A CHRONOLOGY OF APPEARANCES
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001
 

1998.11.01  Madison Square Garden  New York, NY

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

Image Gallery   [click to enlarge, then arrow keys to browse]:
Photo by Rose Marie Joy
Photo by Duane Kaschak

Register or login to upload one of your own.

Related articles from the Library:
» Dylan Takes a Chill Pill (New York Post, 1998)
» Joni-on-the-Spot (New York Daily News, 1998)
» Mitchell and Dylan Among Friends (New York Times, 1998)
» On a Bill With Bob, Joni Gets Back to the Garden (New York Daily News, 1998)
» Pop Legends' Playful Sides (New York Newsday, 1998)
» Preview of NYC Performance by Bob and Joni (Time Out New York, 1998)
» Urgency Emergency (Village Voice, 1998)
» We Are Stardust (Entertainment Weekly Online, 1998)
» If You See Her, Say Hello (Hotpress, 1999)
» King Bob and Queen Joni - A Crown Jewel of a Show (Blacklisted Journalist, 1999)

Comments on this appearance


» Log in and be the first to add a comment.

Archival comments


From JM.Com's Official Reporter - Duane Kaschak

The most distinctive difference from this performance to the shows on the west coast was the excellent form of Joni's voice. It was the voice on Miles of Aisles. It was brilliant, feminine and strong.

Her attire, Issey M. deep red velvet pants suit with bamboo geaufrasch, silver strapped shoes, Curl and teased up kind of hair, reminiscent of the insert photo from Miles of Aisles. She was more "dressed up" than LA.

The set list, consistent with all previous shows, included the grooved rendition of DRJD. This seemed to have all the Joniphiles in the audience, and there were many, swaying as a community. Madison Square Garden doing a Joni "wave" as it were. By this time, midway into the set, everyone was singing the words aloud!

I guess, what I feel is most successful and memorable about this particular show, was the opportunity afforded me by Wally Breese to personally thank Joni Mitchell. I was given the standard indoctrination of, "don't get star struck, and don't forget you're there in a professional capacity." I didn't forget that, but since I was able to stand there grinning like a fool, Joni spotted my wide eye open stare. I knew that she was aware of me. Behaving, I did not want to distract her.

I shot mostly Chris Botti and Larry Klein, difficult as it was given their position on stage and the poor light source. Continued to shoot and shoot, moving back and forth, aware of the compositions I was creating within my rectangular frame. I let her play, then beamed appreciation after each song. Typical ardent admiration.

At the conclusion of NRH it was time to leave the "pit". I stopped dead center of the mic and said, "Thank you, thank you soooooooo very much". She leaned and began to walk toward me smiling. Klein had overheard me and was smiling too. Checking herself, she said "This is a union stadium, so I'd just better play." I thought, well that's more than fine by me. Now that I recall, the only real talking during the whole set, was the introduction to the Magdalene Laundries.

So with that sentiment and knowledge that there were some very appreciative fans present, Joni gave a performance so moving and giving. The energy level was very high. The band, tighter than LA. The sound system more than adequate.

Thank you Wally,
Duane

The NYC crowd was also extremely responsive and receptive. No one at all out of line. Major applause for each and every song.

Joni's setlist:

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
Sex Kills
The Magdalene Laundries
Trouble Man
Comes Love
Woodstock


(From:BOOTSON2@ix.netcom.com)-First of all, I just discovered this site tonight on my return from Joni Mitchell's performance at Madison Square Garden. What a great way for fan's to share how Joni's voice reaches each of us. I consider myself a late bloomer to Jonidom since I didn't really begin to appreciate her until I bought my first Joni album, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, but that's another essay.

As far as the concert goes I didn't have great expectations since I've never been to a concert at the Garden and I knew we had nosebleed seats. I was concerned that the acoustics would be distorted and the intimacy of her voice would be lost in such a huge arena built for sport and spectacle. I'm glad to say that I was wrong. Even from my seat in the ceiling, she was radiant and the sound was mesmerizing.

New York is often considered a tough crowd, but Joni was welcomed back from the get go with open arms. To echo a previous review from another city, I also anticipated that she would perform "A Song For Sharon" during the Hejira section-only that it would've had so much more resonance here. However, "back to the garden" in the encore of "Woodstock" did ring with extra significance. I am still impressed by the sheer elegance of the band's set up and the simplicity of the musical arrangements. And her voice!

The covers of "Trouble man" and "Come Love" were a revelation. They both more than made up for the elimination of "Centerpiece" from "Harry's House." Joni as cabaret singer is a fantasy I would love to experience in a much more intimate setting like the Blue Note or my apartment. (Well, a partial fantasy.) It was wonderful to see her hands free to gesture nakedly, but not awkwardly without the center of her guitar.

I don't think we got to hear "Face Lift" here in New York, but that's okay. I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to see a legend perform at the top of her game.

By contrast, Dylan was a legend unfulfilled. I left after about his fourth for fifth song. After all, I got what I came for and more.

Gary Richardson

(From:John_Tavenner@sonymusic.com)-I've lived in New York City since 1981 and I don't think she has performed here during that time. I was fortunate enough to have excellent seats (fifteenth row on the floor) which was close enough to see that Joni looked as beautiful as she sounded. If this is what being 56 is all about, then I have nothing to fear about my imminent fortieth birthday. It was too bad that she dropped "Face Lift" and "Moon at the Window" -- she made a comment about the fact that this was a union hall and they were very limited for time, so she was going to keep the music going. I assume that the show had to end by a certain hour; her set seemed to be the same length as Dylan's. It seemed odd that she would drop a great song from her current album, in favor of (in my opinion) one of her least interesting songs, "Magdalene Laundries". Her voice, as everyone reports, was incredible. All the smokers in the audience cheered when she lit up on stage. The audience was very warm to her (even though, as was revealed shortly later, they were truly a Dylan crowd).

Dylan's set also had a sense of history to it. The man cannot play guitar, but fortunately hired someone who could. He has tremendous issues with diction, except (interestingly) on the one song he did not write, "The Times We Had" by Charles Aznavour. His singing was, how shall we say this, characteristic. But, all the same, he puts on a fine show. "Dylan Goes Acoustic" could be the headline for this tour. And his final encore of "Blowing in the Wind" was a poignant bookend to Joni's "Woodstock".

These two artists both came from the midwest, and came through the 60's folk scene, and brought along the way with them over the years the hearts and minds of legions of fans. It was a great experience to hear them perform again. 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
Sex Kills
The Magdalene Laundries
Trouble Man
Come Love
Woodstock

(From:Robert Ferraiuolo Well, even though I knew what she was to play...there I was...a sobbing mess during both "Night Ride Home" and "Amelia". Although I wish she would do songs like "A Case of You" and "River" I really don't think I could emotionally survive them live without checking into a mental institution!!

The crowd seemed pleased by her set, even though it could be a struggle at times for those who only knew the first and last numbers. I didn't find any annoying fans trying to rush her off the stage.

I am also a big Dylan fan but think that - in contrast to Joni- the man should have stopped playing live years ago. If you don't know Joni's songs, at least you get the jist of what she is saying- her voice clear as a bell. If you don't know Bob's songs you are SCREWED! It's funny that just because critics have cited a rebirth in his live performing abilities- everyone believes it and goes along with it. In reality, he sounds no better than he did in the late 80's when people were calling his live shows a joke. It's all in perception. He's got a better band, but it's almost like he has resorted to being the "entertainment" -nothing more than a hard working old crowd pleasing crooner. If everyone enjoys him so much despite his being uncomprehendable- that only means that no one even cares what he is saying.

I'm desparate to see Joni at a smaller Radio City Music Hall or Beacon Theater type place.

(From:sferber@newyork.bozell.com)-In reviewing last night's Joni concert at Madison Sq. Garden, I feel a bit like Roger Ebert might feel if he were forced to review a film that he'd seen from 500 feet away, with a lousy soundtrack and poor sight lines. OK, so you've figured out by now that my seat at last night's show wasn't exactly the greatest. But whose is, in a room that holds 19,000 people? The only acts that I've ever seen in the Garden that could reduce that monster space to seeming intimacy have been the Grateful Dead and Phish. The perfect venue for Joni Mitchell, I've always felt, would be to have her sit on a stool in my living room while I watched her from the sofa, glass of wine in hand! So I was a trifle concerned that her unique sound, with its delicate shadings and textured nuances, would be swallowed up by the chamber that is the Garden. And boy, was my concern justified!

In a word, the sound last night sucked! But even through the sonic mush, Joni managed to shine through. From the first chords of her solo "Big Yellow Taxi" to the awesome spectacle of her lounge chanteuse/torch singer, butt in hand, crooning "Comes Love," the Big Mitch was superb. The set list pretty much stuck to what she's been doing all along this tour, some highlights for me being a particularly nice "Amelia" and an oh-so-sweet "Woodstock" at the encore. (But when Joni sang ..."back to the garden," I don't think it was Madison Sq. Garden that she was referring to!!!) Her band is tight and tasty, but again, coming as they did through that sonic mush, was a bit hard to fully appreciate. Joni looks terrific, I'm happy to say--both lovely and elegant. She surely has one of the most charismatic auras of any performer I've seen...whotta stage presence! But of course, these words are coming from a guy who would've paid $62 (!) just to see Joni walk down the friggin' street! The crowd last night was certainly behind her; I witnessed no disrespect from the predominantly Dylan fans in the audience, as has been reported at other shows.

So all in all, I'd have to give the Big Mitch top grades for her performance and song selection last night, but feel that my experience could have been better. When you're in the presence of greatness, anything that muffles or interferes with your experience becomes a great annoyance. And Joni Mitchell (a.k.a. the world's greatest living artist AND the greatest Canadian who's ever lived) certainly IS greatness. But with Joni in concert, the closer and the clearer the better. When I saw her back in 1974 at Radio City Music Hall from the front row--literally at her feet--it was such a beatific experience that to this day I can't believe that I went through it! Joni, if you ever get to read these words, please do come back to the Big Apple, but PLEASE play at a venue such as the Beacon Theatre for a week, rather than the Garden for a day. Your sound and style demand it; monster coliseums only do you an injustice! And keep up the great work!

Sandy Ferber

(From:EVRIBUTJON@aol.com)-Well, she was amazing. I was at the Day in the Garden concert, where Joni was wonderful, but last night at Madison Square Garden she surpassed that. I was glad to see she did some older songs like "Free Man in Paris" and "Harry's House". And opening with "Big Yellow Taxi" is a smart move. I always felt she should get the crowd on her side, before she goes off to do the more introspective and jazzier stuff.

The great thing about this show was being among so many Joni lovers. Some guy in the section we were in ,was taking a poll to see who people were there for, Joni or Dylan.(No disrespect to him, I thought he was great too).Joni won hands down. (Many were younger and had never seen Joni live before). Anyway the whole place seemed in sync with her and applauded appreciatively after each song. "Trouble Man" and "Comes Love" were flawless, as were "Amelia" and "The Magdalene Laundries". Big surprise for me was "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter". How great it was to hear her do it live. I hope there will be bootlegs of this show, because I have to have that version. It rocked. I was also surprised she didn't do more from TTT. She only did "The Crazy Cries of Love". (When will she ever learn how to promote???)

For me this has been quite a Joni year. I never thought she'd tour again, let alone get the chance to see her twice in 3 months. It was certainly worth the long wait.

John Tartaglia

(From:Kai Wong She spoke minimally due to time constraints but played an incredible set. She has never sounded better. Brian Blade was very impressive on drums. My only complaints, the set was too short and those inconsiderate Dylan fans yakking away during Amelia! It really is time for Joni to headline, Bob is not a good mix. Totally mesmerizing.

Kai

(From:jbockwol@nimbus.ocis.temple.edu)-This was my very first time at Madison Square Garden and I must say that is has the charme of a well-maintained public restroom. Joni's very personal, poetic, intimate lyrics and music created a peculiar contrast to the surrounding arena. I would love to see her again in a venue that was actually conceived for listening to music. This being said I was surprised how excellent the sound was.

The decision to pair her up with Dylan was very unfortunate since the fans that seemed only to be waiting for him felt free to wander around, buy some more beer and block the view as a result of it. I'll also never forget the waiter who answered Joni's chorus from 'Amelia' shouting 'Champagne, Champagne' a feet away from me, eager to sell the beverage.

Joni Mitchell was fabulous. I was so grateful that she played so many old songs and almost nothing from her new album (which I personally think is one of her weaker ones).

Her band was fantastic and she seemed so at ease with being on stage. It couldn't get any better when she played 'Woodstock' as encore (the 'Shadows and Light' version).

I thought Dylan was okay and liked what he played but I was definitely there for Joni.

Johannes Bockwoldt

(From:social@bway.net)-Last night was the night I had eagerly been anticipating ever since I found out Joni was to be playing the Garden with Bob Dylan. I must say, I was enthralled and delighted by her performance. She has a captivating stage presence, and it was riveting, seeing her move from side-to-side while producing masterful sounds from her guitar.

Joni's voice has, truth be told, only gotten better as it's grown deeper. Her opening number, "Big Yellow Taxi," was infinitely superior to her 1970 version. Especially memorable were the reworkings of "Free Man in Paris" and "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter." I also immensely enjoyed her rendition of "Trouble Man," and hope she includes that on her next album. Unfortunately, there was one drawback to this show: the people behind and around me tended to chatter while Joni was singing such masterpieces as "Amelia," "The Magdalene Laundries," and "Hejira." I suppose they failed to appreciate her music as I do.

It appeared as if everyone was revved up to hear Dylan, but, to me, he was disappointing, and his recitation of his wondrous lyrics was unintelligible. Not to sound bitchy, but I much would rather have had Joan Baez up there singing "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," or "Farewell Angelina." I enjoyed "Tangled Up in Blue," but decided to leave after "One Too Many Mornings." Thanks to Joni, it was, all in all, a memorable and enjoyable concert.

(From:KAWANI@aol.com)-

WALLY.....
SHE WAS SO FAB....
okay let me calm down...

I had gone to l.a. to see her (may 21st show) out of fear that she would not come to new york... well so much for that but i had the l.a. show to compare to... i know she was not feeeling well out there and last night well to say the least... she was so on the money... her voice her set.. the band... the audience was so receptive.... she had on these red velvet pants with a long red & multi color striped type velvet jacket/top... she was the perfect diva. they had sold the seats out behind the stage as well.. but the stage setup was not bulky so you could see the entire band... she turned around often enough to suit the crowd behind her...

janet figueroa

(From:randerson90@hotmail.com)-Wally, I sent you this through my official mail...here's a backup. She was great.

The first time I heard Joni there were no record contracts, no fancy clothes, no multitude of fans. Last night was a different story.

Madison Square Garden, November 1, 1998. I sat in the third row to the right side of the stage. 50 feet away was my musical wonder. Joni confirmed to me her true musicianship by the reworks of her old standards. Incredible how a song can be rewritten.

First off THE WHOLE GARDEN gave her a standing ovation when she appeared.

Thenƒhow does one re-write a classic song. Ask Joni! Such beautiful rework of chords and estranged notes. Thank you Joni for this most wonderful experience.

I have experienced at least 8 or 9 of Joni's major concerts. Each is unique. No one is better than the other. Last night just leaves me more in awe of one of the most spectacular singer-song composers known to earth.

At one point I heard voices around me singing with her. It was the unknown crowd around me. 25 years ago I would have been annoyed. Last night I was thrilled.

When Joni sang Hejria (the Journey) it made not only my day, but decades of knowing her view of value of life - moving on and growing. At this point I yelled out directly to her, "Thank You, Joni.." It was a heart felt feeling of friendship and dedication.

The concert went on, her smoking a cigarette, while singing the most wonderful jazz intonations.

Joni, you are a most wonderful person to several generations. Teenagers through adults my age (our age) were just in tune with you all around me.

After the concert I took the subway home (3 stops) and I heard her name "Joni Mitchell" THREE times about how wonderful she was (with different compliments).

You have given us a lot Joni. DON'T STOP.

Submitted by: Rob Anderson, New York City

(From:cn40260@imcnam.sbi.com)-I'll keep it short. I haven't seen Joni in 15 years. I expect an artist such as her to improve musically with time, and I was not disappointed. However, one expects a singer's voice to deteriorate over time. It seems too me that, if anything, she has gotten better, improving her range and control. I was thrilled with the show. Amelia is one of my favorites, and I perhaps I cannot give an unbiased opinion since she played it.

I do need to respond to Gary Richardson. I too, was disappointed with Dylan's opening. He more than redeemed himself later in the show (very specifically, it was from the 6th song onward that things got MUCH better). Gary should have stuck it out.

Charlie Neiss

(From:MVal156763@aol.com)-Although it was the day AFTER Halloween, it was still "The Night Of The Living Dead." That's the only way to describe the underwhelming response given Joni and her terrific band for most of their set from the celebrity studded crowd that packed Madison Square Garden. Whether this was due to a smaller proportion of fans there to cheer Mitchell or the reserved character of their affections, I'm not really sure. Madison Square Garden is not a gallery. Why have fans decided to watch Joni perform like thery were in a museum? Joni's up there rocking out, and her fans are nodding and squinting, trying to look cooly disinterested. Here's an artist who loves to dance, but is winding up a wallflower. Get up on you feet, poseurs! One would think that Dylan fans are hip to good songwriting but the chatter that enveloped "Hejira" tonight indicated ignorance to the fact. Of course, Joni doesn't (or shouldn't) give a rat's you know what about my petty criticisms: "the best lack conviction given some time to think and the worst are full of passion without mercy," but here goes...

A technical note: The VG8/Parker Fly system is a marvel. I remember Joni wrestling with guitar after guitar. It was hard for her and the band to maintain momentum when dealing with all that hardware. How wonderful to be rid of that albatross! The system astounded me as it was ready with the next tuning instantly. The only drawback is the loss of some of the textural nuance that the physical detuning of the strings used to supply. This appears to be a compromise that Joni is comfortable with. The strings don't sound as if they change tension when the computer "retunes" them, so the vibration characteristics don't change either. No longer do they flap, bend and even buzz mechanically when pulled and hit. Songs like "Amelia," and "Just Like This Train" benefit from this, but it may not suit songs like "Cotton Avenue," "Slouching Toward Bethlehem," or "The Wolf That Lives In Lindsay." It's a shame that performance of some songs may not be considered because they are incompatible with technology that allows the artist enough freedom to be present. I'm sure that Joni could rework them to fit, but it may not do them justice. Also missing due to preoccupation with the new technology and shared tour etiquette are the warm, classically based piano compsitions. It would be a travesty to drop these colors permanently from the performance palette.

OK, here's the blow by blow:

8:30 or so, Joni takes the stage alone and is fitted with the guitar. She starts "Big Yellow Taxi," rewriting the last verse, sung a la Dylan "and a big yellow taxi pushed around my house and pushed around my LAAAND!" The crowd liked this.

She was a one-woman orchestra for "Just Like This Train," an astounding guitar arrangement and a brilliant vocal reading!

Joined by the band for "Night Ride Home," I was surprised by the recognition given the song by the audience, and given false hopes that she was going to own this crowd the whole set.

She introduced "Crazy Cries Of Love" with its origin as being penned for entry in the New Yorker magazine contest by Don Freed. No one danced, didn't they at least enjoy the voyeuristics? Lukewarm reception. I however, blew the whistle literally, for this one. I had borrowed my 3-year old son's wooden train whistle and blew it for my ovatioin. It's amazing how a sound that rattles the boardds in a hi-ranch disappears in Madison Square Garden. I'm sorry Joni couldn't hear it. After that response, she could probably have used a laugh right then.

Before "Free Man In Paris," she remarked that because this is "a union gig" she needs to keep things moving and is going to keep playing with less talk. I was perplexed because so far, she'd barely said a word. I guess she really sensed the crowd's growing restlessness. Bullies. Personally, I'd have traded this song for completion of something else down the line. More on that later.

"Harry's House" again showed off a fantastic guitar arrangement well suited to the new instrument. Brian Blade really dug some new grooves into this one. I kinda miss the "Centerpiece" break because its sexist vignette of suburban idealism helped motivate Mrs. Harry's now too sudden catharsis.

"Black Crow" Joni's voice doesn't echo the guitar leads anymore. I was really disappointed that people were not on their feet for this. The band is playing in a frenzy, and the vocal is INTENSE! Blade and Klein were doing amazing things.

Her reading of "Amelia" brought me to tears for the first time during the performance. Slower and more measured, Blade supporting with gentle rhythm, the song edges even closer to dreaming entrancement. I have been haunted and inspired by this song since it was released, even to the point of naming my daughter for it. She wears its name as beautifully. Baudelaire said, "Music fathoms the sky." This then, is MUSIC.

"Hejira" continues to suffer from most listeners' inability to discern its driving rhythm. This is an ultimate road song, designed to contrast aural imagery of the pulse of white lines passing under a moving vehicle and verbal depictions of the silent sounds of open winter space. I loved Klein's bass work, but he didn't really hang the notes in the air like vapor the way Jaco did, and Blade gave him lots of room. Oh, and would all you people talking SHUT THE F--- UP, PLEASE? This crowd just doesn't get it, and some of them should just know better or at least have better manners.

Then came an abridged version of "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter." I guess her 17 song set in Ottawa was too long for the union ruled Garden. A lyric changes noted here, "the EAGLE fighting for blind desire, the SERPENT for clarity." Someone's Freudian slip is showing. I'm sorry I didn't bring my ankle bells. I missed the native percussion. Someday, this whole song will be performed with people dancing in their seats, wearing all manner of jangling device. It will be a huge party and we'll all fall away happily spent at its end. I'm sorry I didn't get to Bethel this summer. Outdoors, this must be AMAZING!

Joni opted to drop "Face Lift" from the play list as performed in Ottawa. I guess it was solidarity with the cosmetic surgeons' union. This crowd wouldn't have appreciated something that personal at that point in the show, anyway.

Delivered with proper hard rock vitriol, "Sex Kills" demanded attention. The audience response was again incongruous, given the gravity of the lyric and the force of its reading. Where did these people think they were, the VATICAN? (From "Come In From The Cold,": I am not stone commission like a statue in a park, I am flesh and blood and vision, I am howling in the dark!) Save the polite attitude for Lincoln Center, people. The Death Of Outrage, indeed.

Finally, Joni spoke! She introduced "The Magdalene Laundries," giving a history of the institution. During its performance I cried again as her vocal was so passionate, "Surely to God you'd think at least some bells should ring!"

Another omission from the Ottawa play list, "Moon At The Window" is eclipsed. Pity, I was hoping to hear how Brian Blade would read it.

Joni gives up the guitar and lights a cigarette for "Trouble Man." She is lightened considerably by losing the instrument and delivers a confident, soulful cover. Dylan fans to my right remark that she should break the instrument Townsend style and just sing, they enjoyed it so much.

"Comes Love" grabbed the audience too. I was glad to see them awakened, better late than never. But here they were, really digging her jazz vocals. I took the opportunity to plub the "Mingus" collection and her Gershwin covers with Herbie Hancock. All the surrounding Dylan fans are interested in the possibility of her doing an album of standards. Go for it, Joni.

She leaves the stage after waving and a special embrace with Larry Klein. I was glad to see that, having met Joni and Larry in Los Angeles while they were married. Obviously, I'm not a lawyer.

Joni returns solo after a short, dark ovation to be refitted withi guitar for "Woodstock." I enjoyed how the Fender Rhodes was transcribed on the fretboard in the arrangement, but I was equally disappointed with the painted by numbers vocal. I'd have preferred the "Tiger Bones" instrumental, or its earlier spritual version, "For The Roses." Not that Joni should give a rat's...

At about 9:40 or so the lights jumped on and the celebrities scattered for cover, like cockroaches. Now that was funny. Please don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for ANY opportunity to see Joni perform live. And perhaps from another seat, it seemed like it was her room after all. But after seeing Mitchell headline bitg arenas and amphitheatres, it's difficult to see her warm up the audience for another act...even a godly one whose audience should be sympathetic to her talents. It was painful to see her perform for people who felt they need to "suffer" through her set to get what they wanted. She deserves better. Her fans shouldn't feel as if they're islands in seas of indifference, either. But you reap what you sow: a few could use some lessons in loosening up. If the joint tour concept makes seeing Mitchell easier or more accessible, then power to it. Maybe smaller halls with other jazz/rock/fusion artists is the way to get her the audience she calls: us "LOW-DOWN-NO- DOWN-BEATNIKS." I bet Sting, Herbie Hancock and Joni would make a great triple at Radio City or The Beacon. Please come back soon to New York, Joni. Really, we have so much more to give.

Chris Coccaro

(From:bdb4945@is3.nyu.edu)-Having grown up with Joni Mitchell's work since the age of 12, I was deeply honored to attend her concert at the Garden on Sunday, 1 November. This evening showed us an artist replete with prodigious powers: her voice elegantly twined round its melodic phrases, arcing the line so that words and tone were somehow equivalent; her guitar playing pulsed with rhythmic life. evincing a profound propulsiveness which was even more pronounced than on her recordings, and the depth, the quality of her music resounded through the carvernous space, making that space another thing. This is one thing that all great art does for us, I think; it reinvents the space in which we live our lives, affording us the opportunity to imagine other ways to experience, to think about, to feel the physical world through which we move. And it appears that Mitchell has worked on her vocal instrument, honed it, so that she was able to sing "Free Man in Paris" in its original recorded key! Her rendition of "Hejira" was a web of sound, written through with a vocal line which ached with the consideration of loss, so that that loss, too, was given to us as a reimagined thing--a kind of gain.

I left the concert with the abiding joy of being on this spinning globe at the same time as such an artist, a woman who--at the peak of her powers on Sunday night--helps us to reconceive the wonder of being here. May she continue to give us all that gift in future work.

Bruce Bromley

(From:PPeterson4@aol.com)-Joni was in top form and played and sang beautifully, as did her band. This was a great artist at the top of her form.

HOWEVER, she shouldn't be singing in such cavernous venues. The sound was atrocious: echoey, distorted and lacking impact. Anyone on the sides (it was a crime that these seats were even sold!) not only couldn't see her face but could barely hear her vocals through the morass of echoes and distortion. Even with binoculars she was so far away from most of the seats that her face was barely visible.

The crowd didn't help. many of whom had come for Dylan and who talked and moved around all through her set.

Now one might say, "What did you expect?" at a concert in a 22,000 seat hall.

Here's what:

1. A sound system suited to the venue. I have heard Peter Gabriel and Barbara Steisand at the Garden and they made themselves heard beautifully.

2. A video screen so people could see Joni.

If the cost of doing the above is prohibitive, then Joni shouldn't appear in such places. For all her griping about the greed that dominates the music industry, I can't help feeling that this tour is a chance for her to make some easy money and the fans be damned.

My advice to anyone who can't get floor seats at one of these concerts is wait for the pay per view concert or until Joni is willing to appear in smaller halls.

Paul Peterson

(From:DXDABOMB1@aol.com)-A little background leading up to the concert. I first heard the news about the Dylan/Joni tour thanks to the Wally B. Joni Home Page. Thanks Wally! The day that the tickets went on sale I was first in line at one of the Ticket Master outlets. At 9:00 am sharp my 3 top priced tickets were on their way out of the printer. ROW 45???? Can someone please explain to me how this process works?

Well, the important thing was that Joni was touring again and coming East. On the night of the concert, I picked up some flowers at a stand on 7th Avenue. Once in the Garden, one of the ushers asked me jokingly, "Are those for Bob?" Yeah, right! Problem was that there was a barrier set up behind the first 15 rows or so with guards posted. I mentioned to the supervisor that I wanted to give the flowers to Joni at the stage after her final number. He said that the concert's production people would not allow anyone to approach the stage at any point during the concert. WHAT?

Dave Alvin & the Guilty Men provided a quality performance in the opening segment. There was about 20 minutes of stage preparation for Joni. Then the house lights dimmed and Joni was introduced. There was a thunderous ovation. It was great to hear. Joni appeared to be very appreciative of the enthusiastic welcome. Joni looked absolutely beautiful. Golden, flowing hair, looking radiant in every respect. Her rendition of BYT was outstanding. Great selection to open with. Her "Dylan" take with one of the verses brought a cheerful response from the crowd. Joni's vocals were excellent throughout the entire performance. Her guitar chords were vintage Joni. No one does it better. The high point for me was hearing "Amelia" live. Unbelievable! I didn't want the segment to end. Keep it coming. I only had to ask someone to keep the noise down once and it went without incident.

When Joni came out for her encore (Woodstock), I decided that I was going to get the flowers to the stage. The barrier entrances were covered with guards who refused entry, but a nice usher said that she would bring the flowers to the stage. It was a very emotional evening for all of us Joni fans. I truly hope that Joni will tour again, this time as the headliner, and definately at a more intimate venue. I was very happy for Joni that her return to New York City was so glorious. What a talent. By the way, the Garden was a sell out with the exception of a handful of seats behind the stage.

Thanks to Wally for giving us a forum to share our thoughts on the tour. It's been great reading everyones comments from city to city.

Jim Savage

(From:Mildew02@aol.com)-wally

let me first say that there is no length of time that is long enough for joni to sing all the songs that i would like to hear. this concert as she told the audience was subject to time restraints,due to union rules; so she was not going to talk to the audience very much but sing instead. she sang for about an hour and had a really great mix of old and new, considering the limited time. she was terrific which is no surprise and every number had a jazz quality so prevelant in her new songs. i was thrilled that she sang my two absolute favourite joni songs: "just like this train" and "magdelene laundries". she was what appeared to be genuinely surprised that the audience loved her and wanted more music. she performed one encore only and sadly she dissapeared. i would have paid triple the price to see her for that short amount of time. there is no one that touches us with words like joni.

mildred miller nj

(From:Luvin2Live@aol.com)-Wally,

I went to see Joni on November 1st ,at Madison Square Garden, in NYC. I have to tell you , it was a dream come true for me. I have been listening to Joni , ever since I was a young girl. My mother always had her blasting in the house. I never thought i'd ever have the chance to see her play live. My best friend suprised me with tickets to see her, and I was ecstatic! Ive been playing the guitar for 22 yrs, and have been writing songs. After I saw her on November 1st, I told my friend " ok , I can die now"! (Ha- Ha) Ive been to alot of concerts in the past, but none of them compares to the Joni concert I went to.Im not being bias,she truly was sensational! She positively is my inspiration. I hope that one day if I ever make it in the music biz, I will have the opportunity to meet her. Thankyou for providing this website for all of us Joni fans!

Julie (luvin2live)

(From:richardashcroft@pil.net)-Hey Wally!! I went to see Joni and Bob Dylan on the 1st of November and was I surprised at what an excellent show it was! The entire crowd went nuts when she came back for an encore with "Woodstock." It was terrific!

-Ryan

(From:JerNels@aol.com)-

Thanks, Wally, for maintaining this wonderful site. For a Joni fan, it's the ultimate in one-stop shopping.

I saw the Madison Square Garden concert on Nov. 1st. My wife, daughter, and I were seated in Section 346. It's straight out from the stage, but as far back and high up as you can get without sitting in the press boxes. After all the sound complaints, here and from friends who had better seats, I'm pleased to say the sound was perfect for us, especially for Joni's portion of the concert. We heard every word and guitar lick.

It was a special occasion for me, as I've been a Joni fan ever since discovering "Song to a Seagull" in a record bin, on a trip to Canada. I recognized a couple of the songs and bought the album. Needless to say, I was hooked.

We've passed on our appreciation of Joni to our daughter, now 18 and attending college nearby. She was able to join us for the concert, and I felt as if I'd fulfilled a longstanding dream, to take her to see Joni live.

I was beaming when Joni opened with "Big Yellow Taxi". I've been playing the song for my daughter since she was a tot.

The rest of the set was superb. My daughter, a poet, was especially taken with the vivid songs from "Hejira" ("Black Crow", "Amelia", and "Hejira").

Highlights for me were "Free Man In Paris", and recent favorites "Sex Kills" and "The Magdelene Laundries". All of us were moved by the mini jazz set of "Trouble Man" and Billie Holliday's "Comes Love". And "Woodstock" was a perfect encore.

I hope Joni enjoyed the experience sufficiently to give New York another look, preferably at the Beacon, or maybe an extended stay at the Bottom Line, or another club setting, any of which would be great...

(From:kqh8754@is5.nyu.edu)-Dear Wally --

Thanks to your site I am closer to realizing high hopes of finding out how to play the music Joni played so masterfully and evocatively at this amazing event than ever I would have been without this site and, of course, the WWW.

I was exhausted that Sunday of the concert -- totally spent from the last-minute stresses of organizing/assembling a crazy contribution to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. So I can't believe that I managed to do myself the gigantic favor of getting my butt up to Madison Square Garden in a taxi on Sunday night to see if I could buy a ticket to this amazing, sold-out double bill. As soon as I got out of the cab a block away, someone asked if I was in the market for a ticket. He sold me a great ticket at face value. I felt that luck was a lady that night. I didn't walk, I swept into MSG with only my binoculars and a sense of serendip to keep me company. Then I made friends with everyone around me and where I was sitting, and _no-one_ talked during AMELIA!

Thanks to this concert, I became reacquainted with some painfully long- lost loves: music, the unselfconscious desire to sing and play, the feeling of freedom and uplift that a great musical presence offers... I go out a lot but for some reason not to "pop" music. What have I been thinking?!?! I had lost touch with the source, but I've reconnected now.

I too had feared that Joni Mitchell's voice had been going inexorably downhill. But now it sounds better than it's been. She actually sustained a few tones without the wobble to which she'd descended long back, a wobble that you don't hear much on her more recent work because... she doesn't sustain tones much any more. Her pitch was spot-on. Again, no wobble to undermine it. Such a relief. Something is going right, something is being righted in the world. Not everything deteriorates. Some things get better and better. Joni Mitchell's musicianship is one such. Sheer inspiration. So intelligent and uncompromising and committed.

I was amazed that she played such oldies. I thought I'd scarcely recognize anything in the concert, because I pretty much stopped buying her music in the late 70s, with a few exceptions. I started listening to some more recent Joni after attending a John Kelly show at Westbeth a year or so ago. The audience was a spectacular mix: half Joni fans from the 70s, and half gay male diva fans of the 90s. Kelly's homage/send-up featured some beautiful songs I'd not heard till then. I started to catch up, but not in a hurry.

Now I'm in a hurry, though. I want to learn all those songs, and I want to learn to play them. If anyone in NYC is able to teach me what and how she played -- in whatever tunings -- at MSG, I would be extremely grateful. I've already emailed some people directly about this. I'll be glad to trade lessons in the songs I do know, from her earlier days, such as (on piano) FOR FREE, RIVER, etc.; (on dulcimer) ALL I WANT, CASE OF YOU; (on guitar) BIG YELLOW TAXI, CHELSEA MORNING, BOTH SIDES NOW.

Meanwhile I'll try to figure out what's what from the tablature pages I've found online. But there's nothing like a lesson to show you the real thing --

Thanks so much for the site Wally. I should have joined in here a long time back --

Regards,
Karen Haight

(From:drind@giss.nasa.gov)-To set the stage, let me first note this is about the tenth time I've seen her perform over the years. The first four were in the late 1960s, including several performances at the old Fillmore East, where she shared billings with such noteworthy excessive self-indulgent pounders as the Chambers Brothers, and people yelled "Kill Nixon" from the audience at every pause in the action. Yet when Joni came on, it was like a visitation: a blond angel with a lifting voice, whose intensity and seeming purity swept everyone along with her. No worries then about talking in the audience; even breathing seemed sacrilegious. Following those days, I saw her again in New York in '74, where she was at the peak of her vocal strength, and together with Tom Scott she hit every note with power, flexibility and assuredness. It was like watching a goddess, one with wisdom and strength. By '76 at the massive Nassau Coliseum, the power and vocal dexterity were still there, albeit lost in the distance. '79 in Forest Hills found her more distant still, not only physically but emotionally. By '83 in New Jersey she was slowly losing her head voice (the one she wrongly refers to as falsetto), and had already stopped playing her most affecting songs. The talking in the audience had noticeably increased.

Since that time, she has still been my favorite artist, by far, but it's been somewhat disconcerting to watch her vocal range diminish. Even more troublesome is the wise, compassionate being who we thought we saw back in the 60s has turned into what she predicted many years back: a cantankerous, older (though not old) lady. I must further admit that I've listened to her new album less than any other new album, including the first. Am I drifting away, or is she? So I approached this concert with somewhat minimal expectations; therefore this review is, I believe, pretty objective.

(One more prelude: I had my own version of Joni's troubles with the audience, in the form of two Cro Magnon girls sitting next to me, talking and laughing throughout Joni's set. The Garden vendors should NOT have served champagne (no joke). I thought, "more insensitive clods here to see Dylan", although they did applaud loudly after each of Joni's songs. When Dylan came on, they sat through a couple of numbers, and then left! Moral of story - it's not just Dylan's fans that won't awards for sensitivity.)

-----------

Joni came out looking very attractive - compared to some recent photos, it's a testament to what makeup and a long distance from the balcony (though with powerful binoculars) can do. Plus those high cheekbones...

She was greeted by tumultuous applause. I think it took her by surprise. Obviously the audience was rewarding her for all the history she had provided, as well as for surviving all these years. New Yorkers are obviously more savvy (a biased comment) than in some of the other venues she's recently been in.

I don't think she truly recovered her balance from the greeting when she started Big Yellow Taxi. It was somewhat hesitant, and was slow to develop a good rhythm. The Dylan impression got a big cheer, of course. She ended with a low voiced "Why Do They Want to Go and Do That" instead of the famous high-pitched cackle. Overall, B+.

Just Like This Train was performed in a functional manner. Nowhere near the suppleness of Court and Spark. B

Night Ride Home fits her current voice very well. And it's such a beautiful song, and seemed a little longer here than on the album. She warmed up to being on stage. A

Crazy Cries of Love - well, she's finally gotten the rhythm of the final line (in lieu of Love's Cries), and that helped make the song substantial. A

Free Man in Paris - a good test of her singing, and she came through well. In this case a credible simulation of the Court and Spark version. A

Harry's House - her voice carried the subtleties nicely. It still misses "Centerpiece" a lot - wonder if she doesn't think she can hit it? Nevertheless, well performed despite that. A

Black Crow - well sung, but surprisingly short. In comparison to what it's been in other live settings, A-

Amelia - ever since she stopped singing the old songs, this has been her most affecting number, and it was so again. Performed well enough. A

Hejira - a very hard test for her voice, and she sang with really surprising strength and range. Obviously, news of her vocal death has been greatly exaggerated. This was a better job than some of the versions she sang in the 70's. A highlight of the show. A+

Don Juan's Reckless Daughter - I'm as big a fan of Castaneda as anyone else, but this song needs to be built up to. Joni once said it was meant to be the second half of a back-to-back set with Coyote, and jumping into it from Hejira is a big change of pace, not only for the audience but her as well. She sounded at times as if she was trying to get through all the words. While it was sung well enough, B+

Sex Kills - A forceful presentation, it seemed to fit in Madison Square Garden better than other places I've heard her give it (especially on TV). Maybe because hockey players routinely try to kill each other in the Garden, so there's an air of violence about, or maybe it's just New York. A

The Magdalene Laundries - this has the potential to be a show stopper, and we've all seen performances of hers in which it reached its potential. Unfortunately, this did not - it was too slow, never found its rhythm, and though the audience applauded wildly at the end, I think it was their appreciation of the song, rather than the performance. B

Trouble Man - energetic performance, I've little to compare it with. Seemed well done, but didn't seem to be anything overly special. A-

Comes Love - another excellent singing performance, carrying the tune, feeling the subtleties - if she could sing standards like this, it would be well worth it. The singing here was so much better than the admittedly atmospheric but still vocally restricted performances on the Herbie Hancock CD. A+

Woodstock - the Shadows and Light Version, well sung, not quite as good as the original. A

Overall Impression: an A performance. The biggest surprise was her vocal resurgence, which probably corresponds with a renewed interest in performing (chicken and egg here). It shows that the flashes of vocal strength on TTT (especially Harlem in Havana) could really be a harbinger of things to come. A friend of mine who'd never seen her said afterwards that she had just seen an icon, and that's the impression I think all first-timers would get - someone who lived up to her billing as one of the 'immortals'. I'm happy she can still do that.

