Icons Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Indigo Girls combined forces — and voices — for a sold-out show on a sultry Monday night at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Review, photo gallery)
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERY, SET LIST HIGHLIGHTS
From long before the gates opened, fans of all ages lined up at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, braving an evening of nearly 90-degree heat to hear four greats in folk music share the stage for one night.
And they were in for a powerful performance, indeed.
Folk duo Indigo Girls – Amy Ray and Emily Saliers – joined singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter and folk icon Joan Baez for an amazing night of music, one that was not only wildly entertaining, but carried a powerful message with every song.
Nashville singer-songwriter Becky Warren opened the night with songs from her recent album, “War Surplus,” telling a poignant story from the perspectives of several characters, each showing the magnitude war can have on soldiers and veterans, as well as their loved ones back home.
By the end of her set, the crowd was cheering for Warren, with many moved to give her a standing ovation as she left.
The crowd never lost that energy, cheering from the time “Four Voices” set foot onstage for the seventh show in a limited 10-date summer tour. The group began with a lively cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”
“I love playing in Michigan … you all have got spirit!” Baez said to the crowd, and was met with even more applause, nodding to fans near the front of the stage, dancing to the music. During one early song, even the 76-year-old Baez herself showed off a few choice dance moves for the audience to further liven up the tune.
MESSAGES OF LOVE, PEACE, UNDERSTANDING … AND ‘NASTY MAN’
Not all fun and games, these singers came with an important message of love acceptance, and understanding for all.
Before starting a potent cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee,” they dedicated the song to immigrants and refugees around the world. “Instead of looking at them as intruders who come to take something, consider that they come to share with us their gifts,” Baez said.
These messages of acceptance and peace were largely met well by the crowd: During a number of popular songs performed by the women on stage, many stood clapping along with the beat, singing every word back, particularly on the Indigo Girls’ protest song, “Let It Be Me,” which offers the line, “If the world is night, shine my life like a light.”
Upping the ante, Baez performed a new original song, inspired by recent current events, called “Nasty Man.” Pulling no punches, Baez calls out the country’s Commander-in-Chief with every line of the song, ending with the first full-blown standing ovation of the evening.
Later in the evening, however, Baez addressed the issue of our divided nation to the crowd. “While many of you in the audience may be of my particular political persuasion, some may not be,” she said. “There is such a wide chasm these days … but I just want you to know I would give my life for you, if you were in danger.” She then launched into a soulful, solo acoustic performance of the spiritual, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” during which she truly demonstrated her vocal range, as well as power, moving everyone in the crowd.
From timeless covers of folk songs to classic and new songs from the artists’ musical catalogs, the evening brought many to their to cheer or sing along to their favorite tunes — and celebrate messages of peace, love, and understanding they could all take to heart.
PHOTO GALLERY:’Four Voices’ at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
‘FOUR VOICES’ SET LIST HIGHLIGHTS
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” – Bob Dylan
“Get Out the Map” – Indigo Girls
“Heartache for Everyone” – Indigo Girls
“Deportee” – Woody Guthrie
“Another World” – Antony and the Johnsons
“Let It Be Me” – Indigo Girls
“Diamonds and Rust” – Joan Baez
“The Age of Miracles” – Mary Chapin Carpenter
“Shame on You” – Indigo Girls
“Train Inside” – Emily Saliers (From her upcoming new solo album, “Murmuration Nation,” 8-11-17)
“Nasty Man” – Joan Baez (Original, inspired by Donald Trump)
“Closer to Fine” – Indigo Girls
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” – Sung by Joan Baez
“The Hard Way” – Mary Chapin Carpenter
“The Times They Are A-Changin'” – Bob Dylan
“The Water is Wide” – Sung by Joan Baez
“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – Led by Joan Baez
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC