A CHRONOLOGY OF APPEARANCES
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001
 

1998.10.28  The Palace of Auburn Hills  Auburn Hills, MI

» This Concert is a part of the 1998 Fall Tour of North America with Bob Dylan.

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Photo by Terry Matlen
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Related articles from the Library:
» Celestial Rockers Joni and Bob Shine Brightly (Flint Journal, 1998)

Comments on this appearance

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dashiell on 2012-Dec-12 at 18:07:07 GMT-5:
I am so glad that, after all these years, I discovered this website. I was at the Palace in 1998 when Joni and Bob played. That concert made me a Joni Mitchell fan. That spars, spooky sound of her band echoed throughout the building. The steel guitar blew me away. I loved her songs I loved her singing. I have always wondered what her conversation was this that person in the front row. I'd seen Bob Dylan perform before on a few occasions. That night, Joni Mitchell stole the show.


Archival comments


From JM.com's Official Reporters Marian Russell and Terry Matlen

FROM TERRY MATLEN:

I had the advantage of seeing the set in the 6th row, close to center. The sound system was perfect! Joni later said that her sound man was very pleased with the acoustics that night. There was supposed to have been a 40 minute break before her set, but she came swinging in about 10 minutes earlier and went right into her first song. Joni seemed serious and introspective in the beginning, playing solo, with little body movement or eye contact, and no chitter chatter to the audience. The crowd was well behaved, in general, and seemed intent on giving her their full attention. I got the sense that there was a general good feel to the crowd, and tremendous respect towards Joni's set. Plenty of woops, hollers and whistles cracked in the air after each song, but the folks settled down quickly in order to hear the next one.

The show began with the expected BYT. Joni was well rehearsed with this number, as it's been on the set list since May. The *wink-wink* Dylan impersonation was well received by the crowd. I think she could do this one in her sleep.

Just like this train was done to perfection. With each slap of the guitar strings you could feel Joni becoming more confident.

The band entered for Night Ride Home and sounded tight. Joni started to sway while singing, and you could see how wonderful she looked in her long, fitted tunic top and matching skirt. Both were a burgandy-garnet color, with rust-toned stems running through with sparkling gold thread. What a site, Joni in her autumnal finest. Her shoes were a neutral beige, wide strapped sandal. Her hair, parted down the middle, fell softly just below her shoulders, with a bit of cascaded soft curls at the bottom. She was radiant and beautiful.

Crazy Cries of Love was belted out and swung right into Free Man. The band was rocking and the crowd really started to get into the set.

Harry's House began slowly, but Chris Botti showed why he was chosen to replace Mark Isham on tour. His horn was thrilling to listen to. Again, no Centerpiece.

Joni then lit into a fast-paced rendition of Black Crow. The pounding bass almost made you visualize the crows beating wings.

At this point Joni stopped to talk about Ameila and Hejira. It was a nice change of pace which led into these beautiful songs. The steel guitar seeped in as if it were weeping. Brian's sticks were traded for brushes.

On completion of Amelia and Hejira, she thanked the audience and reminded them that she used to live in Detroit. She said that she had a few old friends in the crowd tonight, and that the next number was one that they had been practicing and she decided to add for us Detroiters.

The strumming began, only to have Joni stop. She mumbled an apology to the crowd, stared Brian Blade directly in the eyes, and started again. This strumming went on for a good two minutes without her beginning to sing then Brian got out his brushes and quietly picked up the beat. Joni nodded to him and the whole band kicked into Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. At this point, Larry flashed a couple of smiles her way. What more can I say?

Happiness came next, and the audience seemed a bit distracted at the new material. She gave a sultry emphasis to "she regrets that now" . This song was gorgeous, with Joni making the VG8 ringing clear as a bell. It was at this point that the woman in the crowd caught and held Joni's attention. She chided the woman when the song was complete, walking straight up to the edge of the stage, bending down, asking if she was o.k., or if something was wrong. "There's a critic in the front row", and to her: "enjoy yourself"! Joni then jokingly commented that she felt "like a race horse that can't run in the rain." Once the woman was singled out, she raised her fists as if cheering in her first high school game, and Joni continued her set with Sex Kills. Ironic? I think so. Either the mix of the set is making folks loose interest, or they have decided to put a ringer in the audience to get Joan pumped up for the second half of her set.

Magdalene Laundries was performed in the most sorrowful way that I have heard it to date. It brought tears to my eyes when she was singing. She did her usual intro to the song (those of you who have any of the tape tree concerts know what I mean) but sang with such feeling. Truly remarkable.

Moon at the Window was so jazzy. It was like watching a sport in slow motion. Everything just flowed. Brian Blade was excellent here, going from brushes to sticks to beating the drum like the folks did at the Pittsburgh fest. Joni really began grooving to the music at this point, using her hands to emphasis the lyrics. The band was introduced (I think???) after this song.

At this point Joni put down her guitar and said, "I'm going to do a little Motown for you" and proceeded to wow the crowd with Trouble Man. What can I say? It was SMOKING! SIZZLING! It just wowed me.

Comes Love was dripping wet sexy. She lit up a cig, took a step back, and held her hand under her elbow while taking a few deep puffs. She gave it her all, belting this one out. She *needs* to record the album of standards. Some in the crowd got lost with the old, slow Gershwin tune, but others saw and heard the heat and went crazy.

We clapped and stomped until Joni came back out with her guitar. She began to strum the opening chords of her encore when some yahoo yelled out "Play Woodstock" and she laughed, "This is Woodstock!".

Joni's set list:

Big Yellow Taxi
Just Like This Train
Night Ride Home
The Crazy Cries Of Love
Free Man In Paris
Harry's House
Black Crow
Amelia
Hejira
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
Face Lift
Sex Kills
The Magdalene Laundries
Moon At The Window
Trouble Man
Comes Love
Woodstock

FROM TERRY MATLEN:

It has been 17 days since our encounter with Joni in Detroit and I'm trying hard to remember every detail of the two meetings our group had with her in the Townsend Hotel, in Birmingham, Michigan.

Lady luck was looking down on us when we found Joni in the lobby, ready to leave for her soundcheck. There were 10 of us jmdler's (me, Amy, Robbert, Sue, Marian and her sister Jennifer, Jim, Jeanne, Mary, and Kelly) who had met at the Townsend for a pre and post concert party. We were a lively bunch up in our room, but the minute we realized that SIQUOMB herself had just breezed by, behind the potted palms, everyone just froze.

Realizing that our chance of a lifetime was about to be dashed, I called out her name and waved to her, prompting the rest of us to quietly surround her and exclaim how thrilled we were that she was back touring. Robbert had left a note at the hotel for Joni the night before, and when I explained that we were from "Wally's Website", she immediately relaxed and asked which one of us was Robbert. She acknowledged his note, saying she'd shared it with the rest of the band, grateful for his kind words about her earlier concert in Chicago which Robbert had attended. What a gracious, classy woman! She was warm, sweet and happy to chat with us.

Some of us had books and CDs with us and Joni graciously autographed them for us, spending about 10 minutes chatting with us about the earlier concerts and how the hecklers had gotten to her. It was at this point that Robbert pulled out his camera and asked me to take a couple of pictures with him and Joni. Obliging, I then asked him to shoot one of Joni and I. This is the photo Robbert took and you can see that I'm still in complete shock that I was standing next to the person who had such an impact on my life. Robbert proceeded to take a picture of Amy and then it was time for Joni to leave.

I reminded her that her fans were able to access info about her and join together worldwide, thanks to Wally's Website on JM.COM; she was noticeably pleased. I also want to publicly thank Wally for the privilege of covering the show for his Website. It truly was a dream come true.

FROM MARIAN RUSSELL:

Within a few seconds of the the house lights going out, I heard "Ladies and gentlemen ... please welcome ... Joni Mitchell!" Joni came out on the stage as everyone applauded and cheered enthusiastically, and she seemed to really appreciate that - she was smiling and she nodded forward gracefully a few times.

The first song, Big Yellow Taxi, was greeted with the typical delayed response from the crowd. It's surprising to me that people don't recognize this song immediately! But anyway, I think this is a great intro song for capturing the attention of folks who aren't familiar with her more recent music music.

The crowd seemed always very quiet and respectful. My sister, who was sitting in the center section of the floor, said that even people around and behind her were listening attentively and cheering enthusiastically after every song. Even the one person in the first row directly in front of Joni turned out to be an enthusiastic fan after Joni questioned her about why she was looking so unhappy. Joni had thought this woman was a critic and she was so distracted by her sour face that she interrupted Sex Kills to ask her what was wrong, at which point the woman smiled and started cheering for Joni. When Joni returned to the mike she said, "I guess I'm just like a race horse that can't run in the rain", and proceded to deliver a blistering version of Sex Kills.

Joni's singing was always clear, strong and flawless. She seemed really *on* and looked very beautiful in her wine-colored, close-fitting outfit. When the stage lights behind her were bright, she looked positively angelic with her halo of golden hair! She radiated beauty and warmth and sang every song with her whole heart. In many songs, she added nuances of grace notes and slightly different melodic phrasings. Not only is she a great composer, but she is also really inside of every song and creating during the performance - allowing her melodic imagination free reign during the delivery. There were times when I sat there just going "YES!" Oh, how I wish I had a recording of this concert, just so I could remember those really beautiful musical moments that are now somewhere out there in the universe of sound.

When Joni played the first verse of Hejira, I burst into tears. I don't know why. This song really moved me more than any other. It seemed her heart was even more in this one than in the others she had played, if that was possible.

It was great to hear Don Juan's Reckless Daughter live. She said "I'm going to do a new one now" and asked us to be patient for a few moments. At first I thought, "Oh my god! A new song!", until I recognized the chords to DJRD. She took some time getting into it and when she finally did - Wow! It really rocked and her whole band was so in tune with her.

Speaking of the band, all of them paid attention all of the time and every song was really tight. Brian Blade especially was totally attentive to Joni and always looked like he was having a wonderful time. The band was like a unified organism - sometimes real animated - other times real quiet - but always aware of itself as a whole - always integrated and flowing - always sensitive to Joni's lead.

Joni's delivery of Moon at the Window was very interesting, because at certain points in the song she actually took her right hand from the guitar to emphasize the singing - as if the guitar was not there. She opened her palm toward the audience and extended her arm downwards from the guitar. This song was a perfect prelude to Trouble Man and Comes Love. The crowd went absolutely wild when she did these. I think most people were totally astonished by these last songs of Joni's set. They were standing and cheering for Joni before the band even finished playing Comes Love!

My sister said that the whole floor was standing and cheering for Joni as she left the stage and she didn't make us wait long for the encore! Less than one minute! She came out and was starting to play Woodstock and someone yelled "Play Woodstock, Joni!" And she said "That's what I'm doing!" It was beautiful and the crowd was very appreciative.

It was a fabulous concert - an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life. I am very grateful to Wally Breese, to Terry Matlen and the Detroit people, to my husband and family, to my sister, and to Joni and the universe for the gift of this incredible experience! It was truly a blessing to have been there!

Marian Russell
Vienna, Austria

REPORTS FROM THE INTERNET COMMUNITY

(From:jmccall@umich.edu)-The concert was great! Joni played very well, although it did seem that she was a little bit nervous. She played all of the songs that she has played at her concerts throughout this year. She did good, but I liked " A Day in the Garden" so much better. This seemed way too much like just a routine, rather than something she really wanted to do. But I guess this is to be expected because the concert in NY was a one day thing, and this is a constant drain on her creativity and enthusiasm. But whatever, she still did great! I especially liked it when, during "comes love" she stopped and had a cigarette during the music interlude and then continued to sing holding it, it was so JONI-LIKE! I think she especially did good in with the songs from her new album, like "The Crazy Cries of Love." It was so cool to hear her play that her guitar! She also did wonderfully with "Harry's House." I love it when she really belts the notes out! It's incredible!

I do have a few complaints however. The first one is in response to the ongoing problem of respect to her performance. Once again, she had to deal with this annoyance ( although not as bad as in the previous concerts). I think it is HORRIBLE that these people are so immature and disrespectful to be so rude as to express their impatience with her performance. THEY HAVE NO CLASS and obviously NO FEELINGS, and should not be allowed to remain at the concerts. I think that once they start acting up, security should kick their asses out!!!!!!!!!! SHE DESERVES RESPECT WHETHER YOU LIKE HER MUSIC OR NOT! It makes me so mad that people think they can act anyway they feel like! I hope to God that it didn't discourage her or make her think that we didn't want to hear her play!

Another thing is that I think that they should acknowledge the base player more often. Throughout the concert, they kept putting the spotlight on the trumpet player. Although he did a great job, the other musicians, especially the base player, should get some recognition too!

My last complaint is in regard to the merchandise that was on sale. They had t-shirts, and these "lithographs" that were $75 normal and $150 signed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am only a college student, and I barely had the money to buy the tickets to the concert. I think that $75 for a POSTER is outrageous! My knowledge and belief of Joni is that she is against big business and capitalism!! I don't understand how she can agree to this. I really wanted to get that poster, but it was impossible.

Other than that, the concert was great. She played wonderful, as usual. I hope that she has another tour soon!

Jennifer Mc Call

(From:mjmcgregor@hotmail.com)- Like the Light

So strong, so sexy
you are like the light
gold and fragmented
whole beyond touch
within the body
flying on blood
dancing in rhythm
sensual.
I know you
in my thought, heart
soul
my words, walk little steps
to your words and step back.
You are the diva
the one who speaks
and plays
and sings
and we turn to it
swim in it
feel it, go back to it
fall into the darkness
arrive in spring.
Spring, and you in red
in nature
in light
in music, in the source
which is holding us all
in soft hands
in thunder.
Michelle McGregor

(From:kleach@ic.net)-What can be said of my first time seeing this wonderful lady. Well, maybe that's the wrong word already given the banter about her stage presense lately. My thoughts on that, to get them out of the way early, are:

Joni's first comments say it all, "I'm glad to be here. I really am!"

We're too consumed in the new media people!! The moments before "Sex Kills" were filled with negative anticipation, tension. Earlier songs and hopes of what songs were to come were forgotten. Her actual words, from a friend I'll just call D6:

"hurried start/tuning. brief applause. I appreciate the support. I got a critic in the front row, right in my eyeball. It makes it tricky. joni's laugh, worth a thousand words! crowd roars. Thank you. Appreciate it. Ok, ok, there ARE people in the front seats. song starts. Enjoy yourself honey! songs stops after a few bars. Oh, like I'm just a racehorse who can't run in the rain, you know what I mean? Are you ok? Are you enjoying youself? 'cause you're right in my...yeah you. Is it ok for you?

K

ps. imagine Joni's thought's back to another time when she lights up during "Comes Love". I see a small smoky bar with a cool jazz singer diggin' the scene. Wonder who it could be? Think anyone noticed her light up?

(From:lauder@home.com)-Being a Joni Mitchell lover for many years (and playing and singing many of her songs in my guitar/folk music phase of long ago), and having never seen her in a live concert, it was a phenomenal experience. I thought she performed very well, watched her through good binoculars almost the entire time, just mesmerized. I agree with the other reviewer, jmccall, that she did seem to be nervous at times. I too was absolutely apalled that some yoyo right in the front could have made any displeasure known to her.

I did feel that the performance was too deep for lot of the folks to get; one got the sense that a bunch of Dylan obsessed folks were there to bogey, and were peeved they had to put up with getting through the 'boring' Joni bit to rock with Bob. After her performance, the very clueless, disparaging comment from the woman behind me was.. does Bob play for the audience? Not just for himself, like Joni did? Oh well, a**h***s are everywhere (although at times it seems the Detroit area has more than its fair share)... I guess it makes sense for the money making concert promoter types to feel they have to 'bundle' the performers to sell a bunch of tickets... but I'm sorry, I think the two of them attract a very different crowd, especially with Bob having presumably 'modernized' his stuff to appeal to the 'younger bunch'. It felt like the logic was ... well, we'll give the women Joni, and the guys Bob, and everybody will be hunky-dory ... like the guys had to put up with that boring women mumbling on about their emotions junk, to get to the party-down stuff they came for. (Of course another problem is that the even most women under 30 don't know much of anything about her music either.)

A Joni only concert would have been FAR more enjoyable, and presumably would not have included so many rude Joni critics, and would have minimized the phenomenon of most of the people in my area blabbing away through much of her performance because they were bored to tears... and mobs trudging up and down the aisle to go get more beer to kill time waiting for Bob. (From my aisle seat in a great section with a fantastic view, for well over half her performance I was staring at an unending wall of moving bodies, that totally obliterated the stage.) I loved Trouble Man and Comes Love. My last comment would be.. especially with a performer like Joni where the words are so critical, the huge concert venue is frustrating because most of her lyrics were simply impossible to understand. I don't know what the solution is... cut back the band volume big time... have 3 mikes on her voice, but unless you were very familiar with her songs, a lot of it was just nice vocal sounds and some mellow instruments, with little meaning. Perhaps if the no-nothings could have actually heard her awesome lyrics they might have gotten some clue as to why she is so fantastic. I found myself wishing she had come out with just her guitar and her voice, and stuffed the whole band bit altogether. I better shut up at this point. I loved seeing her, and will probably again turn into a Joni Mitchell nut after a long vacation from her... and your web site will certainly help me do that! Hell, I may even buy a guitar for Christmas, after selling my last one to pay the rent in 1980...

Jan Lauder

(From:tigerfan@tir.com)-Three days after having my dream come true and seeing Joni in Chicago at the barn they call the United Center, I had the chance to see her again - this time up close. Our Chicago seats were in the last row in the third level in the back corner of the United Center, which was way too big for Joni to be playing. But, since the place was only two-third full (at best), we were able to move much closer to the stage with no problem. We ended up in the second level on the side of the state for Joni. We actually had no trouble getting to the side of the stage in the first level for Dylan, which made me wish we'd tried before Joni went on. But I had my binoculars and the knowledge that I had 10th row seats near the center of the floor at The Palace of Auburn Hills (aka Detroit). æ

Seeing Joni perform twice in a few days ranks as one of (actually two of) the highlights of my life. I only started really listening to her music about five years ago (at age 32) but have been in love with her work since opening my ears to her. She was dressed rather similarly in both shows and did not change the material significantly from Chicago to Detroit, although there were enough changes to make me happy I was given the chance to catch her performing as many different songs as possible. æ

I have read that Joni sometimes may get rattled by something or someone in the crowd and that appeared to be the case in Detroit. Moments after saying "I have a critic in the front row," Joni abrupted halted Sex Kills just seconds into the tune. She went near the edge of the stage and leaned over and asked him or her if they were having a good time. She repeated the question then said, "Oh, now I'm cool." She then resumed the song without incident. I didn't catch what the "critic" did to upset her but something was happening that I couldn't see from the 10th row. æ

It seemed to me she had a better time playing at The Palace than she did in Chicago. That could be because, as she told the sparse crowd (there were reportedly only 9,000 seats sold (for an arena which seats approximately 20,000 - that's a guess) as late as one day before the concert, she used to live in Detroit for a time and still has friends here. According to reports I've seen at this site, her Chicago show last about 75 minutes, which seems about right, although I did not time it. She played for about 85 minutes in Detroit, according to a review in Thursday's Flint Journal which praised the performances by both Joni and Bob Dylan. That may not seem like much more, but I cherish every extra minute Joni will give us. æ

She was wonderful. æ

Keith Morris

(From:ljodoin@wincom.net)-I am a long time fan of Joni's, but this was my first opportunity to share a live moment with her. Perhaps sharing a stage with Dylan in such a large arena wasn't the ideal setting for this rare gem. The opening band was so loud, the accoustics so bad, I had to buy ear plugs, hoping to save my eardrums for Joni. By the time Joni took the stage, starting with 'Big Yellow Taxi' the Dylan fans were already drunk and disorderly, the people surrounding us made it almost impossible to hear her. I was so glad when she stopped singing to talk to a Dylan fan in the front who was being obnoxious, she said she felt like a 'racehorse running in the rain'. After that confrontation she came back stronger and more vibrant than ever. As much as I enjoy her early work (which she only touched briefly), the evolution of her music and lyrics over time has so much paralleled my life I felt a timeless bond, that's Joni. She was the human embodiment of heaven on that stage and continues to age to an unsurpassed vintage. I hope she isn't too disappointed to come back to Detroit. Maybe next time we could get her in a more intimate setting like the Chrysler Theatre in Windsor ?

Luci Jodoin
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

(From:ddaniel8@ford.com)-I went to the concert at the palace in suburban Detroit. I really enjoyed it, this was my only Joni concert that I've ever seen. I,ve been liking her music scince I can remember and to finally see her "what a treat!" I wasn't a Dylan fan ever, but his performance with all his "fun mistakes" made me change my mind on him. He definitely rocked! I was really impressed with his band and sound and yes including Joni's. This show ranks with my all time great concerts! To all those nay-sayers who wank about those most silliest,littliest, and pettiest things that only annoys them, well keep their opinions to themselves. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything. Performers are human! what ever happens at their shows, well it happens. So if a performer doesn't do what a spoiled audience member wanted that JUST too,too bad. One wish that if Joni and Dylan could've got together and did any song what a great topper to one good night that would've been. I hope Joni will tour in the years to come, I will definitely be there. Forever a Joni fan and Dylan too!

David (Detroit,Michigan)

P.S I used to live a street away in Detroit,(on West Canfield) where Joni used to live and to this day people mention about when Joni use to live in the apt. nearby (mostly the college art folks who remembers that area when it was a artist community).

(From:SONDO@aol.com)-I saw Joni at the Palace in Detroit 10/28. It was only half-full, which was sad (but parking was great!) Sat in the front row. She sounded great. Played the same setlist which has been published here. Like many people, I love her old stuff and was a little disappointed (though not surprised) that she didn't play much of it, and when she did, she seemed to streamline it and rush through. Joni said in a newspaper interview that she never really considered herself a folk- singer, that's just what she happened to start with because it was easy "pin money" back in the '60s. Her roots have always been more into jazz.

But Joni...I'm sure you cashed the checks from all the album sales in those days. They paid for alot of boxes of paint. Those checks came from us...and sorry but we still love all that stuff. By belittling the interests of your audience, the "politics" of the music industry, and your own wonderful lyrics and songs from those days...well, I think it hurts...something is missing.

At one point Joni sang a song from Taming, and then walked around in front of the mike and asked, "Did you like that? Do you like ME?" She seemed genuinely interested. Of course, we responded with a resounding WE LOVE YOU JONI and we do. But if you're seeking acceptance and constructive criticism...

What's the deal with that new guitar? Okay it sounds great at first...a beautiful haunting wall-of-sound feel. Very versatile background...certainly easy for her to tune...and she strum til her heart's content.

But what other performer would go with the same instrument, same general sound, same dominant "wall" behind each of her 12 or so songs? No picking, no wailing, no acoustic, no dulcimer...seems kind of same, kind of easy. Doesn't art include innovation and stimulation?

The instrumentation starts to fade in interest, leaving of course her beautiful voice. It sounded clear and deep and rich as ever. Sound seems to resonate inside of her. I guess that's the bottom line: You talk about Joni in 1998 and you talk about her great voice, and her great history.

Bill Saunders

(From:SONDO@aol.com)-The "critic" in the front row of the Oct. 28 Detroit concert was my wife.

I have been a Joni fan since the '70s. I own eight or 10 of her albums, including Hissing, Indigo and Taming...but I must admit I listen more often to Seagull, Blue and Court & Spark. My wife has learned of Joni through what she's heard on the radio and in my car. There's nothing wrong with that. She likes Joni, respects her as one of our alltime greats, and was looking forward to hearing the concert from fantastic seats with me and our friends.

We loved the concert. But some of Joni's newer material is "less accessible," as they say. It was probably during "Happiness Is the Best Facelift" that my wife said she may have looked "pensive"...sorting through those provocative new lyrics.

Now it's anyone's guess as to why Joni would interrupt a performance in front of over 10,000 people to walk to the front of the stage and confront my wife. Why she needed to know if this one kind-hearted and well-meaning individual was "having a good time"...while hundreds of Dylan fans drank beer and smoked cigarettes in the concourse. My wife deserves credit for disarming the situation by cheering and responding, "We love you!," so that Joni would go back and play.

Joni continually reminds us that she's an "artist" and that she can sing what she wants. Well, we're listeners, fans, critics, CD buyers and her sponsors...we too can do whatever we want. Being pensive...or even "critical"...falls far short of being rude or distracting. We were there to relax, have some fun and listen to Joni Mitchell.

Now to my personal reactions: Joni's voice was wonderful. I think when you talk about Joni in the '90s it's all about her voice, her lyrics and her history. She said in the Oct. 28 Detroit Free Press that she never considered herself a folksinger, she wrote those old songs in the '60s because it was the "easiest way to make some pin money." Well, lucky for us that we were needed in those days! I enjoyed the concert thoroughly although I would have liked to hear a little more variety...some acoustical instrumentation, a change-of- pace, some energy...those incredible classic lyrics..."folk music" or what every you want to call it. I'd call it my favorite Joni.

(From:milettaa@hotmail.com)-Wally, first of all, I want to say thank you for this incredible web site and all of your hard work on behalf on Joni, her music, and her fans! I have been a fan since her first albums came out, and I strongly identify my adolescent years with her poetry and music. I have loved listening to her development as a writer and musician, and have seen her perform twice before, both times in the NY area, ages ago. It was with considerable excitement (understatement of the year!) that I heard through your website of the concert in Detroit (it wasn't publicized at all at the U of M, where I am now a graduate student). So I am doubly grateful!

My impressions right after I got home from the concert were as follows: Wed, Oct 28, 1998 What an incredible evening at the Palace. It's 1:30am and I just had to write about how fabulous this concert was. The set list was the same as previous concerts, although Joni did Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (fabulous with Brian Blade!!! I want a recording!!!) and Moon at the Window, plus the Woodstock encore. The band was very tight! Although it seemed from up in the balcony that there were some sound problems during Free Man in Paris, Joni's voice was clear and rich through every song. I especially loved Black Crow and Hejira (it made me cry, those lyrics get me every time!) I have to say, the surprise ending with Trouble Man and Comes Love was spectacular too. There was some heckling or something from the first row, and at one point it seemed Joni was going to get down off the stage and let this person have it! But then she said, "We're cool" and launched into "Sex Kills." My friend overheard on the line for the bathroom that the problem was with a critic who hadn't written anything on her pad of paper and I guess was distracting Joni. It was an unforgettable performance and I was very moved!

So that was what I thought at 1:30am. But what I wanted to say now is that the concert, the experience of hearing Joni's voice live after all these years, has been resonating inside me ever since. I am so pleased to know that I am not alone in my adoration of this woman and her music and poetry. I hope that My Best to You on TTT is not a farewell song of sorts. That was my first impression when I heard it. Joni, your devoted fans are waiting with baited breath for another CD, another concert, as I am sure the best is yet to come!

Alexandra Miletta


1st Set: Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men
2nd Set: Joni Mitchell
3rd Set: Bob Dylan

JMDL Member Comments

Sue: We are sitting here at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan after just meeting up with JONI in the lobby. What can I say, my knees are still trembling. It was time to check to see if our airport contingent had arrived. They were waiting for us patiently and after introductions were given, we began to pick up bags and head to the elevator. At that moment the door of the elevator opened and who was standing in it? SIQUOMB herself, on her way to a sound check. I saw her and my jaw dropped. I couldn't say anything, so I slapped Amy on the arm. She quickly darted around the potted palm and at the same instant Terry spotted Joni.

She calmly said "Hi, Joni!" and that is when the fun began. Robbert, who had seen the Indy show and witnessed Joni's reaction to a rude audience member decided to drive from Indy straight to the Townsend to drop a lovely note to the concierge to give to Joni. She looked at Jim and said "Are you Robbert?" and he said yes, only to have the real Robbert step up and say hello.

She relayed to Robbert the fact that she had shared the note with her band mates and they really appreciated the positive feedback. Terry told Joni thanks for touring again, and she replied that she is enjoying being out on the road with Bob and her band. Robbert asked if her could have his picture taken with her, and she complied. After that Terry stepped up and had her photo taken too.

We were hovering around the foyer area of the Lobby. Present were Marian, her sister Jennifer, Mary P., Jim, Amy, Kelly, Jeanne, Terry, Robbert and me. We closed in around her and Amy asked if she would sign our books. We had taken the dust covers off as we were signing each other's books. Joni asked Amy "What is this I am signing?" and Amy replied "This is your book of Poems and Lyrics, Joni." She autographed Marian, Amy, and my books graciously.

At this point the thug in the lobby decided that our gathering was drawing too much attention, so Joni eased over to the side lobby where the cushy chairs were. Amy was talking with Joni about her birth name being Amelia and that she was given up for adoption. Standing by listening were Mary P., Terry, and Marian. Thug junior approached me and Jeanne and asked what we were doing. Of course we had luggage as we were just checking in, so we told him that.

Shortly after the thugs descended, Joni eased her way to the door. Terry told her that she would be taking pictures of her tonight at the concert for Wally and the web page. She told Terry that she would look for her bobbing head.

Well, do you want to know what she was wearing? A small chocolate brown leather cap with a brown leather jacket hanging over a olive green shin length skirt with brown tights and brown clogs. Slung across her left shoulder was a medium sized knitted sachel. Her height? A bit shorter than Terry, so we are thinking about 5' 6". She looked well rested and not at all unhappy to see some true fans.

What an experience. Some quotes now from the crowd.

Joni said about the audience members who were making so much noise: "I tried to avoid them by looking to the left and right, but when they started to mimic my actions, 'the wrath of Joan' descended on them." Later on she felt bad about things and thought maybe they were fans so she smiled at the woman as she left the stage. She mouthed an apology, smiled, and the woman lit up.

When Terry told Joni that she was taking pictures for the web site, Joni asked "What is your connection to Wally's website?" Terry replied that we were all fans and had traveled far and wide to see her in concert tonight.

Terry told Joni that Marian was her greatest fan. Marian gushed "I love your music, I love you, Joni."

Jeanne's quote about the experience? "Oh my God, oh my God!!!"

Mary appreciated the fact that she didn't take the three o'clock flight into Detroit, as we would have missed the chance encounter with Joni. We want to thank Mary for taking the 2:10!

Marian's sister Jennifer couldn't believe that they had the good fortune to have decided to wait for us in the lobby rather than heading up to the room.

We told Joni that she could join us after the concert if she wanted. We told her we were in room 329. When we got back to the room, guess what time it was... 3:29!!!! Synchronicity!

Robbert's last thought about this great chance encounter: "I died and went to Heaven."


Jessica: So I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to start this e-mail, and I think I've finally got it........... I met Joni Mitchell! I met Joni! I met Joni! I met Joni! I met Joni!!!!!

I guess that covers it. I mentioned before that I'm the jazz buyer for the Borders chain and that my Warner/Reprise rep (a wonderful guy and huge Joni fan himself) was doing his darndest to get me backstage. Well he called me this morning and said it looked good, that there was a 90% chance that I would get to meet her. The way he put it was: "If she has a good set, she'll want to share it with people backstage...but if she gets heckled again, then chances are really slim." So I spent all day at work bouncing off the walls, trying hard not to get too excited.

My husband and I left Ann Arbor for Auburn Hills (about a 1 1/4 hours drive), and got to our seats just in time to get situated and see Dave Alvin. Tim enjoyed the set, but I was a little too fixated on JONI to think about much of anything else. I looked around for evidence of other JMDL-ers, but nothing caught my eye. After Dave Alvin's set, my Warner rep found me and handed me a backstage pass, warning me again that if Joni wasn't happy with the performance, that there would probably be no meet and greet. Yikes.

I did run into Jules, a fellow JMDL-er *and* fellow WEMU music host. We've known each other for years and never knew about the other's Joni obsession. Crazy.

So Joni comes out, and I can't yell and scream suddenly because I'm choking up. All I can think is "That's Joni Mitchell!" She sounded and looked beautiful and confident. I was awestruck.

I did finally find my voice, and unfortunately probably deafened the Dylan fans in front of me with my yells of appreciation. Maybe I felt like I had to make up for all the people in the audience who didn't seem all that interested in what she was doing.

So of course there was a jerk in the front row ("right in my eyeballs" Joni said) giving her a hard time. Strangely enough, it was right before "Sex Kills" again that Joni launched into this person. She then started Sex Kills and had to stop again, saying something like, "I guess I'm a horse who can't run on a wet track". She spoke some more to the person in the front row, some of it off-mic (did anyone hear what she said?), then came back to the mic and said "I'm cool now", and proceeded to launch into a blistering version of Sex Kills.

At this point, I'm thinking there's no way she's going to want to meet with some retail schlubs. I wanted to go jump on whoever was giving her a hard time.

Then a miracle happened. When Joni put down the guitar and started Trouble Man, she suddenly won over the whole audience, and the applause was thunderous. I was looking at her with binoculars from the 25th row so it was hard to tell, but she looked awfully pleased.

Comes Love was earth shattering for me. I loved it. Then she came back for an encore of that darned Woodstock song, and it was all over. I kissed my husband goodbye, and ran off to find the label people.

We all gathered as a group to the right of the stage, and a security guy led us around to the backstage area. We stood in a little waiting area for about 20 minutes. At one point, a guy came back and let us know that Joni's manager had arrived, and that might prevent her from meeting with us. My stomach was doing flip flops at that point.

About 5 minutes later, Joni's manager came back and led us to her dressing room. On the way there, he warned us that she also had friends back there, and that we should keep our visit to four minutes maximum. I told him that was all the time I needed to have a dream come true. He seemed to really dig that.

So there she was. She apologized for not standing up, but motioned to her feet and said they were killing her. I waited for the label people to make the introductions, and when it was my turn, I grabbed her hand and said "I'm the jazz buyer, and I am a....really big fan", which elicited some laughter from the other 7 or 8 people in the room since I almost cried when I said that. I felt like a moron.

I waited for everyone else to be introduced, then presented her with the booklets for Mingus and Hejira. I told her that they were two of my favorite records and that I hadn't been able to choose which one to ask her to sign. She said "Well hell...I'll be happy to sign both of them!"

When she took my Hejira book, she said "Hejira is probably my favorite. There's a lot of memories in this record." I told her that it's my fave road trip record, and she reminded me that it was written on a road trip. The whole time we're talking, all these people are standing around, but Joni is making constant eye contact with me.

When she took Mingus to sign, she said "I'm glad you like this one - it's really obscure." I told her that it was the record that really made me fall in love with her music, and the second I said that, I thought "Dumb jerk - she didn't write most of the MUSIC on the record!". I think I saved it by commenting that The Wolf That Lives in Lindsey (one she DID write!) is so hauntingly beautiful. We talked about what it was like to record that stuff live with the band, and how infrequently that's done anymore. Then she started telling me about Henley's Walden benefit ("You know, the Stormy Weather thing" she said), and how addicted she could get to singing in front of a 60 piece orchestra. We talked about the arrangement she chose for that, and how it came from an early Frank Sinatra record ("...but it was too slow so I picked up the pace a little"). She said she was attracted to the arrangement because it was "...so simple and Bambi - you know, Disney-like. Nobody really writes like that anymore, except the guy who does the Fellini movies - Nino Rota - tips his hat to it occassionally".

Then I asked her if she was really considering an album of standards, citing the response she got from Comes Love and Trouble Man. She said, "Oh yes - it can be so freeing to put down the guitar and just sing. I'd really like to do that."

At this point, Joni bent down and picked up some roses wrapped in cellophane. "Here," she said, handing them to me, "I want you to have these. They're beautiful and they're just going to die if I try to take them on the road." I was flabergasted. I in turn gave her a copy of one of my fave jazz releases this year (singer Andy Bey's "Shades Of Bey"), and then it was time to go.

In all the years that I have spent wondering what I would ever say to Joni Mitchell if I were ever lucky enough to meet her (and I spent a lot of time thinking about that), I never thought that it would go so well, that Joni would be so interested in talking to me (or that I would have enough wits about me to put words together!). Maybe she was just being nice, but I felt like the connection that I sometimes feel with her when I hear her lyrics or read quotes from her was real - that we were operating on the same plane and having a meaningful coversation. I can't really express how much that meant to me.

So that's it. My incredible evening of Joni. Please forgive the typos and grammatical errors. It's late, and I'm just not having a lot of luck paying attention to details at this point.


