A CHRONOLOGY OF APPEARANCES
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001
 

1970.01.17  Royal Festival Hall  London, England

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Anita Gabrielle Tedder's ticket stub

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Related articles from the Library:
» Heart's Spokesman (Guardian, 1970)
» Joni Mitchell: ‘Preaching Platitudes to the Converted’ (New York Herald Tribune, 1970)
» Joni: 'My personal life is a shambles' (Disc and Music Echo, 1970)
» Joni—the girl with no secrets (Disc and Music Echo, 1970)

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From "Concerts Attended", a music exam project by Anita Gabrielle Tedder (aged 15)

17 January 1970

When I heard that my idol, Joni Mitchell, was doing a solo concert at the Royal Festival Hall, I could hardly restrain myself from singing out loud; in fact I sang through all the songs on her two LP's in the bath to celebrate. I had waited for this concert for over a year, since I first hear her incredible music. I telephoned and booked the tickets only three hours after telephone booking opened. I was amazed to receive tickets in row T in the 25 shilling seats! I had expected to be very near the front but I found out that 12 hours after booking opened, the seats were a quarter sold out.

Joni can scarcely be described as a folk singer anymore, her songs have become too complex. They still have the Joni Mitchell stamp, though. Her song "Both Sides Now" is currently a hit for Judy Collins, another folk singer with a very nice voice.

The lights dimmed and the red stage spotlights came on. I could not quite grasp the fact that there was Joni Mitchell! Joni is an excellent guitar player on her records. I was shocked when she began playing exactly as on the record; I did not believe it was possible to play and sing like that at the same time. She opened with "Chelsea Morning" and carried on to sing many of her famous hits including "Cactus Tree". I was astounded again when she went over and played the piano. She played a new number called "He played real good for free". The applause after each song was deafening. She concluded the first half bathed in mauve lights singing "Both Sides Now".

The second half opened with "Marcie"; the real Marcie was in the audience followed by "Nathan La Franeer". She then sang two more songs on the piano; one called "Two Houses" and the new Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young single "Woodstock". She then gave us a description of how, when she was in Hawaii, she had seen a lovely sight: flowers in the sun with a beautiful aroma from all sides. The palm trees by golden sands and the sky was a beautiful blue. Right in the middle of this beautiful scene was a parking lot. This prompted her to write a comic song called "They Paved Paradise and Put Up A Parking Lot". It was a sort of rock and roll beat. The lights alternated between blue and red. Before she finished the song, the lights were accidentally switched off and all that could be heard was Joni screeching with laughter. This really broke the ice and there were many cheers and laughter.

She finished, so she thought, with her last song. She went off. The uproar was the most fantastic thing I have ever witnessed. Everybody, and I mean everybody, leaped to their feet and shouted for more. She came back,bowed and went off. Three or four minutes elapsed and still she did not reappear. Nobody moved but kept on yelling for more. At last she came back and sang one of her best songs "Michael from Mountains". She went off again and exactly the same thing happened. She had to sing another song. She asked what song we would like. One chap yelled above the rest "Chelsea Morning". She pointed out that she had already sung that once, but he insisted. "That'll teach you to come in late". He replied "PLEASE sing Chelsea Morning". She obliged him with two verses. She sang her encore in which we all had to join in the chorus, "And the seasons they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down. We're captive on a carousel of time. We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came, and go round and round and round in the circle game." We all enjoyed singing that.

Everyone stayed and continued shouting. Five minutes elapsed. She had to come back. She sang a song about smiling at people and loving everybody. I was deliriously happy in fact so was everyone else in the sold out hall. We sang the chorus about ten times, clapping our hands and crying with laughter. She had to go this time. When she did not return, we all took up a football chant of "More". It was so incredible. I was very unhappy when it finished. I don't know how Joni manages to obtain this atmosphere. The words in her songs remove any doubts I ever have that life is a drag and that people are all hypocrites. She makes me see the good things in life and renews my spirit. Any cynics would be less cynical if they listened to the words of her songs. The melodies are also beautiful and very unusual. Obviously, I could write an entire music project about Joni and her numerous songs. Just one more word. Joni communicates to me what she, me and all the young people who were at the concert desire more than anything in the world. Freedom.

"Fly silly seabird
No dreams can possess you
No voices can blame you
For sun on your wings
My gentle relations
Have names they must call me
For loving the freedom
Of all flying things
My dreams with the seagulls fly
Out of reach out of cry".