Clad in a sparkly sequined jacket she acquired before the show on Saint Marks Place in the East Village that matched her ebullient personality, Buffy Sainte-Marie and her band (Mark Olexson - bass, Anthony King - guitar, and someone who is not her usual drummer) performed a 90 minute set that was amazing to witness considering Buffy turned 80 this past February. I first became familiar with Buffy from her guest appearances on Sesame Street back in the late '70s when I was a kid so I was especially happy later in the set when she reprised "Cripple Creek" from the children's television show along with her mouthbow, but sadly without the horse muppet to accompany her.

Buffy also performed her well-known song, "Universal Soldier," the anti-war song written in protest of the United States' involvement in Vietnam. The song got her blacklisted from radio by Presidents Johnson and Nixon back in the day, but it is incredible how relevant the lyrics remain over fifty years later.

The song "Up Where We Belong" was recorded by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes and used in the 1982 movie "An Officer and a Gentleman," and garnered Buffy and writing partners Jack Nitzsche and Will Jennings the Academy Award for Best Original Song. She joked before starting the song that she won an award for a song she didn't even have to sing, and as she and her band played it, eventually heading into the popular chorus, I could hear murmurs of recognition.

Her songs are full of stories and she does not shy away from politics. By the level of energy she exhibited, I never would have guessed she was an octogenarian. I walked away from her show completely energized and inspired.

Also of note: Buffy had a red dress hanging to the left of the drum kit, a nod to The REDress Project, which artist Jaime Black created in "response to the more than 1000 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada."

Naia Kete opened, playing a mostly solo, hour-long set alternating between acoustic guitar and keyboard with the exception of two songs towards the end of her set during which she was joined for a song each by teenagers with whom she had recently worked in a mentoring program.

More pictures (including one of the setlist) and some videos from the show below...

photos and review by Ellen Qbertplaya

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