R. Reese Fuller

Joan Baez steals the show at Medicine Show 12

by R. Reese Fuller

Friday night was an incredible night for music in Lafayette at Grant Street Dancehall for Medicine Show 12. There was the reunion of The Rockin' Shapes and performances from BeauSoleil, Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, and Sonny Landreth with Lazy Lester. But the performance of the evening that no one will soon forget was from Joan Baez.

Introduced by UL President Joseph Savoie, the iconic singer and activist wasn't scheduled to perform but played a five-song set. Baez was in town working on a recording project with musician and producer Dirk Powell, who has been touring with her as of late. Baez performed "Lily of the West," "Handsome Molly," and "Farewell Angelina" with BeauSoleil frontman Michael Doucet. But the song that brought the house down was her rendition of The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," a hit for her in 1971 and a song which everyone in the crowd apparently knew by heart.

For her encore, Baez sang an a cappella version of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," which she dedicated to Dr.Tommy Comeaux. But her final performance came when she danced onstage while Geno Delafose and his band played into the night.

For more about Comeaux, the endowed chair at UL in his name, and the people who made it happen, read about our Persons of the Year.