Her career was incredibly brief, but Janis Joplin actually played Atlanta — well, Hampton — churning out a seven-song set at the first Atlanta International Pop Festival on July 5, 1969.
That was about six weeks before she’d wake up Woodstock with an electrifying middle-of-the-night performance and some 15 months before she would die of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. While there might not be that many people who can claim to have seen her in person here, Joplin’s music touched the ’60s generation in a way that continues to resonate today, says “A Night with Janis Joplin” star Mary Bridget Davies.
“At one show, there was man in his 60s wearing a motorcycle vest with Vietnam vet patches on it,” said Davies, who brings her Tony-nominated portrayal of Joplin to the Fox Theatre for one show only Sunday night. “We were doing ‘(Me and) Bobby McGee,’ and he was crying. It was, ‘I can’t even look at you. You were probably 18 when you were in Vietnam and going through all that, and that song probably came out and saved your life.’ Because that’s what music is. That’s what music does.”
On the other hand, “It’s not all white-haired people out there” in the audiences for the show, which is currently on a 34-city tour of North America. “Vinyl is cool again. All the people in their 20s and 30s, they know her stuff and they have such genuine respect for it.”
And she respects them right back.
“I make sure to do the stuff that’s most memorable — the intro to ‘Summertime,” the scream at the end of ‘Piece of My Heart,'” Davies, 37, said. “They’re instantly recognizable and I don’t want to half-step anything. I was a Janis fan myself before I was anything else.”
For ticket information, go to www.foxtheatre.org.