Joan Baez is refusing to go quietly. Embarking on what she insists will be her final tour, the legendary singer and cultural icon has no shortage of choice opinions to get off her chest.
At 77, as befits her status, the Queen of Folk is both earthy and slightly grand, airing her thoughts on today’s female pop stars (‘the bottom of the barrel’), ex-lovers Bob Dylan (‘paranoid’) and Steve Jobs (‘complex and driven’), her pending retirement (‘whoopee!’) and much else besides.
Baez’s current tour brings down the curtain on a remarkable story stretching back 60 years. During that time she has performed for JFK and Barack Obama, befriended Dr Martin Luther King and been jailed for anti-war protests. Her stirring version of We Shall Overcome became an anthem for the civil rights movement, while Diamonds And Rust presented a more vulnerable, poetic side. Soaring on hit albums such as Joan Baez In Concert and Farewell, Angelina, Baez’s impossibly pure soprano became the voice of at least one generation, influencing everyone from Joni Mitchell to Laura Marling.