Terry: Just got back to our hotel room after another chat with Joni at the bar. YOWEE, pinch me. In attendance were Joni, Larry Klein, some guy we couldn't identify, me, Robbert, Sue, Amy, Mary.

She was very sweet, and talked a bit about the show (there was another incident- will get into that in another email), we gave her early birthday gifts and she was incredibly gracious. But for now, here is the set list. The woman was smoking!

1. Taxi
2. Just Like This Train (these two were solos)
3. Night Ride Home
4. Crazy Cries Of Love
5. Free Man In Paris
6. Harry's House (no Centerpiece)
7. Black Crow
8. Amelia
9. Hejira
10. Don Juan RD
11. Happiness is the best facelift
12. Sex Kills
13. Magdalene Laundries
14. Moon At The Window
15. Trouble Man'
16. Comes Love
17. Woodstock (encore).

80 minute show- longest show so far! And Joni told us in the bar that she added an extra song just for us!


Amy: Just dragged myself out of bed this morning after an absolulety perfect day yesterday. Much more than I could have ever hoped for, or really even dreamed possible. Was it only yesterday that I had not one, but two conversations with Joni? I have always said that timing is everything in this life and yesterday was the perfect example...we really did just sort of stumble on the meet and greet in the lobby with Joni. Had we not gone down there to pick up the jmdler's arriving from the airport, we would have never seen her...and I must say, when she walked right past me and I thought, oh gee, there goes a woman lookin like Joni and then my brain kicked in and realized that it actually was her...quite a moment. She was lovely, and gracious and even when security stepped in, she was pleased to move with us as a group to another spot in the lobby...signing books and having photos snapped...when this woman speaks with you, the eye contact is incredible, and suddenly you start blabbering about your entire life story in the space of 4-5 minutes, at least that is what happened to me. When she turned to leave my knees actually buckled and I needed to lean against a table in the lobby..then she was off to her sound check and I thought, well, that was it, my moment with her, and it was unbelievable.

The concert is another story in itself...I felt like I had 3 out of body experiences, this being number 2. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Robbert, who really is the one who was instrumental in making the original contact with Joni. After hearing her in Indy, and on the way to our home for an overnight visit, he drove to the Townsend Hotel and left a gift and a message for Joni with the hotel staff...I will let him tell you exactly what it said, but since he is on the way to Toronto today,(BTW with a backstage pass for tonights concert) I will just say that he made mention of the unruly fan in Indy and that he hoped that she would not let this get to her, as there are many people who were there just for her music and how much he was looking forward to seeing her in Detroit...this note and gift made a very big impression on Joni..she even called her band members and read them the note! I believe that this was a big boost to her and the set she gave us proved it...the moment she started amelia was spine tingling for me and I also loved free man in paris...every song was wonderful and only one little annoyance from the audience marred her mood. She had the place in the palm of her hand for trouble man also...siquomb.

Regarding the audience member...she said that this woman was looking at her with a defiant look, not paying attention, looking down alot and she believed her to be a critic...she said that she tried to move the mike so that she would out of her direct line of vision, but it wasnt working. She said that when she got to Sex Kills, her level of tolerance was up, so she stepped to the front of the mike, asked if everything was ok, etc...couldn't hear everything she said, but she told us later that the woman gave her a big smile and said all was well..gave her good feedback, so joni stepped back, smiled, and started Sex Kills...the entire concert was lovely and I was so glad to be next to Robbert...

Out of body experience #3 occured back at the hotel, when we decided to dash down to the bar and hoping against hope that she might be there...and she was, sitting at the table next to us, with Larry and 2 other unindentified men...we were quiet, and reserved, no gushing, no intrusions...but I did manage to nurse a beer for well over a hour, waiting for the moment when we could approach and hopefully give her our gifts, etc. When the waiter brought their bill, (they all had a meal, from my vantage point, Joni had a big bowl of soup, a salad, some sort of fish with wild rice and was sipping cranberry juice..and smoking, of course...larry chowed down on an enormous shrimp cocktail) Robbert said hello again, and she was all smiles, asking the boys if she could stay for a few moments...they were very protective of their Joan, so they stayed close. There was no hotel security there at all..the thugs were off for the night, I guess. She took our gifts, talked about the concert, explained the whole heckler thing, had conversations with many of us and it still seems like a blur in my mind...she shook my hand, and seemed genuinely touched that we made such an effort. She began to walk down the hallway toward the elevators, we all sort of trailed after her because there really is only one set of elevators, so we were going the same way...she told us a lovely little story about a mockingbird near her old home, sue will share that one with you, and finally they got on the elevator and the doors shut and we were all standing there looking like a group of people who just made the connection of a lifetime. It still seems rather surreal to me...was it only just yesterday?

We also got to enjoy the music of Marian and Terry...what a treat! Their playing was just wonderful and I wanted to thank them both for the privledge. We all packed up after a long day and night, and although I was planning on crashing at the hotel, I decided to run on home and sleep in my own bed. I just really needed that drive to clear my head and listen to hejira on my long drive home. Just wish someone had mentioned that it was 3:15 a.m. when I left...i had no idea.

So those of us who shared these moments, my best to you...Terry, Sue, Robbert, Jim, Jeanne, Mary, Marian, Jennifer, Kelly...you will always be a part of these memories, and I couldn't imagine a nicer group of folks to share it with. Safe journeys home everyone...


Terry: As some of the Detroit jmdlers are on the road, returning to families or continuing on to their Joni Hejiras, I thought I'd add a few more tidbits until I get my final report done.

Some of us (not me) got a 3rd meeting! I'll leave that up to the others to report on.

At dinner at the hotel after the show, Joni enjoyed soup, Cobb salad and an entre'. She was seated right next to our table but her back was to me. With her were Larry, one of the band members and a fellow I didn't recognize. Joni smoked non-stop. This particular bar seemed to draw a peculiar and obnoxious crowd which Joni at times was studying. One woman was virtually dancing in front of her, teasing a man she was with and making a complete fool of herself. At one point, Joni did a great job of mimicking her.

As we were getting up to leave, Joni started to go as well. At that point, we gave her the birthday gifts we'd been carrying and she seemed truly delighted. Larry was about out the door, but Joni asked him to wait, and we chatted a while longer, discussing that night's distraction at the concert (to follow later). Robbert had a short chat with her (what DID you tell her, Robbert??). Once we left the room, our group trailed behind, so as not to disturb her. Joni then dropped dead in her tracks, turned to us and told us a story- "It reminds me of the Mockingbird. When I lived in Laurel Canyon, there was a mockingbird that would sing and sing...but whenever a truck came by, it would just stop". She then turned again and walked into the elevator. There's probably more to the mockingbird story, but I'm too brain dead to remember.

Before entering the elevator (right guys?), she stopped and surveyed the hotel lobby. It almost looked like she was taking mental notes, studying colors...? I get the impression that she takes everything in.

Joni radiates warmth. She looks you straight in the eye while talking as if she's known you your whole life. She smiles and is animated. You want, no you NEED to reach out and touch her! She signed autographs, posed for pix and was very interested in hearing our reactions to her concert. Robbert had said it was the best of the shows so far, and we shared that with her. She said her sound man said the same thing. Well, I'm so tired I'm rambling.

Oh, I was also fascinated with her fashion sense. No t's and jeans for this girl, but the ever present brown leather cap, which looks just great on her. For the detail oriented: transclusent pearly nail polish; nails longer on right hand. Looked bluntly cut. Wears rich, earthy colors. Very little makeup, none on her eyes that I could tell. Hair parted down middle, just below the shoulder. At the conert, there was some curl to it only at the bottom, for fullness.

More, after some sleep-


Ben (from the Dylan list): Hold onto your superlatives ladies and gentleman, Bob and company has rolled into yet another town, taking it captive.

The evening started off in fine style with David Alvin providing a tremendous opening set of tight music. He paid homage to the Motor City a few times, played some tremendous solos and threw in a cover of Guthrie's "Do Re Mi" for good measure.

Joni Mitchell stepped out shortly thereafter, opening with "Big Yellow Taxi", tossing in a hilarious Bob parody. The crowd was really supportive throughout her (tremendous!) set. She mentioned that she lived in Detroit for a while and that some friends were in the audience. She didn't lash out (a la Indianapolis) at anyone today, she tried to confront some "critics" in the front row (right before "Sex Kills" again, coincidence?) but it didn't get too far.

Joni's set was really impressive, ending in a Motown number and a torch ballad Billy Holiday style (cigarette and all). When she finished I felt I had got my money's worth. And then some.


Terry: I had the advantage of seeing the set in the 6th row, close to center. The sound system was perfect! Joni later said that her sound man was very pleased with the acoustics that night. There was supposed to have been a 40 minute break before her set, but she came swinging in about 10 minutes earlier and went right into her first song. Joni seemed serious and introspective in the beginning, playing solo, with little body movement or eye contact, and no chitter chatter to the audience. The crowd was well behaved, in general, and seemed intent on giving her their full attention. I got the sense that there was a general good feel to the crowd, and tremendous respect towards Joni's set. Plenty of woops, hollers and whistles cracked in the air after each song, but the folks settled down quickly in order to hear the next one.

