SHE may be 71, but Joan Baez has a voice and passion in her beliefs that remain a force to be reckoned with.
And at the The Sage Gateshead she displayed both to their full in front of a packed Hall One brimming with anticipation.
Joan walked on to rapturous applause accompanied only by her guitar. She launched her set as a lone figure on the stage with the Steve Earl classic God is God, which produced a respectful hush in the hall.
She went on perform many of her classics, with Farewell Angelina and Show Me the Prison going down a storm with her loyal followers.
The songs were interspersed with humorous anecdotes from her career and the people who have influenced her.
This is one lady who is not afraid to direct humour at herself with comments like: “I first sang this 105 years ago” and “it’s crazy that I’m still up here … and crazier still that you are still down there.”
As her set continued, she was joined on stage by two talented musicians from her band, Dirk Powell and Gabriel Harris, the latter being her son.
She has a settling and calming presence about her which permeates the audience many of whom, like myself, were seeing her not for the first time and hopefully not for the last.
This is one lady who will always command respect for her support of civil rights and social change. She has been arrested twice for expressing her strong beliefs.
Her philosophy on war has influenced many of her songs and her audience were obviously in agreement with the hard-hitting messages which many of them contain.
She looks nowhere near her 71 years of age, her voice is still powerful and you know she will never shy away from expressing her views on what she believes is right and while she continues to command sell out venues, long may that continue.
One of her greatest albums is the critically acclaimed Diamonds and Rust and on last night’s performance there were plenty diamonds to be had, and thankfully no signs of rust.