Joan Baez
Our home-front adventure begins at the shores of Western
Lake Erie where we head upstream, south, alongside
the swift and dangerous springtime undercurrents of the
murky and margarita-tinted Sandusky River.
Our destination is the
Ritz Theatre,
(celebrating its 75th year)
a jewel of a grand theatre at the riverside in
Tiffin, Ohio. Folksinger and human-rights
and peace activist
Joan Baez is the headliner,
with Tracy Grammer filling-out the show.
We stop for some food before crossing the river,
and we meet a young boy, he is flying his bird in
the town's failing light. He tells us that he and his
friend, the dove, have been hanging together for
about four months now.
The significance of being eyeball-to-eyeball
with a brown-eyed dove appears to carry
some weight. Not your common, everyday occurrence,
no less. The coincidence proves
wildly valid, though. Halfway into Joan's program,
following her singing of
Finlandia, the famous
Christian spiritual (also Finland's national anthem)
in both English and in Arabic, she picks up a thick book
by author, Daniel Ellsberg,
Secrets --
A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers,
and she reads the exact words spoken by America's
President and Secretary of State as they plan mass-murdering
thousands of strangers. In the background, under her voice,
we hear sirens, bombs screaming to earth.
It is somewhat unnerving. For entirely different reasons,
for different people, though. Of the seven-hundred or so
people in attendance, a little over one-hundred rise,
en masse, and head up the aisle and out
through the big brass doors in protest. The show goes on,
however, and those remaining are bathed in a rainbow
of words and music that resound off of every curve of the
old music hall's walls. Virgil Cain, Joe Hill and
Christmas in Washington are obvious hits. At the end of
the night the Ritz Theatre crowd  is brought upright
with a standing-ovation encore. Joan casts a remarkable
figure as she sings-out a heartwarming rendition of her classic,
"Diamonds and Rust." This tasty morsel is one of the best
all-time tunes of love won, love lost and love recalled.
Historically (Rock) thinking, if Bob Dylan
happens to be listening, Joan says that this time
she'd  take the diamonds, and he can keep his rust.
Joan says the new Johnny Cash album is terrific.
We phone a friend on the way home. He mentions
that the 75th anniversary of the Academy Awards show is
on television. The holocaust movie, "The Pianist,"
is the big winner. The anti-firearms protesters are
causing a big ruckus. Switching channels he is now
watching the war reports, and the Oscar information is
presently being scrolled across the bottom of the screen,
below the live war cameras. "Hockey reports, too," he adds.
It is difficult enough to get people into a concert hall
and away from the glare of radio and the television news,
and it is harder even still to get them to leave in the
midst of a paid performance. It takes bravery in the
face of being outnumbered to opt out of the majority.
The anti-protesters courageously exit on their own accord.
They are not defamed as they walk away, nor are any
hard words spoken on either plain. It is noted, the protest march
is indeed peaceful and successful-- point made, point taken.
There is no lingering ill wind in the air. Doubtless, everyone who
came to the show stands for peace and human-rights justice, this is
evident. Our freedom to disagree is the glue that binds us.
We are but separated by our simple words, by our ideas
and ideals, and on occasion, by our sacred songs.
The following phrase comes from Finland's national anthem:
"O' hear my song, thou God of All Nations.
A song of peace for their land and for mine."

God Bless America, and all of earth's singers, on this,
our musical river of life
(Click Picture for Gallery)
 In Concert    Ritz Theater





Adventure Travel