The show began with the expected BYT. Joni was well rehearsed with this number, as it's been on the set list since May. The *wink-wink* Dylan impersonation was well received by the crowd. I think she could do this one in her sleep.

Just like this train was done to perfection. With each slap of the guitar strings you could feel Joni becoming more confident.

The band entered for Night Ride Home and sounded tight. Joni started to sway while singing, and you could see how wonderful she looked in her long, fitted tunic top and matching skirt. Both were a burgandy-garnet color, with rust- toned stems running through with sparkling gold thread. What a site, Joni in her autumnal finest. Her shoes were a neutral beige, wide strapped sandal. Her hair, parted down the middle, fell softly just below her shoulders, with a bit of cascaded soft curls at the bottom. She was radiant and beautiful.

Crazy Cries of Love was belted out and swung right into Free Man. The band was rocking and the crowd really started to get into the set.

Harry's House began slowly, but Chris Boti showed why he was chosen to replace Mark Isham on tour. His horn was thrilling to listen to. Again, no Centerpiece.

Joni then lit into a fast-paced rendition of Black Crow. The pounding bass almost made you visualize the crows beating wings.

At this point Joni stopped to talk about Ameila and Hejira. It was a nice change of pace which led into these beautiful songs. The steel guitar seeped in as if it were weeping. Brian's sticks were traded for brushes.

On completion of Amelia and Hejira, she thanked the audience and reminded them that she used to live in Detroit. She said that she had a few old friends in the crowd tonight, and that the next number was one that they had been practicing and she decided to add for us Detroiters.

The strumming began, only to have Joni stop. She mumbled an apology to the crowd, stared Brian Blade directly in the eyes, and started again. This strumming went on for a good two minutes without her beginning to sing then Brian got out his brushes and quietly picked up the beat. Joni nodded to him and the whole band kicked into Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. At this point, Larry flashed a couple of smiles her way. What more can I say?

Happiness came next, and the audience seemed a bit distracted at the new material. She gave a sultry emphasis to "she regrets that now" . This song was gorgeous, with Joni making the VG8 ringing clear as a bell. It was at this point that the woman in the crowd caught and held Joni's attention. She chided the woman when the song was complete, walking straight up to the edge of the stage, bending down, asking if she was o.k., or if something was wrong. "There's a critic in the front row", and to her: "enjoy yourself"! Joni then jokingly commented that she felt "like a race horse that can't run in the rain." Once the woman was singled out, she raised her fists as if cheering in her first high school game, and Joni continued her set with Sex Kills. Ironic? I think so. Either the mix of the set is making folks loose interest, or they have decided to put a ringer in the audience to get Joan pumped up for the second half of her set.

Magdalene Laundries was performed in the most sorrowful way that I have heard it to date. It brought tears to my eyes when she was singing. She did her usual intro to the song (those of you who have any of the tape tree concerts know what I mean) but sang with such feeling. Truly remarkable.

Moon at the Window was so jazzy. It was like watching a sport in slow motion. Everything just flowed. Brian Blade was excellent here, going from brushes to sticks to beating the drum like the folks did at the Pittsburgh fest. Joni really began grooving to the music at this point, using her hands to emphasis the lyrics. The band was introduced (I think???) after this song.

At this point Joni put down her guitar and said, "I'm going to do a little Motown for you" and proceeded to wow the crowd with Trouble Man. What can I say? It was SMOKING! SIZZLING! It just wowed me.

Comes Love was dripping wet sexy. She lit up a cig, took a step back, and held her hand under her elbow while taking a few deep puffs. She gave it her all, belting this one out. She *needs* to record the album of standards. Some in the crowd got lost with the old, slow Gershwin tune, but others saw and heard the heat and went crazy.

We clapped and stomped until Joni came back out with her guitar. She began to strum the opening chords of her encore when some yahoo yelled out "Play Woodstock" and she laughed, "This is Woodstock!".


Jim: I had almost no expectation of even seeing Joni yesterday, except during her performance in the evening. I can't even imagine what today must seem like for Amy or Sue or Marian or the others who had the chance to talk at some length with her. Just being in close proximity to her was amazing (remember, I am a true blue lurker). I don't think any of us are the star-struck kind of people, but there we were, grown people, at a loss for words. As silly as it sounds, just having her look at me and speak to me (mistakenly thinking I was Robbert, instead of the grinning, tongue-tied person I felt like)...hey, look, have you ever had someone look at you and it's so powerful that it sucks the air from your lungs and you go weak and you think, "Jesus, why didn't I bring a giant diamond ring with me?" :-) God...those eyes of hers...those cheekbones!! She just seems so very decent, and reflecting on it as I have all day, it's amazing when you look at the wild rollercoaster ride of a life she's had, much of it thrown unflatteringly, without explanation, to the hungry-for-anything-negative star trackers. If I think my little life has been a bumpy ride at times, what has she had? By rights, she should have a steamer trunk of "life experiences" to deal with..she MUST! Yet, she was just so damn gracious and genuine and open and just a charmer. You would want this person for a friend. One has to wonder if they could handle it all as well as she seems to have done.

As Sue Cameron says, it's all timing. I was quite content to just be breathing the same air, close enough for a moment to have her perfume make my heart race. I've always wanted to see Joni in concert, ever since the only other chance I had some 25 years ago went awry. Somehow, fate connected me with people like Terry and Amy, and things just seemed to converge. They were so great at the little details of it all, right down to giving Mary P. and myself those great 6th row center seats. I know we hear it often, but the people in our local JMDL group are ALL super people. I couldn't invent a more perfect evening (okay, well maybe :-)), nor better company. I believe Joni sensed that she was among true friends. To all of you...Terry, Amy, Sue, Mary, Jeanne, Marian, Jennifer, Robbert, and even the very pregnant (due Monday), but non-JMDLer Kelly, thank you from the bottom, top, and every other region of my heart. Somehow, we became permanently connected to each other in one giant memory last night, and I hope that our paths have not crossed for the last time. My door is always open.

SIQUOMB
...back to lurking


Sue: I am going to relate the "mockingbird story" that Joni told to us Wednesday evening. First off, let me say that I felt like I was caught by Star Trek's tractor beam when Joni and I make eye contact that night. I just stood, transfixed, listening as she turned her anxiousness on stage into this wonderful analogy.

As she was walking from the bar to the elevator, with the JMDL contingent following her, she suddenly stopped by the cushy chairs that were the site of the first "close" encounter earlier that afternoon. I had left the bar a bit before the group, so I was lingering in the foyer area. She caught up with me, the group tailing her, and began to tell us of the mockingbird. The story went something like this: When I lived in Laurel Canyon there was this mockingbird that sang so sweetly in the evenings. It was funny though, because when a car would come up the hill, the bird would stop singing. As soon as the sound of the car engine faded away, the bird would resume it's wonderful song.

Now, you can read into this what you will, but I took it as an explanation of why the distractions sidetracked her singing. What a wonderful way to evoke what she was feeling on stage without being judgmental of the audience. I wish she would be comfortable enough to incorporate this story into her set if she gets distracted in the future.

Alrighty, now for the details of the third meeting. To say that we Detroiters know how to party would be an understatement. Let's just say that the thrill of meeting Joni twice in one day, then seeing a smoking performance, was way better than any drug. I think we were all buzzing from a natural high that kept us up late in the evening. Most of the group didn't stay at the hotel. Robbert had to leave for Toronto, Kelly needed to get home before her husband started to worry, Terry and Marian played and entertained us for quite a while, but even they were too spent from the exciting day. Amy decided at the last minute to spend the night in her own bed, and Jeanne needed to get home too. That left Jim, Mary and I. Since the suite was so large the three of us managed to have sleeping arrangements that were very private and comfortable.

Ninja Jim, as I will always think of him now *G* had to be up and gone early. Mary and I never even knew he had left! I am an early riser by nature, so when I woke up and saw the sun, that was all the sleeping I was going to do. I busied myself by cleaning up the debris created by blissful listers. The morning was golden and warm so when my cleaning was done I retired to the balcony to soak up what may be the last warm morning of 1998. As smoke drifted up from the room below I daydreamed that Joni was sitting on the second floor doing the same.

Mary rolled out of bed around 10:00, and we began to talk about departure plans. After a few phone calls to Terry and Jeanne we had things figured out and got packed up and ready to go. I kept going over to my book that Joni had signed, opening it and smiling at the inscription "Hello Sue". I caught Mary looking at me and felt a tinge of guilt at the memory of her saying that she didn't get Joni's autograph at either of the chance meetings yesterday. I slowly closed the cover of the book and slipped it into the ziplock bag for safe storage on the journey home.

We had quite a bit of food left over that I wanted to return to Terry so I knew that there would be at least two trips out to my car. I took the first load out while Mary was rounding up her things. When I got back to the room Mary and I managed to get the rest of our stuff down to the lobby to check out. There was still too much for me to take to my car in one trip and Mary had to wait in the lobby for Jeanne who had kindly offered to take her to the airport.

As I was walking back to the hotel, singing Crazy Cries of Love, who was standing outside talking to the bellman????? Of course you know who! She looked great, wearing the same outfit as the day before, but we can forgive her as she was traveling. Mary and I darted outside to wait alongside her. My eyes about bugged out, seeing Joni in the full sunlight. What beauty to see her blonde hair shimmering in the autumn sun. She smiled in recognition of something, I thought maybe it was us, but it was across the street. "Kline Gallery" Mary heard her say, and away she went.

