Best ’60s Throwback
Janis Joplin Tribute (Mary Bridget Davies, Kacey Musgraves, and Nicki Bluhm)
Photo by Joshua Mellin
Fifty years ago, a feisty Texan by the name of Janis left the Lone Star State for the swinging city of San Francisco. “I just had to get away from Texas,” explained Joplin. “My head was in a much different place.” Joplin’s unique vocal style landed her with local psychedelic rock outfit Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the rest is history.
Ever since Joplin first journeyed to San Francisco back in ’63, she’s held a special place in the city’s heart. So, to honor the “Queen of Psychedelic Soul,” Outside Lands lined up a tremendous tribute. Broadway star Mary Bridget Davies teamed up with singer-songwriters Kacey Musgraves and Nicki Bluhm for an exceptional homage to Pearl, treating early arrivers to a half-dozen impeccable covers.
Photo by Amanda Koellner
Bluhm led off with “Me and Bobby McGee”, sashaying around the stage in a skintight, white lace jumpsuit and turquoise-studded belt. As the chorus came around, Bluhm’s smoky voice grew thick with conviction: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to looo-hooo-hooo-zee!” Opting for a down-tempo ditty, Musgraves tapped “Mercedes Benz”, smacking her tambourine to the beat.
But despite strong efforts from Bluhm and Musgraves, Mary Bridget Davies stole the show. Davis, fresh off a stint playing Janis in the Broadway musical A Night with Janis Joplin, channeled the Texas singer’s quirks and flourishes to a tee. Harkening back to Joplin’s iconic performance at the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival, Davis shrieked and screamed until her face turned beet red on “Ball and Chain”. –Henry Hauser