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From JM.com's Official Reporter Roger Walker
What a beautiful and *intense* evening in Indianapolis.
After the opening act, Joni walked out alone and offered up a wonderful solo version of "Big Yellow Taxi". The crowd loved it! She and the rendition were breathtakingly beautiful! Not surprisingly, she again give us her best Dylan impersonation during the song... and the crowd literally screamed with delight! She's smiling and acknowledging her fans. What a way to start out! Already it feels like this one's gonna be a memorable one!
The set, (see above) not too unlike the shows before, was done flawlessly. It amazes me just how together she, Larry, Brian, Greg and Chris Botti were. It seems like they get better and better as time slides bye.... (and this certainly bodes well for those going to the upcoming shows!)
Whatever soundboard problems there were in past shows have been rectified. Kudos to the sound folks! The music and her vocals enveloped the arena like honey in a jar.
The "Black Crow"-"Amelia"-"Hejira" part of the set was truly incredible! I've seen her do these before, but *never* like this! There were times when I thought that I was somehow inside the music. A part of it. I dunno exactly how to put it... but you know what I'm saying.
She introduces "Face Lift" as a "Christmas" song and proceeds to do it with a passion and intensity that made me shiver as I recalled events that have occurred in my life over the years.
Then, as she is preparing to do "Sex Kills", Joni decides that she's had enough of the two idiots in the front and rips them. Apparently, they have been rude for the entire show and she simply had had it with them. I'll leave it to others to tell the story in more detail. For those of us at this show, though, it was a turning point!
(Notes from Wally on "the incident"- I've been able to listen to Joni's performance in Indianapolis from last month, including her supposed tirade towards certain noisy audience members. Here's what I hear on the tape:
During "Face Lift," Joni is distracted by two drunks in the first rows. She over-emphasizes a few phrases during the song, sounding as if she's spitting her vocal phrases out directly at them, particularly on the line "Snap out of it!"
As she finishes the song and the applause begins, Joni goes off on the culprits, saying: "You're a couple of rude assholes. You know, you really are. Why do you bother to come to a concert and sit there and smirk and giggle and everything? You know, you're drunken little fucks! You're ruining it for everybody that wants to hear me. You maybe don't want to hear me, but why do you have to sit in my face? If you don't wanna listen, then get out of here until Bobby comes on, eh? You're ruining my performance! " Joni isn't screaming while she says this, just stating her case bluntly and firmly.
She then launches into a rougher than usual version of "Sex Kills."
After she finishes "SK," Joni starts into the story behind her next song, "The Magdalene Laundries," but a few fans yell out their support for her previous outburst, so she says "Oh, thank you" to the audience, and adds: "I'm just a tempermental artist, aren't I? (Audience applauds and hoots) No, it's inhibiting. They were mimicking the way I move, and giggling and everything. It's inhibiting. It's hard to get over. We're human up here. It's not a movie."
Her voice and performance sound just fine before the incident but IMHO she never truly recovers her concentration afterwards. She's biting off the ends of her sentences throughout the rest of her shortened set, and is upset enough that she completely skips her usual encore song "Woodstock."
(Back to Roger's report)-"Sex Kills" was more kick-a$$ than can be imagined! She and the boys absolutely took this one through the roof! It's like they turned a funky (and potentially disastrous) event into a no-holds-barred, 'THIS is what we're here for' kinda thing. It's like they tasted the borderline, then crossed it, turning it into an incredible offering.... take it or leave it!
Immediately after, she starts "The Magdalene Laundries" and offered it up with the same meticulous delivery and sensitivity that just chills you to the bone.
Still smokin'... she takes off the guitar for the Marvin Gaye and Billy Holiday numbers, Trouble Man and Comes Love. By now the entire crowd is on it's feet! This has turned into an intense event for all! Joni has completely blown the the crowd away! Her "either your with me or a'gin me" demeanor has put the crowd on notice... and they're overwhelmingly with her! These final two numbers were done so-o well that even the security people were spellbound! She was absolutely killer! No encore tonight. It wouldn't have worked anyway.
Thanks to Joni and her management folks for allowing photographs to be taken during part of the show. Thanks, too, to Wally for allowing me to be the one to do it. I hope that you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed capturing them for you.
Get tickets... this was amazing!