Of course Dylan came on next, and while I really enjoy his music (special high points were Don't Think Twice, and Tangled Up in Blue), my feeling is that with him it's only Music. Despite Joni's foibles, seeing her is still More than Just Music. It's good to know.

David Rind

(From:hideaway@dti.net)-Hey Wally. Thanks so much for this site.

My first LP album EVER was Court and Spark. My first CD EVER was Hejira. Of course, I own them all now. I have been a fan of Joni's since age 8 (about 25 years and counting) and have converted numerous friends to the harmonic and rhythmic sophistication that is Joni Mitchell. I scheduled an entire trip to California last May because, as all Joni fans know, Joni in concert has always been (at best) a rarity. I even bought one of those signed lithographs which eventually sold for 1/3 the price in NYC (but, hey, no biggie). Do I mind that she ended up a fews hours north of me at Bethel a few months later, or less than a mile from my Greenwich Village home last month? You all know I don't mind. I went. I'd fly to the Great Wall in China. Taped the PPV special as well. What a happy year to be a Joni fan!!

Everything I would want to say has been said. We all love Joni and want to see her more. I would only want to add my voice to those who wish for the following:
1. Joni in NYC for several nights someplace cozier than MSG. Please! What about Carnegie Hall?
2. Joni doing more covers. I was SO pleasantly surprised to hear "Trouble Man" at MSG. I never imagined that Joni could move me that much with someone else's song. I guess the idea never occured to me. But now that my appetite has been whetted, I would LOVE to hear Joni's takes on the compositions of others since she must have tons of favorite standards, as we all do. Basically, if Joni thinks she can and should do such a project, I have no doubt that all of her fans (myself included) would be thrilled. It sounds like a great idea...
3. I saw John Kelly's show at the Westbeth and even though I know he's a big fan, I just felt uncomfortable -- he couldn't do her justice. On the other hand, how wonderful to have an opportunity to see something about Joni!! For the record, my high school best friend (and HUGE Joni fan thanks to me!) loved it. So what do I know?

Lastly, I thought Joni and Larry looked like they were having a great time, which made me smile. I don't know what happened between them, and it's certainly none of my business, but the call of the music seemed to supersede all else. They all sounded fantastic and I was only sorry when it ended.

Tara Polen

PS- I wanted to stand and dance SO BADLY in NYC, but I didn't want to block anyone's view. But then everyone stood for Dylan, and I regretted my shyness during Joni's set. I did give her some pink roses, but who knows if she ever got them?

(From:RBoyle3349@aol.com)-Joni was fabulous. I had seen her at woodstock and thought she was great, but this show was different. Joni seemed to portray a darker, more confident or controling vibe. There was also more cohesion within the band. Brian Blade's drumming was almost melodic and added a new dimension to "Harry's House", not present on the studio or "Shadows and Light" versions. Unfortunately, Larry Klein's bass playing was buried in a muddy EQ setting more as if to fill space than to fly like Jaco. I was very excited by the set list as it contained many of my personal favorites. I did not know "Free man in Paris" or "Don Jaun's Reckless Daughter" were part of Joni's touring selections and I'm grateful they were. Joni's new material is sterling and her old music has mellowed and reinvented itself as if her group was a digitally remastered version of the Jaco/Metheny touring unit. I feel fortunate to have seen Joni not once, but twice this year, and that's two times more than I had ever expected to see her. Thank you for touring, Joni !!! We love you !!!!!

Roy Boyle
New York

(From:PryvtEy105@aol.com)- Dear Wally: I was lucky enough to attend the show at the garden. When I first heard Joni was performing I was excited as I knew this was a rare treat. I have seen Dylan many times and though he was top billing, I was more interested in seeing Joni. I was lucky to have good seats and was mesmerized by her presence. I was particularly amazed by her mastery of the guitar and her unique playing style. Her voice was rich like a fine wine, and I thought her set was well selected. I must admit I'm a little biased as Hejira is my favorite album. I was all encompassed by her performance and wish Dylan never showed up. I could have listened to her all night. I am also a new visitor to your website which I enjoy very much. I also ordered her recent pay per view special "Painting with words and music" and recommend it to all Joni fans. A warning to all men...you may fall in love with her. I can only hope to have the pleasure to see her again live preferably at a smaller more intimate hall.


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

JMDL Member Comments

Barbara L: just got back from the NYC show. Blown away!!!!! She was awesome, and then some. She sounded soooooo great! The band--un F ing believable. Larry and Brian were so tight that shit was breathing.

Sat thru about 4 or 5 tunes of nasal Bob--that is all I could stomach. Would someone please explain to me the appeal there. I'm missing it. Joni is so infinitely better as a musician. In upcoming cities make sure you see her.

Merchandise--As far as T-shirts-as listed on previous posts($25). Also Joni lithographs: unsigned $75.00 signed $150.00


Mary: Yes--my impression exactly. I knew I'd love listening to an evening of Joni's singing and guitar work, but wasn't prepared for how greatly impressed I'd be by this particular group of musicians backing her. I thought they played *extremely* well together, showed depth and innovation, capitalized on one another's strengths, and complimented each other as well as Joni. And while I never let my primary attention wander very far from Joni herself during the concert, I did enjoy noting where one musician or another would enter a song at a particular place, or how one instrument would seem to "play off against" another, to great effect, but with seemingly little effort.

These settings really did justice to Joni's work. And, while I may have been somewhat tongue-tied at our (brief) Thursday morning meeting outside the hotel, I'm very glad I got the chance to convey some of these thoughts to her in person.


Richard (from the Dylan list): Joni's set was great; stronger than I expected, to be honest. She seemed completely at ease and the crowd was very attentive. There were a lot of people who came primarily to see her. "Comes Love" was the standout..really wonderful. She is a jazz singer.

An unexpected benefit of having Joni Mitchell open is that the quiet & attentive mood her music demands seems to spill over into Dylan's set. The audience got remarkaby hushed during the softest moments of Bob's quiet songs. That's pretty amazing for Madison Square Garden. Kudos to the crowd!


Sridhar (from the Dylan list): It was the first concert I've ever been to, and wow, was it an incredible experience. We sat pretty high up, but it was OK, because the sound was fantastic. Joni Mitchell was outstanding, opening with Big Yellow Taxi (WOW!). Dylan was outstanding, with Tangled Up in Blue, Highway 61, Gotta Serve Somebody, and the three encores. Best part of the evening? Has to be a tie: the clap in Blowin' in the Wind, and the singalong chorus of 15000 people on Rainy Day Woman. All in all, an exceptional night, and one I will remember for a long time.


Andy: wow! what a dynamite show! she looked beautiful. and i never dreamed she would play so much of her older stuff- hejira, amelia, free man in paris, harry's house, and more... she looked really beautiful too. and i couldnt believe she smoked a cigarette on stage while she was singing... she looked so cool and sexy and... WOW! everyone went nuts and she got a standing ovation and came out and played woodstock for an encore... WONDERFUL! so did anyone write down all of the songs she sang? if so, will someone send it to the list...? that would be very kind.


Debra: DAMN! She's GOOD!

What a strong performing presence she has. It's like she holds herself in, even when she's rocking, and she's so focused, energy comes right out of her center. I can't see auras (don't even know if they exist), but surely hers would be golden with rays touching everyone.

She got a GREAT reception here in New York. From where I was sitting, it looked like 99% of the audience was there to see her. People stood, clapped wildly, whistled when she was introduced.

