A CHRONOLOGY OF APPEARANCES
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001
 

1983.04.24  Wembley Arena  London, England

This evening concert was videotaped by the BBC; an edited
version was broadcast on the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test
and simulcast by BBC Radio 1 on June 19.


» This Concert is a part of the 1983 Refuge World Tour.

Image Gallery   [click to enlarge, then arrow keys to browse]:
Photo by Pete Still
Photo by Pete Still
Photo by Pete Still
Ticket for this evening's concert.
Front cover of 16-page program.
Back cover of program.
[pjansen]

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Related articles from the Library:
» Joni Mitchell in London at Wembley Arena (New Musical Express, 1983)
» Joni Mitchell/Wembley Arena (Financial Times, 1983)
» Wembley: Joni Mitchell (Guardian, 1983)

Related video from the Library:
» (You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» A Case Of You Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Amelia Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Big Yellow Taxi Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Carey Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Chinese Cafe Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Free Man In Paris Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» God Must Be A Boogie Man Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Solid Love Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Song For Sharon Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)
» Woodstock Wembley Arena - London, England (1983)

Comments on this appearance


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jchpeacelily on 2013-Oct-25 at 05:08:20 GMT-5:
I was so excited to see Joni Mitchell at last! A rare happy memory of my Dad was being a pillion rider on his motorbike in 1970 aged 12 singing Big Yellow Taxi, which was playing everywhere that summer. I loved her from that moment on but only really started getting into her albums about 7 years later - For the Roses was the first. So, by age 25, at the time of the concert, I knew all her albums to that point well, and played them often. The concert remains one of my most cherished memories. It was an especial thrill to hear, live, tracks from my (still) favourite album, Hejira (with all those other great musicians - Pat Metheney et al), but the finest, most goose-pimply, trembly moment for me was A Case Of You. Happy 70th for next month, lovely, inspiring, Joni. Yes, do please return to the UK! :o) x

SONG FOR JONI (BY JCH) (1994)

They said you were an acquired taste
Your cult following consistent and true
Mediocrity laid to waste
When I listened to you

You sang about strong women and weaker men
Lost loves, broken hearts and all you went through
Your soul spoke to mine again and again
When I listened to you

Chorus:
And I listened to you every day of my life
Year upon year, every day of my life
Your soul spoke to mine every day of my life
When I listened to you

You captured the core of all my dreams
My fantasies, realities and loves I knew
Each song spoke to me new and awesome themes
When I listened to you

And now, the novice, I sit up here
In pained aspirations of sounds fresh and new
Recalling inspirations of all those times
When I listened to you

Chorus ...

  [ed.]  [ed.]
Jasper on 2009-Dec-01 at 11:53:50 GMT-5:
I was there. Wembley Arena isn't the greatest but she was fantastic. I well up with affection thinking back down the roads to then. The gig was far too short, she could have sung all night and it would not have been enough!!

My wife - who isn't as much of a fan - asked what I thought after and my response was she could have sung 'Won't you come home Bill Bailey' and I'd have been happy.

What an awful shame we haven't seen more of Joni in the UK she's the voice of a generation and just too missing here. I also missed her in 1974 - living in Dundee didn't help

Perhaps everyone in the UK should deluge her with emails begging her to come again....  [ed.]
NickDuvet on 2009-Nov-02 at 00:01:58 GMT-5:
What I remember most about seeing Joni Mitchell at Wembley Arena in 1983 is the way she moved. The girl I went with and I were both struck by it. Joni is singing and playing her guitar and swinging her hips. Sensuous, sexy, call it what you will, she was clearly having fun. You would have to credit her marriage to Klein for her high spirits.
Apart from the occasional musical hiccup, which you can hear on the recording when she fluffs a few changes on the dulcimer, Joni sings and plays flawlessly, as do the band. Just one correction to Bill Pannifer's post. Vinnie Colaiuta is a drummer (par excellence). The keyboard player on this tour was Russell Ferrante. Again, credit to Joni for being able to assert herself in the midst of these heavyweight players.
The highlights of the set for me included Free Man in Paris, Amelia, Don't Interrupt the Sorrow and Woodstock.
And finally, the sound. I'd have to disagree with Bill when he suggests the sound wasn't great at times. I have been to many concerts at that venue and I can honestly say the sound on that night was the best I have ever heard there. For an arena show it was as good as it gets.
As someone who was just too young to have seen Joni when she played at Wembley Stadium with CSN&Y in 1974, I am glad I got to see her in 83. She remains one of my all-time musical heroes.


