A Chronology of Appearances

This work-in-progress lists all currently known appearances, drawn from a variety of sources.
Researched, Compiled, and Maintained by Simon Montgomery, © 2001-2024.
Special thanks to Joel Bernstein for his contributions and assistance.
Latest Update: March 21, 2024
Please send comments, corrections or additions to: simon@icu.com

1969.08.16 Joni's next appearance Auditorium Theatre Chicago, IL

Joni performed at the very first concert appearance by
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Early & Late Show.

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  • Ad Published in the Chicago Tribune <br>June 29, 1969; pg. E8
  • Ad published in the Chicago Tribune<br>June 29, 1969; pg. NW10
  • Ad published in the Chicago Tribune
August 16, 1969; <br>page NB18

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weaselriot on

Actually, there was originally supposed to be only one show (at 8:00 p.m.) at the Auditorium that night (August 16), but a second show was added due to brisk sales, so the times changed to 7:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

I was at the early (7:00 p.m.)show with two friends. Though I was from Winnetka, Illinois at the time, I had to endure an excruciating six hour bus ride from Whitehall, Michigan (where my family summered). I met my friends in Winnetka, then we rode the commuter train into the loop. We took a cab from the train station and the cab driver rear-ended a station wagon driven by an indignant North Shore matron type just one block away. We got out and hoofed the rest of the way. We were three long-time Buffalo Springfield fans going to see CSN(Y), but we were aware of Joni Mitchell's already growing reputation (I remember the Chicago Tribune called her "a beautiful performer in her own right", or something like that).

We made the start of the show, and Joni opened with "Chelsea Morning". I also specifically remember "The Fiddle and the Drum", "Rainy Night House" and "For Free". "For Free" in particular seemed to be the audience favorite that night. Joni performed strictly solo, just a stool and mic stand for her acoustic guitar numbers (some of which she performed standing with hips asway). And on the left side of the stage (as seen from the audience) was a grand piano for her solo piano numbers. She wore the same green gown that she can be seen wearing on her Dick Cavett appearance three nights later. The stage lights made her hair appear to be a bright yellow rather than blond, which made a striking appearance with that green gown.

Crosby, Stills and Nash then performed two sets as headline act, the first set opening all-acoustic with the first side of their (then) only album. Neil Young joined them onstage after a few numbers, wearing a beige suit with flared trousers, and remained for the rest of their concert. CSNY was pretty shaky at first, with somebody (I think it was Nash) hitting a very jarring flat right from start at the word "point" in "It's getting to the point..." ("Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", the very first song). We chalked that up to first night jitters, but they were like that again at Woodstock (okay, maybe that was due to playing in the wee hours during a steady drizzle). As it turned out, I have found that for some reason CSNY seem to struggle with their vocals when performing all-acoustic before an audience, but do much better in their electric sets. And that pretty much was what happened that night as well. The highlight of the much-improved second set was "Wooden Ships", by the way.

At the intermission between the two CSN(Y) sets, the consensus in the lobby while drinking overpriced lemonade ($1.00 for a tiny little 6 oz. carton) was that it looked as though Joni Mitchell had stolen the show. Even the much-improved second set did not change that opinion, in my view at least.

During their encore, CSN(Y) was joined onstage by Joni for a version of the Youngbloods' "Come Together". Her note-perfect performance that night was in stark contrast to the frequently flat harmonies of CSN(Y), especially during the acoustic numbers. I initially came away disappointed but I subsequently learned that they would never really sound any better than they did that night. And at least they got better and better as the show wore on. But I still became a big fan of Joni Mitchell that night (bought her two albums "Songs to a Seagull" and "Clouds" the next day).

Rich  [ed.]  [ed.]  [ed.]  [ed.]