherine and myself, there was Bearnice, Jerry, Nadine and Sophia. Poor Sophia had mislaid her credit card and was worried that without it she wouldn’t be able to pick up her tickets, but she was allowed in!!

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a beautiful “Modernista” style building. “Modernisme” was a Catalan cultural movement at the end of the nineteenth century, perhaps its best known exponent was Antoni Gaudí (La Sagrada Família, Parc Güell, etc.), but the Palau de la Música was designed by Domènech i Montaner. Our three seats were in row 4, but they’d had to make the stage bigger and the seats started with row 3, so in fact we were in the second row!!

Joan walked on stage looking physically frail and tired, but at the same time, full of serene energy. She informed us that it was the 50th anniversary of her career, so we all gave her a hearty round of applause. Just giving a list of songs is too clinical, but I feel it is necessary anyway, so here it is:

  1. Lily of the West
  2. Farewell Angelina
  3. God is God
  4. With God on our Side
  5. Long, Black Veil
  6. I’m gonna take a trip in that old gospel ship
  7. El preso número 9
  8. Christmas in Washington
  9. Wonderful World
  10. Love in just a Four-Lettered Word
  11. The Rose of Sharon
  12. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  13. Rossinyol
  14. Diamonds and Rust
  15. Gracias a la Vida
  16. Imagine


  1. Blowing in the Wind
  2. Donna, Donna
  3. Here’s to you

Impromptu encore with the audience of We Shall Overcome

She introduced nearly all the songs with a short explanation or credited them to their author. She told us a little about her forthcoming album (Day After Tomorrow) and sang God is God, which will be one of the tracks. I have to say that we were a very responsive audience and there were some wonderful bits of repartee going back and forth. At one stage, some of the people up in the gods behind the stage called out “Joan, we’re here” to which she replied “And I’m down here!” (Both Joan and the band were very good about acknowledging the audience in that strange place every time we applauded). Another time, a guy called out “Catalonia loves you” to which Joan replied “It’s mutual” and another guy in the audience called out “I love you” and after a second’s thought Joan said “I’m sure I love you too”, which made us all laugh! For Wonderful World, she invited us all to sign along with her, which, of course, we all did!! Towards the end of the show, she sang Swing Low Sweet Chariot a capella and for a few lines she turned away from the microphone and sang to the people sitting up in the gods behind her. It was a very special moment of the concert. When she started singing Russinyol there was a happy uproar and we all joined in (at least all of us who are familiar with Rossinyol as a traditional Catalan song). We were also encouraged to participate in the chorus of Imagine (Joan cued us with the words). After Imagine, Joan went off stage and came back a few moments later for the encores: Blowing in the Wind, Donna, Donna (wow!!!) and Here’s to You. She was given a huge bouquet of flowers by someone who went up on the stage – I don’t know whether he was a fan or someone representing the Palau de la Música. She also accepted a gift from someone in the front row. And then went off for what should have been the end of the concert….

But we were stubborn!! We applauded so long and loud, and all started singing We Shall Overcome, that 5, maybe even 10 minutes later, Joan came back on stage to acknowledge all the applause. Her microphone had been turned off by then, but she stood on the stage and sang along with us. I really think she was moved by such a thundering ovation despite telling us that she was really tired and needed to get some sleep! She moved along the stage shaking hands with the people in the first two rows, which I think was very brave of her as who knows what would have happened if things had got out of control. When she reached me, I handed her something which for me is very special and which I hope she will at least have had the time to look at. It is a silver moebius bangle with a Buddhist Metta prayer inscribed on it.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free.

I’m sure Joan would approve of those words!

It was an absolutely wonderful concert, it is impossible to describe in words the feeling of “togetherness” of the audience. Certainly, where we were sitting, everyone had a fantastic time and on the way out all the comments I overheard were positive ones.

After the concert those of us who had met up for supper, minus Jerry, and plus Fran who couldn’t make it earlier, hung around for ages trying to work out where we might find Joan and eventually we found where they were loading up the lorries and after a loooong wait Joan finally appeared and went straight to the bus. Several of us thanked her for the concert and she in turn thanked us!! I expect she got straight into the bus and fell asleep very quickly, but we hung around a little longer just in case!!

What a memorable evening, and how nice it was to meet some other Joan fans too!! Nadine was even following on to Segovia for the concert the next day!!

Thank you Joan for an unforgettable evening and I hope you’re now enjoying a well-deserved rest/holiday after your tour!

You can see a couple of my videos of this concert on YouTube. Look for User: CatalanMoon


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