Home' Rhythms Magazine : January-February 2019 Contents 21
Joan Baez played acoustic guitar on
the Ryman stage. She played a lot of songs
by others - mostly Bob Dylan. Her voice was
deeper, I liked it better. She gave it her all
in a folky kind of way and played for two
hours. It was a very intimate performance
full of class and political conspiracy.
At the end of the show, she and the
band ‘took a knee’ while they played the
recording of Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled
Banner. I came away thinking, ‘Joan Baez is
Fare Thee Well, Ms. Baez. Maybe you’ll do a
‘comeback tour’ someday so that we can all
see a real political folk activist from the ‘60s.
Show us how it’s done!
Joan Baez is only 77 years old.
Annie Leibovitz has taken a
lot of photos of a lot of famous people
including Queen Elizabeth II and her
corgies. Leibovitz appeared at the beautiful
Schermerhorn Symphony Center in
downtown Nashville and was presented
by author Ann Patchett of Parnassus
Bookstore - one of the best bookshops
Leibovitz read her notes in front of an
immense screen behind her which showed
the rather incredible photos of her 50 year
At art school in the ‘60s, Leibovitz opted to
pursue photography over painting. “I wasn’t
ready for abstraction - I wanted reality.”
Moving to San Francisco, she got the
gig taking photos for Rolling Stone
magazine and often worked with Hunter S.
Thompson. “Hunter seemed totally nuts to
me,” she said.
At a Nixon support convention during
the Watergate scandal, Thompson gave
her some mescaline and one gets the
feeling that this was a turning point for
her artistically - the day she learnt to take
photos of the ‘in-between moments’
at events rather than the conventional
approach of waiting for something
expected to happen. At this point the
photo projected behind her was of three
U.S . Marines rolling up the red carpet after
Nixon has got on board the plane. Hunter
S. Thompson’s failure to hand in his Nixon
story turned out to be a great stroke of luck
for Leibovitz when Rolling Stone decided
to simply run a feature story of her photos
instead. It was a big break.
In 1972 she went on tour with the Rolling
Stones. It was the same tour on which
Robert Frank filmed his rockumentary
Cocksucker Blues. “There are very few
pictures of Keith standing up,” she said.
“A rock’n’roll tour is unnatural.” She spoke
affectionately of Mick Jagger’s delicate and
Her partner for many years was the
intellectual Susan Sontag who had the idea
of the ‘Women’ book of photography. As
the project went on she “began to realize
that we didn’t really know what we looked
Annie Leibovitz will not give the game
away. “I’m still a working photographer,”
she says. When asked about techniques, she
demurs. “Learn how to look, learn how to
see. You will learn the most by looking back
at your past work... Take pictures of things
you care about.”
Rather famously now, she took the last
photograph of John Lennon just hours
before he died - the one in which he is
naked, wrapped around a clothed Yoko Ono.
You may have seen it on the cover of Rolling
Stone magazine. “It becomes a different
picture when he dies,” she says.
Jack White started the show louder
than most bands would have finished an
entire concert. He and the band did that
thing where everyone bashes away as
loudly as possible on one chord.
Jack White fell off the 3rd step of the drum
riser and landed flat on his back without
missing a note. He bounced back up and
carried on as if nothing had happened. That
was about three songs in.
Jack White played his new album, then said
After an interminable amount of time, Jack
White came back out. He said, do you want
to hear another song or two? Do you want
to hear nine more songs?
Jack White played about nine more songs
and then went off stage.
After an interminable amount of time, Jack
White came back out and yelled, I’m doing
this for you Nashville! I want to thank you
for the ten years of support you’ve given me
Jack White asked, do you want to hear
eleven more songs? Twelve more songs?
The crowd said yes!
Jack White played another eleven or twelve
songs. Jack White gave it his all. He played a
couple of acoustic songs but mostly wailed
on electric. It was as if Jack White was
saying, I love you Nashville but now I am
leaving town. A last hurrah!?
Anne McCue reports in from the home of country music.
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