And, as in earlier concerts, she sang the first two songs solo. There's something so vulnerable about that, no big noise to hide behind. No one to communicate with but the audience. Very smart to sing BYT first, with her Bob imitation at one point. People laughed and cheered. It's like she was saying, "yes I know you Bob fans are here and I respect that; I like Bob too."

Each band member got a big hand, especially Brian Blade and Larry Klein. Joni said it was a union hall, so there wouldn't be time for her to do much talking, and she didn't. It was a quickly played set, one song right after the other, and at one point during Free Man in Paris, I thought, wow, what a rocker she is. This is not my old friend Miss Melancholy. Even Amelia, well, it didn't exactly become a dance tune, but the backup sounds were so forceful, hearing "maybe I've never really loved . . ." didn't put me in tears the way it usually does. It made me think and want to pay lots of attention to all the sounds I was hearing. Different.

So now the comments and reviews about Joni reinventing herself are making sense. I expected to be awash in memories and emotion, bringing to the concert decades of experiencing her music and connecting it to certain events. It didn't happen (that is, I didn't cry the whole time, overwhelmed, as I really thought I would). It's like I was hearing this music for the first time, which really impressed me, thinking that these songs written 20-30 years ago sound brand new and so alive.

In fact the only time I got teary was when the concert ended and everyone stood, and the applause was so loud! I felt very happy that Joni was getting such positive feedback and proud that these thousands of New Yorkers, who are often outspoken to the point of being really rude, treated her so well. (Since I live here, I feel weirdly responsible somehow.) There had been no heckling, and Joni seemed happy as she left, walking with a bounce around the stage and waving to the audience. The people in seats behind her really appreciated that (she had turned to face them occasionally during the concert).

My favorites were Crazy Cries and DJRD, which they didn't restart, but it was a long while of strumming, swaying and getting in the groove before it finally took off. It was great hearing her sing that. And Sex Kills sounded great. When she plays it solo, I hear it as a strident scolding; with her band it's passionate and powerful. Oh, and Magdalene Laundries was so moving, as though Joni herself was one of those Irish girls.

It was a fantastic concert; felt like I was meeting Joni for the first time.

Oh, and her jazz singing at the end! Phew, hot! Smoking, both literally and figuratively, with no guitar and her arms held out from her sides, and lots of hand movements as she was singing, she looked big, broad and sultry.

I stayed for all of Bob Dylan's set, even through the encore, since I'd never seen him perform live, and so many of his songs are part of our culture, I was just plain curious. I'd expected hearing Joni would be a nostalgia trip, turned out Dylan was. The only Dylan album I have is the blue double-album Greatest Hits, which must be 25 years old by now, but still I recognized most songs; probably some of them from the Joan Baez albums I used to buy. He ended his encore with "Blowin in the Wind," which people clapped along with. That song was on the Peter, Paul & Mary album my parents gave me when I was five (my very first album). That was a very long time ago -- talk about memories! I gotta say, though, I was impressed with his performance. It's nothing at all like Joni's, can't even compare them. He's like a music making machine, jamming with the guys, very loud, strong steady beat, energetic. Everyone with seats on the floor, and even some people in the raised sections, were standing and dancing during his whole performance. And, he does have a poetic way with words; some of them I could make out as he sang, most I remembered from somewhere. He seemed really happy too, dancing around, smiling when people started clapping to Blowin in the Wind. I was looking at him through my binoculars then and realized I'd never seen him smile before. Figured he was extraordinarily happy. He also did a lot of talking, most of which I couldn't understand, although it does sound like he has a southern accent. What's that about? Isn't he from Minnesota? His energy is so different from Joni's. I imagine his aura as bright red with tentacles whipping out toward people but quickly curling back toward himself.

So, it feels like I've been to two completely separate concerts tonight that just happened to be in the same place. Both of them were great! Both of them were a big surprise.

Meeting other Joniphiles also made this a special evening. It was so comfortable talking about Joni's music with Kai Wong, who sat next to me during the concert. (We talked all through Dave Alvin's set without even thinking about whether it was disturbing any Alvin fans -- lots of seats were empty at that point and no one shushed us, so we talked then and while they set up for Joni and then for Dylan. That is so much fun, talking face-to-face with someone who knows all about Joni, a first for me.)

And, meeting JMDLers at the Irish bar before the concert was confusing at first, but also a very good experience. I got a friendly, Hi Deb, and soon after that a big hug, and by now I'm thinking this is an unusual amount of positive energy considering I rarely post and have most recently shown myself to be a crabby art snob. Oddly friendly group, is what I'm thinking. Turns out people thought I was friendly Deb Messling, who finally arrived and who is indeed pleasantly friendly. So, it turned out OK (and I can remain crabby, thank god!).

All in all, and in every way, a very good evening!

Goodnight everyone, even this night-owl has to call it a day sometime.

P.S. One beautiful sight was seeing JONI MITCHELL on the brightly lit, flickering marquee outside Madison Square Garden, greens and whites, big and bright. Ahhhh!!


Deb: Well, at a party on Saturday night, I mentioned Joni Mitchell, and someone said, "her voice is shot."

It isn't. My god, she sounded beautiful, as did her band. I like that Chris Botti fellow. My personal high point was "Amelia." She sang it with such feeling, and her voice rang like a bell. I like the way she has re-arranged the verses, too. It increases the poignancy of the lyric.

Fellow NYCers (so good to meet all of you, and wish it could have been longer), did she omit the last verse of DJRD, or did I drift off for a moment?


Eric: I have been away, not on some vacation but rather banished by my ISP who has deemed mail from this list as SPAM, and does not let me receive it. Let me begin with a warm hello to everyone here, Roberto, Wally, Patrick, Carol, Lisa, and everyone else whose name escapes me at the moment.

My thoughts were with you last night as I watched Joni at Madison Square Garden, from my seat in Section 204. I was blown away to hear so many songs from my favorite album, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. Through the tastefully sparse arrangements, I was mesmerized by the realization I was finally seeing Joni live, and in such good form. Her voice was so ON, SO on as it rose from this noble, genie-like figure in the flowing red dress and filled the Garden like opium.

Although I respect Bob Dylan, it is sometimes hard to remember why, especially in such a juxtaposition as last night. I sat through his set hoping he would return with Joni for just one duet so I might hear her voice one more time. It didn't happen.

When Bob broke into "Everybody Must Get Stoned" and the Garden hopped to its feet, I sat back and stared at the circular scoreboard box hanging from the center of the ceiling. There was a crack between the panes which barely revealed a room behind the score boards, a secret clubhouse of sorts, accessible only to a privileged few. I imagined for a moment that I saw a figure in that secret room beckoning to me, secretly, quietly composed in contrast to the Romper Room antics on display below. I saw her red dress and caught a glimpse of her face - I don't have to tell you who it was - and I was able to rise like a ghost and meet her there in some whirlwind of spirit.

It's just in dreams we fly; in my dreams, we fly.....


Emanuel (from the Dylan list): I thought Joni Mitchell was superb, very moving. Dylan was firing away on all cylinders, and the 'acoustic' portion was truly outstanding.


Frank: Just got back from the Joni/Dylan show at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

Although I am a big fan of both artists, Joni was in especially fine form.

Her voice sounded GREAT, almost making me believe her claim that her voice now is better than it was when it was multi-octave. Her song selection was quite interesting (Don Juan, Harry's House, Amelia, etc.)

She said she couldn't talk between songs much because of "union rules," so she was less chatty than usual. I think she meant the show had to end at a certain time and the 3 acts made it rather crowded. And conspicuous to me, she never thanked the crowd for its amazing response (almost but not quite as much applause as for the much rowdier Dylan --by the way at his most nasal).

All in all, a great Joni performance, but of course too short. I wish she'd play at least 1 1/2 hrs.

Personal observation: Dylan changed around his songs much more than he's done in the last year, making some of them unrecognizable like he did in the 80s and early 90s. Joni did this to "Woodstock," which left many casual Joni listeners confused. I wish she'd do it the old way.