We thought that was it for us, and Mary's last chance was lost. Luckily we were wrong, and she steered back to our side of the street. Two other fans got to her first, and I stood behind Mary, goading her into getting out the CD she wanted signed. We looked in vein for the pen that Joni had used to sign my book, but had to settle for an old bic. The couple left Joni just as an emerald green Expedition driven by Larry Kline pulled up to the door. I walked on, encouraging Mary all the way.

That was when our meek little Mary stood up and did what I couldn't all three times we had seen Joni. She called out her name just as Joni was stepping up the door of the vehicle. Mary asked Joni to sign her Taming the Tiger CD. Joni did so, graciously, even though her ride was waiting. Mary told her how much she enjoyed the concert and how great the band sounded. Joni reiterated that she really liked playing with the guys. She and Mary said their goodbyes.

Timing is everything in life. In these two incredible days, it was the stuff that dreams are made of (Colin, that Carly lyric quote was for you!). In another post I will tell you more details of Joni at the hotel bar. Did anyone mention that we got a sneak peek of her new book?


(Sung to the tune of Raised on Robbery)

She was sitting in the lounge of the Townsend Hotel......

Six of the Detroit group (Robbert, Amy, Terry, Marian, Jennifer and me) left just as Bobby was starting his set. We got back to the hotel and decided to get a drink at the bar. There she was, sitting with Larry and two other men, right at the first table as you entered through the glass doors.

We didn't want to encroach on her space so we moved to the back of the lounge. Problem was, there were six of us and only rectangle tables that seated four. We decided to pull two extra chairs around the end of the table. A gray haired gentleman (who looked like he could have been someone's butler) approached us and said that he could seat us all as some of the square tables had leaves that folded out. We followed him to the square table directly next to Joni!

This felt really weird since we all wanted to discuss the show but knew that it would be impolite to do so within her earshot. I have this keen feeling that Joni has very acute hearing and might have picked up on our conversation. So we chatted about fashions and travel plans and soon Jim, Mary and Jeanne showed up too, and sat at the table behind us.

As Terry mentioned, Joni started with a creamy soup, either potato or clam chowder. Next she had a large cobb salad that she didn't completely finish. Then the entree of either fish or pork medallion, wrapped in bacon and served with rice. She drank cranberry juice with dinner and ended the meal with a cup of decaf.

Someone (on list) wrote asking if we bought Joni a drink. Earlier in the day she had mentioned that she was in training, no alcohol or fattening foods. Also the fact that the cobb salad is $12.50 and cranberry juice $5.00 a glass might have had something to do with it! Who knows what the soup and the entree would have set us back *G*

While they were eating Larry handed Joni a book. I glanced askance and noticed her face on the cover. It was in golden light and was a close-up of Joni with her hand on her cheek. I could see "Joni Mitchell" on the top, but couldn't make out the title.

Terry described the rest of the meeting quite well. After Joni had received the gifts Amy and I were standing by Larry at the side of the table. Larry picked up the picture that Amy had given Joni of the Garden concert. He said, "Where was this at?" and I laughed and replied, "The Garden, you were there!" Then I asked about the book. He said that it was in Italian, and picked it up for Amy and I to see. I forgot to ask what the title was but I assume that it is her autobiography. Silly me, I didn't ask when it would be available in the states, but Marian has promised to try and pick it up when she returns to Vienna.

The whole experience reminded me of something. I was driving home yesterday thinking the best investment I ever made was my automatic garage door opener. You see I live in the school district where I work. In fact, I am only two blocks from the school. Every day I have to wave and say hi to the dozens of neighborhood elementary kids who think I am a goddess. Sometimes they wait for me in my driveway. Often I roll down my window and chat for a bit, but there are occasions, like yesterday after the sugar-buzzed Halloween parties, when I just want to get home and shut the garage door in their cute, adoring little faces.

Joni could have very easily done this to us. She chose not to, though, and created in three brief encounters memories that will last a lifetime for me. I will remember her graciousness next time the children are waiting in my drive.


Marsha: It was a glorious night for Joni, her band, and all of us priveleged to witness her tonight. She was animated and quite expressive in her delivery. I think she was relaxed, and it appeared as if she were really enjoying herself.

We noticed more syncopation, and rhythmic phrasing in her songs as she punched out the words, even on songs like Hejira and Amelia.

Her voice was the best yet; strong, clear, reaching higher notes than on her last tour out west. She was able to accomplish grace notes and slid into multi-noted words without effort, as I said before, "punching" the delivery. Also her strength was evident in greater volume as she actually belted out notes I have not heard on recordings since Shadows and Light.

Her look: A rust colored long silk skirt and matching tunic top, loose without belt nor cinching. It was a shade darker than her Parker Fly guitar and complemented it well. Her lips were berry-stained. She wore her favored silver ball earrings, and a silver necklace (?turquoise, small squash blossom pattern), and she had on her two rings of her left hand. That gemstone is still on her left ring finger, and a larger flat ring was on her middle finger. Her nails were silvery, the longer lengths being on her right hand...

I couldn't see her shoes for the long skirt and heighth of the stage from my vantage point. Her hair was of fuller body, a little fly-away, parted off-center a bit.

And to finish off the ensemble, I think she wore a wonder bra... ;-)

The band was tight, same members. I did meet and speak briefly with that gorgeous Chris Botti, her new Botticelli horn boy (muted trumpet), who told me he is moving to LA in two weeks (Kakki, I gave him your number! ;-D) from New York.

He is so beautiful. I think I am in love...

He posed with me for a photo. Thanks go to our Laura O for snapping us together.

The trumpet added drama and was louder and had more parts added than what Mark Isham played for her at the WB taping we will see in two weeks on PPV.

The setlist deviated a bit from Minneapolis, if Bard was telling the truth...no Don Juan's Reckless Daughter tonight...shucks!

And she flubbed the third line of Moon at the Window, stopped and said "I'm going to skip this one", put down her guitar and proceeded with Trouble Man. She did do the cigarette prop with Comes Love. She came back for an encore with Woodstock. The performance seemed to last only minutes, due to my transfixed state as she played. Joni looked happy tonight, and I was happy to see her looking so happy...heck, we all felt happy...

She did command attention from a shouting guy during her description (lengthy) of what prompted the Magdalene Laundries, and told him "I have the floor now" and asked us if we heard her, and was her voice a blurred sound? It was after this that she flubbed Moon..., and I see her pattern of confronting something onstage and then having a bit of a delayed reaction with a blocking of thought processes, maybe due to possible anxiety she might feel afterward.

I am eager to see her next in Atlanta (for me) and hope she keeps up the standard of the best performance I have seen out of the five I've been to since May.


Howard M: Did she *really* sing Don Juan's Reckless Daughter in MN? she didn't in Chicago!

And did she sing *Coyote*--for real, are you sure it was Coyote--I would have fainted if she had sung Coyote in Chi but she didn't.

The rest of the setlist was the same but these two songs were not sung in Chi. Neither was Moon at the Window--which she started but quit--I think there was a tuning mistake and she said forget it and took off the guitar and did Trouble Man.

She was in excellent, excellent humor.


Ok, I saw Joni in LA in May and I thought she was great but . . .

she nothing then compared to her performance in Chicago last night. Maybe it was becuz I was in the 11th row and could see her expressions. But I don't think so. She was transcendent. I cried twice. Once, during Hejira--just the lines "a defector from the petty wars that shell-shock love away" should give her genius status--and once during Amelia--when I went home and listened to the studio version, I knew that her live version is amazingly superior--when she sings the line "I crash into his arms, Amelia, it was just a false alarm", I can see/hear her heart breaking and mine broke with her. She was utterly amazing.

I *loved* that she began alone for a couple of songs. I *loved* that she got rid of her guitar for the last two songs (before encore) and got down with her bad self and sang Trouble Man and Comes Love (is this the name). The audience was totally with her and she knew it.

She seemed very, very pleased with the reception. All my friends who are not huge JM fans thought she was amazing. Because she was. I am so happy and jealous of all of you who will see her soon. I was actually thinking about flying somewhere else to see her becuz she was so damn good.

I will probably write more later.

And what a surprise to hear Free Man in Paris! Totally unexpected. I thought I would hear the same set that I heard in LA. I was hoping that she would have followed Free Man with TTT but alas . . .


One thing that pissed me off about the concert--and no, it wasn't Joni or anything she did--it was Johnny Mars, DJ for WXRT, who came out before Joni and talked about her and Dylan being so influential and all that great blah blah blah--and his station *doesn't play Joni*. I screamed that out to him but I don't think he heard me.

And another thing--about Joni and her amazing performance-- when I was listening to her sing Amelia and Hejira, especially, and then again on Woodstock--I thought that these renditions of those old, heart-felt songs are now sung so much more heart-felt because of the experience of life, just living life and she was pouring all that experience into the performance of the songs. I thought this of Amelia in LA also. But then I thought, she has made these songs mature now, as if they were meant to be sung by an older, wiser person rather than a younger, greener one. And if this is true for these songs, she becomes a bigger genius in my eyes. That she, as a younger person, captured this sense of retrospection at a young age that would resonate and transcend when sung at a later age. I hope this makes sense. These songs are so *right now* for her, it seems, and you can hear that in her voice, the inflection, the phrasing, the timbre, the depth, that it is surprising to remember they are over 20 years old. She elevated herself into the high heavens last night--and me with her.