Big Yellow Taxi
Just Like this Train
Night Ride Home
Crazy Cries of Love
Free Man in Paris
The Magdalene Laundries
REPORTS FROM THE INTERNET COMMUNITY
(From:firstname.lastname@example.org)-After attending the Indianapolis show and reading the Chicago reviews, I was disheartened to hear that the same problems arose with the over anxious Dylan fans in the Indiana crowd. Joni called out to the two "rude little fucks" as she called them, in the second row mentioning their mocking would kill her performance. Afterwards she responded with an agressive version of Sex kills which proved her striking style and performance were alive and well. Joni's music was rich and soulful with strength deepened by the years. It was unfortunate the Dylan only fans could not appreciate the quality of Joni's musical talents and could not look above the mismatch of this venue. The Woodstock encore never came, but the impatient Dylan fans got their untuned stratocaster sooner than some could have expected.
(From:email@example.com)-I drove to Indianapolis from Louisville Ky. to hear my first Joni Mitchell concert. I went to the show with my husband who is not as big a fan as I am. I was surprised at the many empty seats and was afraid that her music would be lost in an arena of this size. The warm up band was good and knew when to leave.
Joni took the stage by herself playing Big Yellow Taxi. Her voice was strong and I was very impressed with the sound of her guitar. She ended the song doing the rapper thing on Janet Jackson's Got Til It's Gone. I loved it. I can't remember the playlist because I was totally immersed in her performance. I liked the way the band is situated on stage with Brian Blade off to the side looking at Joni, and the rest of the players have such a great feel for her music. Now I will address Bob Dylan fans who for some reason have no respect for Joni's music. I sat on the floor in row 20. Right behind me was a Bob Dylan fan who decided to be as loud and obnoxious as possible when Joni was singing Hejira, one of my favorite songs. Needless to say I was very agitated and gave this fellow a glance that would kill. Well he was so impressed that he got even louder to which I told him to shut up. I think I called him a weasel or something like that, anyway after that confrontation the weasel left his seat. Hooray!! It wasn't very long after that when Joni confronted a couple of guys in the front. I couldn't see what happened but apparently they were mocking her. I don't know what she said for sure but she ended a short tirade by calling them a couple of dumbfucks. Now this might bother some people but I thought it was great. My husband was impressed with her spunk and I thought she had every right to say what she did. After that confrontation she played with even more fire. I love her version of Trouble Man and when she lights up a cigarette and sings that Billie Holiday song she sings like she was born to be a jazz singer. She did not come out for and encore which was disappointing but in all honesty I do not think that she was very happy with the response from the crowd.
(From:firstname.lastname@example.org)-This show was wonderful. Despite the disruption of someone in the crowd she proved herself worthy of some magnificant title. She was polished and professional and a little edgy.æ Though the vioce has lost some of the range it remains distinctive, haunting, and as always a leader in music performance and a major artist. I'd love to see her in a smaller place with better accoustics, and a more sophisticated audience.
(From:SteveD6@aol.com)-Wally, as a 25yr fan of Joni, it was upsetting to see the disrespect she suffered at the Indpls show. How I would have loved to have had the seats up front that the "little fucks" as she so rightly called them had. I heard one x'er say, "Dylan had better be good after that ". I turned to him and said , "do you know any of the songs? If you did you wouldn't feel that way!" Another young man said Joni was "bitchy" for complaining about the "little fucks". What about respect for one of the true artists in rock. Joni belongs on a short list of artists from Buddy Holly, Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson, to Dylan of course. There are not many others. Who will be remembered 50yr. from now? She will be! I had long since given up ever seeing her, I'm so glad she toured the Midwest. Tell her people here love her too. I hope she knows that and it helps make up for the rudeness she encountered. We "Boomers" really need her!
(From:LOstrow821@aol.com)-We were at the Indy show. It was incredible. We met her by accident alone later after the show. She touched our souls. We have seen her in Co., Oh.,New Orleans, twice in Ca. last May and in Indy the other night. We were hoping to get to New York but are going to the show in Atlanta instead. The good tickets are sold out but we are lucky people.
Libby, Lonnie and Julie
(From:Kevin_E_Licht@email.whirlpool.com)-I realize it's been a week since the Indy show so this review has lost some of its edge. But here's the Indianapolis Star's review for those interested.
Joni Mitchell (***), often portrayed as the genius that time forgot, confidently delivered a set of forward-looking jazz numbers before Dylan took the stage.
Opening with an upbeat rendition of 'Big Yellow Taxi', the summery Mitchell put a smooth, Steely Dan spin on most of her material.
