Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh
Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016
Last month, seventy-seven-year-old folk singer Peter Yarrow hosted a career-spanning concert at Raleigh’s Fletcher Opera Theater. It stretched well beyond three hours, as it should have.
Yarrow has been everywhere, it seems, so he has many interesting stories to share from his fifty-year career. He told most of them. An early highlight came through a tribute to fallen Peter, Paul, and Mary bandmate, Mary Travers. He asked the crowd to join him in singing, to lighten the tone by mirroring her voice. The audience obliged; by the evening’s second song, Yarrow had the entire crowd singing along.
Yarrow also spent time discussing his latest advocacy effort, Operation Respect. His song “Don’t Laugh at Me” discusses acceptance of all people regardless of race, color, creed, body type, sexual orientation, or economic status. He also took time to discuss the late Pete Seeger and being at his bedside just before he passed.
Roughly two hours after starting, Yarrow filled the stage with audience members for a sing-along of “Puff the Magic Dragon.” It seemed as though this was the end of the concert, but Yarrow mentioned he would be out in the lobby signing his children’s books before starting a second set. Most audience members acted surprised, and most actually stayed. As the second set began, Yarrow rolled off roughly twenty songs that had been requested, including a host of Bob Dylan covers that Peter, Paul and Mary helped make famous.
The evening ended with the audience singing once again—this time, standing with hands interlocked for “We Shall Overcome.”
Peter Yarrow, “Leaving on a Jet Plane”