I have not been in love with TTT. Some of you may know that. But I am going to listen to it with different ears or a different mindset. Facelift sent me last night--and it was hearing it on TTT that allowed this to happen.

God, she is great. And as much as Dylan rocked, and rock he did, I couldn't understand a word he said and that is not the voice of a generation, it is a growl and rasp without words. Joni's voice, however, in all senses of the word was . . . beyond beyond

Still on cloud nine and a half...


The Kingpin: 1. Joni was relaxed, confident, poised, enthusiastic and in excellent voice. And I mean *excellent* voice. Allergies? What allergies?

2. The set list restructuring from the West Coast shows is a good change. Solo bits first, new covers toward the end. "Comes Love" knocked me out.

3. No DJRD after the Minneapolis tease. Shit! Not nice kitty, kitty.

4. If you go, do NOT miss Dave Alvin (nor Dylan). I wish Joni had performed "Raised on Robbery" with Dave's band. Both NJC acts were tight and on target.

5. Move over Eric Clapton, Brian Blade is God.

After some loud jerk interrupted the flow of her intro to Magdalene Laundries, Joni quipped something funny and sassy like "not now honey........*I* have the floor now." Indeed she did.

Time to hit the road again; two hours to drive to Indy for tonight's gig.

P.S. Thanks for the chocolates, Laura!


Wolfebite: hello all

my own thoughts on joni in chicago.... i did get to see the concert by the graciousness and kindness of a fellow lister who had an extra ticket for me. i'm deeply grateful to you!!!!!

but first- the rousing meet and greet at the Sheraton- with Marsha (TN or should I say TNT!), Diane (AK), Kingpin Bob (KY), Brad & Kim (MN), Laura (our reporter) & Mike, Jody & Scott, and myself (IL). Quite the international gathering. missed around the piano (play exquisitely by our own FredNOW, aka Fred Simon) were Howard, Robbert, Don R, and who else? Mary P- we really missed you!!!! Oh and Howard- in the 11th row- were you left or right of center? we were mostly in the 12th & 14th on the left side of the floor.

the show---- kinda surreal- at least for me.... I haven't been to an arena show in years- not since REM in 1986 I think. The united center - the space is so large, so clean, and the crowd - fairly mellow- i thought it might be a college graduation or a motivational-speaker roundup- hoopla- event.... with speeches by betty ford and john glenn and susan powders on how to make the most out of your life...

dave alvin and Bobby D rocked- bouncing sounds off every angle of the place, sacrificing clarity for power... Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune put it best I think- about Joni's sound hovering in the air- filling the vast murkiness of that space with her amazingly intimate soundscape.

most everyone else has hit on the ups and downs- Harry's house is dull- Hejira and amelia were out of this world- just like this train- delicious- especially how she savors the line "watching your hairline receed.........(mull, mull, mull, relish...) my vain darling." Free man was a delight- but she's never played it live, that i've heard, that matches the C&S version, or takes it somewhere new IMHO. Crazy Cries, bouncy and sweet- Happiness is the best facelift, intimate and intense... I really feel people listening to this song (just as they did at Old town)- I think joni's hit a nerve for many people..... growing up but still facing your parents approval or dissapproval... (i think of my own mother- grown with children of her own- bringing up the subject of divorce with her mother- who shot back at her that she would disgrace the family.. Miss Hollywood is what Grandma called her...). Magdaleine Laundries was really great- she spit that out with full vengence! I wanted to hear coyote and DJRD- why were they cut??? She hardly talked much so it wasn't like she used up too much time.. (like she said). I think she was distracted after Magdaleine, and her quip to rowdy hooters in the crowd, and her sour start to Moon at the window...(she stopped and seemed like she was going to start again and then changed her mind... that split second to bring it all to a close) and maybe she sensed the crowd was restless, cuz frankly, they were. Chicago audience aren't always the most polite- and aren't good at holding there attention to thing that don't constantly bang them on the head. The level of chatter during her set did increase with each song- I could hear converstions several rows away! Living here in Chicago I feel confident in saying that Chicagoans can be really loud and obnoxious without knowing it... except laura and mike and scott and jody and fred and howard and..... and maybe switching right to Trouble Man and Comes Love was a way bring her and us back out of the trance- her emotional, rhythmic pulsing, hypnotic journey she lead us on. I image doing all those songs back to back takes it's toll on her too- there's lots of old ghosts in her songs. I felt them for myself; rethinking where i was when I heard this or that song for the first time. I laughed after her set and told Kingpin- okay, now I can relax.

But she did do an encore (which meant nobody yawned) of Woodstock- which gets spookier with each new telling.. her voicing tinged with the weariness of an old old story, wishing the same promise; toughened by need and urgency.

then she bowed and smiled sweetly and of she went.....

followed by the crazy man- BOBBY D- what a trickster he is....

so we went to Ritz Carlton (craving warmth and beauty) for a drink and glimpse perhaps- but the lounge was closed... good thing, the Ritz is about as cozy as wearing a fiberglass suit in an ice locker.

and i'm so glad to have meet some of you again, and some of you for the first time.

that's what makes the experience so special


Don: Words are such poor soldiers to enlist in a description of the United Center concert ... yes it was that transcendent. But try I will, and please excuse me if this comes out in bits and pieces -- you guys buried me like an avalanche of 433, yes count 'em, 433 new messages over the weekend.

So without further ado -- who but Joni cuold turn the United Center into a small club that seats about 50? Who else plays with such relaxed ease, sings with such purity and moves with such elegant grace? Mary Cassatt may have painted women's hands well, but give me Joni's moving across the strings of her guitar any day!

At once playful and reverent, chipper and melancholy -- disposing of her one heckler with charm and ease -- and turning the crowd around completely ... complete with her trademark "change of mind" on one song. Well it was all there, and I'm glad I was as well.

I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but unless you had seats farther back in the center (like mine in S106) you probably didn't. As Joni hit the opening chords of "The Magdalene Laundries", and the stage was bathed in that eerie blue/green light, a tremendous thing happened.

The entrances to the sections just behind the stage were curtained off. But light from the hallway gleamed through from the center and tops. The effect was that of a field of illuminated crosses suspended in a starless sky -- a constellation of etherial headstones for the 110 poor girls of the Magdalene Laundries. This is the most powerful thing I have ever seen at any show, anytime, anywhere.


Diana: Just got back in town and had to sort through 400 emails.

I want to tell you all how wonderful it has been for me to join this list. Not only did I get to see the smooth and sleek Ms. M. live, for the FIRST time, after being a fan for 30 years, but I also have had the best time with my fellow JMDLers.

I won't bore you all with my inept review of the concert since Marsha, Fred, Howard, Brad and others did such a great job of it. But I will give some small impressions.

It went by sooooo fast. Seemed only 5 min. Of course, the first 3 songs and maybe more were a blur as the tears were flowing. I have not seen other of her concerts to compare her performance to, but I did have the West Coast tape tree that I played on the way home to Arkansas. Her voice in Chicago was so smooth and flowing. The West Coast voice is short and brisk. She seemed so comfortable up there. And the Chicago fans seem to be enthralled! I want to thank the Kingpin for his expertise finding us such great seats. To Fred for his fantastic piano concert. (Need to get some of his CD's). To Doug for sharing his Chicago knowledge. And to Laura and sweet hubby Mark, Jody and Scott, Brad and Kim, It was great meeting you all. And of course to Marsha, my roomie, you are the BEST!!! We had such a great time. It is so weird that you can meet someone for the first time and find out you click like macaroni and cheese!

I'm sorry we didn't get to meet anyone else off the list that was there. Howard, Don and others. We *were* able to get a photo after the concert before security ushered us all out.

This last weekend will be one of the few beautiful memories that will flash before my eyes at the time of my death. One of the top 5 memories of my life!


Don: My wife and I were honored to be in Chicago for her performance and would have gone even if she were opening for Spike Jones. At the time of the interruption in Chicago, neither of us believed that the outburst from the stands was anything but a show of enthusiasm for Joni. But in the difficult communication between stage and seats, she ended up excusing the fan away somewhat clumsily. The fan she was talking to was below us (we were high and to the left of the stage for those of you blessed with seats on the floor). She was at the least confused over the reason for the outburst from the seats and could have ignored it from the perspective of the audience. I suspect that if she had the benefit of hindsight she would agree.

With regard to Mr. Rowe's comments regarding the Dylan fans, what may have comprised his audience 30 years ago IMHO does not necessarily represent his audience today. The Dylan segment was not "the poet" at work, sitting on his stool, strumming his six string and interacting with the faithful. The Dylan segment was a strong rock performance with lyrics which were simply a weak excuse for a tremendous rock line. It was immensely stirring, but unfulfilling for those who came to hear a poet. His older works did stir the audience but overall his faithful came to hear a rock concert and were not disappointed.

I reserve the title, "The Poet" for our own SIQUOMB.