Mitchell's vocal phrasing and timbre worked as a sophisticated, humanized trumpet (as a result, her band's brass player was overshadowed).
Unfortunately, her momentum snagged with an overlong reading of 'Amelia'.
Obviously the reviewer for the paper was not a big Joni fan. Hate to sound like a broken record here, but for my wife and I this show really brought home the notion that Joni needs to play smaller venues, and be the only, or at least, headlining act. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic show, and when she lashed out at the hecklers, I felt like I was in third grade and the teacher had just screamed at the whole class. We had 'nearly front row seats, to the right side of the stage' (3rd row, actually) and the scene was very intense. Of course instead of walking off stage like I feared she might, we received the most blazing version of 'Sex Kills' I could ever imagine. Still, it's a damn shame she has to put up with those who have no idea who they're witnessing perform.
(From:email@example.com)-Sitting in the audience at Market Square Arena I couldn't help feeling that those around me were unable to appreciate the true rarity and beauty of what we had before us. Joni Mitchell is one of the finest artists of our time, not just in popular music but in the whole of western culture and to have the opportunity to see and hear her perform is genuinely meaningful. I can only second the thoughts of others about hearing her in a more intimate venue, but under the circumstances I was impressed with the quality of the sound. Having never seen her live I was also impressed with her presence on stage and the way she moved, which reminded me of the compact intensity of a Flamenco dancer. That made it even more offensive to see her suffer the mimicry and abuse of the buffoons in the front. Her comment to the crowd about how inhibiting that kind of behavior is really spoke to the attitude of casual disrespect so many seem to feel. "We're people up here, you know," she said. "This isn't a movie." (pardon me if I didn't get the quote quite right)
I was delighted to be present and hear so many of my favorites, although I was surprised she only played two of the songs from TTT. After an evening like that, it is tempting to give up normal life for the next days and follow the tour!
Thanks for giving us such a great forum, Wally.
(From:firstname.lastname@example.org)-Just to set the record straightƒ I was at the Indy concert in the 2nd row dead center. What Joni said was, ñYou two DRUNK FUCKS are ruining my performance.î The ironic thing is that these two people were actully huge fans of hers but they were drunk, and were constanly screaming out her lyrics (B4 she sang them). Just B4 she sang sourgrapes, I hear this woman scream SOURGRAPES!!! It was quite annoying. The worst is that they were drunk and falling all overthemselves and other people and jumping up and down. Joni assumed that they were mocking her or something to that effect and that they were only there to see ñBobby.î She told them to ñwait for Bobbyî if they were going to act like that. Right after this altercation Joni ripped into Sex Kills. It was explosive! The skin on my back was standing up! At the end of the concert Joni from the back of the stage looked at the two drunk fucks and apologized to them for humiliating them in front of 1000's of people. She did this with a hand wave, a look, and a small bow. She also mouthed something like peace. The concert was excellent!
Doug Van Houten
(From:SherryH234@aol.com)-Wally - I drove for two hours to see Joni in Indianapolis, Indiana. I hadn't seen her for almost 20 years so I was heady with excitment. I was in heaven by the time she sang Amelia and I was jamming by the time she beat out Sex Kills. I had feared that I would never get to see her preform live again.
I too, was disheartened at the disrespect that she received from the idiots in the front row. If nothing else, I hope that she knows that there were many, many Joni fans here in the Midwest. Market Square Arena was too large and impersonal - I would have liked to see her in an intimate venue full of adoring fans. Dylan was incredible - more so that I would have ever imagined - but I came to see Joni. I was disappointed that she didn't do an encore, I felt that her anger at the 'little fucks' short-changed her fans.
The demographics of the crowd was interesting in that there was a large majority of parents who were there with their teenage children. Of the ones I spoke to, what was interesting was the parent had come to hear one preformer, the kid had come to hear the other!
She started off the concert, just her and her guitar with Big Yellow Taxi and everyone was on their feet. After that we got to relax and be carried away by her incredible sound. I must admit that I had tears in my eyes most of the evening - it was soooo wonderful to see her again. What she gave us was pure perfection - we love you Joni! Please come again and leave Bobby behind! Sherry Henshaw
(From:email@example.com)-After being a huge fan for 30+ years, I finally got to hear her in concert.