Archival comments


From Bill Pannifer:

I'd been listening to Wild Things for several months. "Scratchy cocktail rock" one critic called it, but I thought it fresh and concise. In any case I made sure I had good seats for my first (and so far only) Joni appearance, a single, sold-out UK show in the 10,000-seat Wembley Arena.

Joni looks good, stylish--a grey striped jacket, beret, sort of baggy breeches ending at the tops of her boots. She also seems nervous. I'm nervous too, but that's because I'm wielding some rather obvious stereo microphones. "Hello London," she says rather hesitantly. That's OK. I don't want professional confidence from her, don't want her to play the trouper.

Free Man to start. I'm delighted. (I admit it-- first time I walked the Champs Elysees I was singing this out loud!). Also surprised she's hit us with such a crowdpleaser so soon. The sound's not quite there yet, and and the band are still warming up. Throughout the show, unfairly, I have the Shadows and Light versions in my head, but this isn't Weather Report. Something about Vinnie (Vinvin, she calls him) Colaiuta's keyboard work seems a bit lame, and the drums sometimes struggle to catch up. With Cotton Avenue it hits me just how LOUD it is: power chords and mean guitar and rather mushy bass from the speakers. My s.o. winces: she's not a fan, but has a background liking for "campfire Joni"- Circle Game, Taxi, etc.- and she wasn't expecting this assault.

Larry paces about busily, seriously, in tight leather pants. He's holding everyone together, and is also, inevitably, on display: "My husband, Larry Klein." Only with Song for Sharon does everything click into place: a simplified version of the original which lopes along and has time to take hold, while Joni also connects with it vocally, her emphasis building, with dramatic bits of guitar punctuation, to the penultimate verse...then resolving almost defiantly. The acoustic classics get the best response, of course. Carey- a song she says started off negative but lost most of its vinegar as time went by- *is* very scratchy and she laughs it off. "I told you it's been a while!" Then Amelia, with only Michael Landau's spare sustain in place of Metheney's coda, but still a haunting end to the first half.

Second set - with seven songs from the new album- is more fluent, with the band obviously more at home with the material, and Joni more visibly having fun. You're So Square slips back into swing mode at the end. With an obsessive's smugness, I delight in the little lyric changes. Don't Interrupt The Sorrow gets a somewhat grittier makeover. "He had lots of other women--clandestine!"-- and Both Sides Now (inspired by Saul Bellow, she tells us) has turned comprehensively agnostic: "I really don't know...I don't know at all." Only Chinese Cafe fails to work, for me: the musical cleverness needs a studio to bring it off. A minority opinion no doubt!

Woodstock (79-style, thanks) is thrilling. And nothing has prepared me for Marvin Gaye as an encore! I love it. The critics seem to think it presumptuous, a stilted white take on a soul classic. But it works: she's not taking on a tradition, just having fun. "This is a woman who tries to rock in...*plus-fours*" sneers one review, but in general coverage is grudgingly positive--given this is not a friendly time for those who began their careers in the sixties.

I just want her back. The press-only showcase for Turbulent Indigo doesn't count. Joni, it's been thirteen years! Please!

Set List:

Free Man in Paris
Coyote
Cotton Ave
Edith & the Kingpin
Turn Me On (I'm A Radio)
You Dream Flat Tyres
Song for Sharon
God Must be a Boogie Man
For Free
Big Yellow Taxi
A Case of You
Carey
Amelia
Wild Things Run Fast
Ladies Man
Raised on Robbery
Don't Interrupt the Sorrow
Refuge of the Roads
You're So Square
Solid Love
Chinese Cafe
Help Me
Love
Both Sides Now
Underneath the Streetlight
Woodstock
Heard It Through The Grapevine