Another great show

Last week I wrote about two really good bands made up of 20 something musicians. This week I am going to write about two performers who are 63 and  78 years old.

When I was a teenager, my mother made me listen to only folk music. The first time she took me to a concert, it was to see Judy Collins and Tom Paxton. While listening to a radio show called the Midnight Special in 1966, I heard a singer singing about something that didn’t exist much in America- an interracial relationship. Her name was Janis Ian, who was 15 at the time the record came out.

Tom and Janis__0004I met her a few years ago, and read her autobiography. It turned out that the station I was listening to her on was one of only three that played her record. She went out on tour and got booed off the stage whenever she played the song, called “Society’s Child.”

So, about a month ago, Janis emailed me and asked me to photograph a show she was doing in Chicago with Tom Paxton. Last Sunday I met them at sound check, did a quick session with the two of them, and shot one of the greatest shows I have heard in a long time. There was no show biz- just a vase of flowers on a table at the back of the stage (with a spotlight on it), and two legendary performers singing most their hits, along with some new songs. Society’s Child was especially poignant.

Tom and Janis__0153Tom and Janis__0157Just goes to show that you don’t need lots of lights and staging to captivate an audience- just great songs and amazing performers.

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