5 days in the life of ... Joan Baez

Age 56, the American folk singer is still on the road. She is now touring Britain
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Monday: Today the original Joan, my mother, flies to meet me in Glasgow. She lives quite near me in San Francisco, but I haven't seen her for a couple of months because of the tour. She'll be with me for Thanksgiving. Tonight is going to be the third of my nine dates in Britain. I'm singing songs from my new album Gone From Danger. I took the name from a line in one of the songs because it is a good time in my life right now.

Up in our hotel room my mother has an enormous bath and we have a big breakfast in bed.

Later the audience at the Royal Concert Hall is great. The Scots tend to shout out requests. They are much less reserved - so sweet. I sang "Mary Hamilton", although I hadn't rehearsed it properly.

TUESDAY: After the concert we take our tour bus to Manchester. We travel 215 miles and arrive at the hotel at 4am - at 5am I am fully awake and I have to try to wind down. I drink herbal teas at night on tour. It is good for the throat. For the same reason, I don't go out much. I don't really see Manchester at all.

Luckily the air conditioning on the bus is OK. I have my own small room with a little open window in the roof. I take tea and honey lozenges to keep my throat lubricated and if I think I am getting a cold I take something to boost the immune system.

The Apollo should be called the Arctic, it is freezing. This theatre has a serious draft problem. After the sound check I send back for all my clothes and I do the concert looking like a big, fat penguin dressed in all my sweaters.

WEDNESDAY: We arrive in Bristol at a lovely hotel called the Hunt Street House Hotel at about 4am. I mostly sleep. In the afternoon a friend and I go to tea with Peter Gabriel at his studio near Bath. Peter gives us a pass to the gym near by and I go swimming. There is far too much chlorine in the pool though, particularly in the jacuzzi. I will smell of it for days. The English are kind of amateur about these things - especially with massages. I think there is a place in London where I can get a Shiatsu. That is the kind of massage I need because you keep your energy, rather than the kind that leaves you so relaxed you have to get up for the day again. We are supposed to go out to dinner, but I'm fading.

THURSDAY: This morning I use the mobile treadmill to exercise in my room and I play the tape that Peter Gabriel gave me of a group of Somali drummers, and listen to some Cuban rhythms. I had some wonderful porridge for breakfast.

When I go to look at the venue, Colston Hall, I find that instead of the usual soup they have a wonderful caterer who has made an organic Thanksgiving supper. I have pumpkin pie and turkey.

A superb audience. For the album my manager listened to hundreds of songs and picked 17. I do eight on the tour. I guess we tried to span 35 years somehow.

We travelled all night to Ipswich. There are bunks on the bus, but if we have an easy day we watch videos. I watched Mr Bean. He makes me laugh.

FRIDAY: In Ipswich we check in to the Belstead Brook. A beautiful place. This whole trip has been a bit of a tour of country manor houses. But I will be in London tomorrow for our Festival Hall dates, which are sold out. Then we go to Belfast and Dublin and then I can collapse on holiday. Today I must not to chat too much. I must whisper. I have already had one cold, which I sang through.

I am excited about the London shows. The papers finally seem to know what I am about, yet it is eight years since I have been really attentive to my music. The audiences are older, they have grown and changed with me.

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