I went to the concert with no preconceived notions of what the show might be like. I thoroghly enjoyed her show from virtually every perspective. In spite of less than ideal surroundings,æ she knew how to play the hall. As stated by in another review, it would be awesome to see her in a smaller venue with an audience of true Joni fans, but that is probably just a pipe dream. æ
My only disappointment was the fact that she did not play an acoustic guitar on any of her pieces. I know the electric guitar she is playing must be extremely convenient, but I have yet to her ANYæ guitar (acoustic or electric) with internal electronics produce the same tone quality as a fine acoustic guitar using a high quality microphone. Again, a smaller venue would be more condusive to the inclusion of an acoustic guitar. æ
I did not witness the sophomoric behaviour of the unruly Dylan fans, but did hear her tirade addressed to them. The increase in intensity following the confrontation was striking, it is a shame the intesity was inspired by such boors instead of the love that Joni's fans have for her. I only hope she was cognizant of those feelings from the stage, it was strongly evident in the audience. æ
Although I also enjoyed the Dylan portion of the concert, it is a shame that the current Dylan fan base does not acknowledge that the poetry of both artists is what propelled them both to fame. Joni's poetry is marvelously enhanced by her incredible ability to marry music and words in such a way that the music enhances the words, and the words enhance the music. While Dylan's lyrics still have the same poetic weight, he has assembled a group of musicians that drive the meaning out of words in a lot of their renditions. æ
So nothing is perfect. But given the opportunity, I would go see both of them again,æ but preferably Joni!
(From:firstname.lastname@example.org)-Yes! I was there in the 7th row behind those two losers who pissed Joni off. They WERE being really stupid @ deserved the wrath of Xena...Joni was absolutely FABULOUS...I was the one who yelled "WE LOVE YOU JONI" after she had berated those fools...AND SHE ACKNOWLEDGED ME!!!! This nite will stand out in my memory over concerts like Led Zepp in the Forum when they debued 'Stairway', and countless others! Joni spoke to ME...we are zen now....It was a truly magical evening...she @ boys were superb !! SHE !! IS THE BEST!!! AND WE LOVE HER!!!
IT'S BEEN REAL!
1st Set: Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men
2nd Set: Joni Mitchell
3rd Set: Bob Dylan
In Indianapolis tonight, Joni was on top of her game and on top of the
crowd. She did *both* Big Yellow Taxi and Free Man In Paris early in
the show, and something from HOSL.
She was getting heckled by a couple of guys in the front row and she
lashed out at them, using some shocking language in the process. She
looked upset and consulted with Larry briefly. Rebounding with a
hurried Sex Kills, then on to an outstanding performance on Magdalene
Laundries. I've never heard it better. She did a show-stopping version
of Trouble Man- the audience gave her a standing ovation for it! Next,
we got Comes Love.
You ticket holders in the later cities have quite a show to look forward
to. My brother in law said that the show was "Excellent", and "great
Someone from the Dylan list:
Went to see Bob last night. But before he came on stage, this happened:
Joni got angry. Joni got mad. At Market Square Arena, Joni really got "bad."
After finishing "Happiness is the Best Facelift" during Monday's concert, Joni
Mitchell pointed and lashed out at a few fans who "smirked" at her, calling
them "filthy little shits."
Mitchell remained visibly shaken, and during another break between songs she
explained that the rude behavior breaks her concentration. "We're human up
here," she said.
During the last song, she lit up a cigarette in the no-smoking arena. When the
performance was over, she and her band left without an encore.
What I want to know is this: Is the cigarette part of the act? Does she
usually decline to do encores?
I was sitting in the 15th row last night at the Indianapolis show blissed out
by the "Amelia" and "Hejira" pair, beautifully rendered. I noticed how the
Indy crowd was the most respectful and quiet of the 5 shows I've seen this
year. It was a near-perfect setting with silence all around except for this
However, earlier I noticed a guy walking across the front row, holding his
drink up, and heading toward his seat, about 2nd row center. He was smiling
and talking to a friend and ignoring a performing Joni onstage 10 feet to his
right as he approached his seat. It was very conspicuous and I thought, "I
hope Joni isn't distracted by that". The night before in Chicago, Marsha,
Diana and I had discussed briefly how easily Joni gets distracted by one thing
in the audience.
Much later, after "Facelift", Joni points a finger and starts berating these
guys. I was stunned. I didn't transcribe everything but here's what I wrote
down later--this is only fragmentary, there's lots more, but I assure you,
it's NOT out of context. She was totally pissed off.
"You assholes....yes, you.......you're ruining my performance........you're
ruining it for everybody(raises her arms up and wide in an encompassing
gesture).......you rude little fucks......you're getting drunk and if you're
waiting on Bob then why don't you leave........."
The crowd cheered their support strongly, as did I. When she finished her
monologue, the band kicked into the most vitriolic, energetic "Sex Kills" one
can imagine. The band picked up her negative vibe and like master artists do,
transformed that energy of the moment into fine art of the moment. I'm
guessing I saw the most punk-like Joni performance ever. Brian Blade was
flailing and Joni was snarling. It was fantastic. I'm anxious to see if audio
or video will objectively confirm my impression later.
After "Sex Kills", she wasn't finished. Still upset, Joni mentioned something
about temperamental artists and then, explaining more to the audience about
what these 2 guys were doing, said, "they're mimicking the way I
move.........it's inhibiting.........we're human up here......it's not a
movie." She was still livid.
Then, a few notes into "Magdalene Laundries", Joni hit an awful bum chord due
to her obvious shakiness and then strummed the opening chord of the verse for
about 10 - 20 seconds. Her mind was elsewhere but not on the lyrics to the
song. I honestly thought she was going to walk off stage. She turned around to
Klein and asked "what's the first line?" or "gimme the first line". She then
completed the song.
Her composure regained a bit for the concluding two songs sans guitar,
"Trouble Man" and "Comes Love". They were fine performances. During "Trouble
Man" there's some line about "ain't gonna bother me" which she delivered with
venom and direct eye-contact to the culprits.
Not surprisingly, there was no encore. When the band gathered for the final
applause, Klein put his arm around Joni and kissed her on the temple.
The set list:
Big Yellow Taxi
Just Like this Train
Night Ride Home
Crazy Cries of Love
Free Man in Paris
Joni Tongue-Lashing #1
Joni Tongue-Lashing #2
Scott (from the Dylan list):
My wife and I were at Market Square Arena Monday night; she was there to
see Joni and I was there to see Bob. We both liked both sets.
Joni's band is quiet, nuanced, jazzy. It's a great, tight combo, with
nice horn and keyboard accents. It would be great to hear this group back
Bob on a few songs. As others have pointed out, the venue is way wrong
for Joni's music (it's not great for Bob either, several songs, especially
I'll Remember You, suffered from his "arena rock" singing).
Anyway, about halfway through Joni's set she confronted a few people near
the front who had been irritating her for a while (My seats were
unfortunately too far back to see what was going on in the crowd). My
recollection is that she called them "drunken assholes" and "stupid fucks"
who were "ruining it for everyone." She ended with "if you don't want to
hear me, then go out and wait till Bobby comes on, eh?" Then she launched
into an intense version of "Sex Kills." After Sex Kills she
semi-apologized for being "a temperamental artist". . . "we're human, what
you do out there affects us up here. . .we're not a movie." Good point--
too many people think they're at home watching MTV (one guy near me was
making calls on his cell phone during Bob's set!). The crowd was with her,
and her already good set got better after this outburst.
So, here's an artist who continually reinvents herself, playing new music
to a crowd that wants to hear something different than they're getting,
and some in the audience disrupt the performance. The artist responds by
confronting the crowd and turning the music up a notch. Sounds like a CD
I've been listening to a lot lately. I wonder if the "drunken assholes"
would have yelled "Judas" 30 years ago?
Anyway, enough of Joni. Bob was great.
This is Kingpin's twin brother reporting (late!).
I'm an occasional JMDL lurker and subbed in for the tour.
Thanks to Roger W. for arranging some activities and transportation
despite the fact we didn't all hook up at one time. Great report
and pictures on the web site. It was great fun meeting new folks.
This was my first Joni show and it was as spectacular as I
had hoped and expected. It was darn near other-worldly, and
the (not full) arena crowd was great, notwithstanding
the two jerks up front who bugged Joni into a frenzy on
"Sex Kills." I've seen the terrific JMDL video tree tapes
courtesy brother Bob and I can assure you, this version was
unlike any of those; it was even better.
I told Bob at the time "I bet no encore tonight!" which unfortunately
turned out right. I later said that it's no wonder she doesn't
tour much. I imagine she's at a point where she doesn't have to
take such crap. Of course, maybe if she was headlining...
Dave Alvin was a good warm-up who'll rock your socks off.
Dylan is in great form, whimsical and intriguing as much this
umpteenth time I've seen him. Highlights were "Can't Wait"
and "Tomorrow Is A Long Time (acoustic)." His full setlist
and other info, btw, can be found at
Here's hoping for a more-frequent-touring-Joni era!