Martin (from the Dylan list): Joni was terribly disappointing. My daughter, a huge Joni fan, is still depressed over it. The opening act was better than she was. She seemed hostile to the audience. Of course, the venue was not kind to her, the room being so large and her songs being so intimate, but she should have sung more than two of her standards. The other stuff was so lackluster - just meandering melodies with no focus, kind of like Carly Simon with an upset stomach. She did a poor imitation of a torch singer; I just couldn't get into it. And what kind of statement was lighting a cigarette on stage? The crowd was appreciative, and God knows I struggled to enjoy her. I mean, I love Joni!


Russ (from the Dylan list): Have to disagree with Martin on this one. I agree with him that it was a great night for Bob---but one of the joys of the concert for me was Joni Mitchell. I too am a longtime Mitchell fan, and her set last night, from start to finish, was terrific. I have no idea what Martin was talking about when he said she sang only 2 "old standards." In addition to the downright hoary and overplayed "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock," we were treated to a generous sampling from _Hejira_ and _Hissing of Summer Lawns_, two pretty old (and in my view, her absolute best) albums. She responded enthusiastically to the audience---lots of smiles and playing to the rear for those who got locked into the rear cheap seats. The cigarette on stage is a permanent feature of any Mitchell concert. The band was excellent and the performance dead on. Martin was at a different venue from the MSG Mitchell show I saw and heard. . .


DShea: Someone wrote to the list: Can you send me some of whatever you smoked before that concert?

Don't bring anything, just wait until Dylan's set. Might not happen in Atlanta, but it was sweet smoky near my seats in NY. Haven't had a contact high in a long time (any potato chips nearby??? Now!). Between that, the old familiar songs, the flickering lighters after Dylan finished his initial set (I'd wondered if that was still done at concerts), I felt like I was 20 years old again. Sure don't want to live there anymore, but it was a pleasant visit.

This also reminds me that before and during Joni's set vendors dressed as waiters, including the white towel over the arm, were up and down the steps selling glasses of champagne, set on a round tray with the bottle in the center. When it was time for Dylan, those same vendors, minus the towel I think, were up and down the steps selling beer. Interesting to see the difference between Joni and Bob, and their respective fans, displayed that way.


Terry: And this reminds me of the elegant white cloth that Brian Blade had placed over his seat. Nice touch. Details, details. Sue me.


Kai: Joni was in top form last night, her performance was even better than the one at Woodstock, if that is possible. There were Joni fans EVERYWHERE. Her performance of Hejira and Magdalene Laundries were simply out of this world. She received at least 3 standing ovations. This is one night I will never forget. She dropped Facelift and Moon at the Window from the setlist but included a rocking DJRD.

She spoke minimally due to time constraints but played an incredible set. She has never sounded better. Brian Blade was very impressive on drums. My only complaints, the set was too short and those inconsiderate Dylan fans yakking away during Amelia! It really is time for Joni to headline, Bob is not a good mix. Totally mesmerizing.


Timothy (from the Dylan list): ...then Joni comes out wearing some cranberry colored pants suit, and damn, she still looks good. Big Yellow Taxi, and towards the end she says, here’s a verse that Bob wrote and sang, big yellow tractor took away my house and land in her dylan impression.

I realized a piece of dylan Trivia. This is the first time, both opening acts, sang Songs Bob has covered. Black Jack Davey and Big Yellow Taxi.

I also realize, that it’s 22 years since the Night of The Hurricane, which was the last time Joni and Bob shared the stage at MSG.

She was great. In fact, it was her night. Her set was a little bit better than Bob’s, and I think Alvin pushed everybody up a notch. He brought an energy that these icons played off of.

NYC also gave her a warm, loving reception. She hasn’t played in this town in a while, and she does have a following here. People came out to see her. And maybe she was alleviating that bad vibe reported in Indianopolis.

Her guitar playing was extraordinary,and you can hear it’s influence all over the place these days. And, it reminded me of a more jazz orientated version of Richie Haven’s open tuning. In fact, in a way she reminded me of what Bob Weir does, Weir in the jam sections of the good dead jams, by redefining the rhythm guitar, making the actual chords the lead, and having the chord changes take shape the melody instead of having the chord changes dictated soley by the melody. It’s easier or at least more common to have a lead guitar express emotion, but she was doing solely by her strums and her hand, that is, all the fingers, on the fret board.

Now, I have fallen off the Joni band wagon of late. I haven’t picked up her last two albums, and quite frankly, I don’t listen to her much anymore. Which is probably a mistake. Because her song choice, made me remember what a great song writer she is. Let’s see, there was Harry’s House, Heijera, Black Crow, Ameila, which was absolutely stunning by the way, just like this Train, sex kills, and then this great version of Don Jaun’s Reckless Daughter. This was rarely played even during her shadows and light tour. restless for streets and honky tonks, restless for home and routine. It is an anthem of some sort about lovers, the pain of romance, perfectly fitting in the Dylan context. Then there’s really great line, the eagle and the serpent are at war in me, the eagle fighting for blind desire, the serpent for clarity. What an amazingly accurate comment about the meaning of self and all its contents.

She also said that this was a union hall, very strict about their curfew so she would just be playing music. Although, she did a long intro to this song I am unfortunately unfamilar with that was about some kind of catholic orphanage.

She sang the Billy Holiday song, Come Love, which was great but what was really interesting was that she lit a cigarette when she sang. Didn’t she recently get treated for cancer or something? That Joni, she’s hard core. There’s a standing O call for an encore, and she comes out sans band and plays this truly poignant Woodstock, just her on her hollow body electric. She recaptured that song, and reinvented it. Standing O. total crowd adoration. After hearing some of the crap that the audience threw her way at previous shows, it did one’s heart good to see this artist appreciated.


Kenny: I've enjoyed reading everyones' accounts of Joni's performance last night at Madison Square Garden.

I agree with those who've posted that her VOICE is strong and absolutely beautiful. This is the BEST it has sounded in a long time. And this really made me very happy, because I'd been a little concerned that her voice might be "going." Last night's performance allayed any such fears -- in fact, it just may be getting better than it ever was!

With very few exceptions, the people where I was sitting (loge-stage right) seemed to be there to see Dylan, but they were completely respectful of Joni's set, if not downright interested in hearing it. No chatter, no rudeness, and no empty seats -- just polite (yet subdued) applause.

(Maybe New Yorkers feel that they have enough outlets for rudeness in their day-to-day lives, and there's no need to bring any of *that* with them to a concert!)

As someone pointed out there was a pretty intense change in the atmosphere at MSG when Dylan took the stage and throughout his set -- lots of dancing in the seats and aisles. But hey, songs like Amelia, Hejira, The Magdalene Laundries, and Harry's House just ain't dance songs!

Someone who saw one of the midwest shows posted that "it was like the blink of an eye," and I felt the same way. Even though the show lasted probably 75+ minutes, it seemed to end seconds after it had begun. I was disappointed that she didn't "talk" very much, but her singing and playing were truly spectacular, and earned her a few standing ovations.

For those keeping track, in Hejira she sang "I think I heard Chris Botti coming through the snowy trees."

It was wonderful to meet/re-meet alot of JMDLRs at Duane's place, and enjoy his generous hospitality once again, and to meet a few more listers at Triple Crown bar before and after the show.


Patrick: how good was this weekend? very good indeed. saturday i was heading out to meet kay ashley and friend, and the chilis, when kenny g called, hanging with ashara. i'd thought ashara'd blown us off, i was thrilled she was in town.

we had a great night, piano bar moments, dinner at tanti baci, the chilis found us, lost us, we broke it up around one and i got home to the news that my college park tix are sec1row9. yeehaw!!

sunday to duane's. he's remodelled his living room, banished the christmas package greens and reds to the bedroom, opened it up to an incredibly comfortable, cream-colored space, about 8 people settled in when i arrived. great food, great conversation. for a while we were conniving a fake setlist to report, t'piss y'all off, say, woman of heart and mind, river, shadows and light with the harlem boys choir. eddie van halen coming in for 'led baloon'.

the cake had the cover of ttt as the frosting.

i think attendance at duane's might have reached 15 folks peak. we headed on down to the triple crown, jan (hoboken) and i slumwayed and chatted, walked in and met this cool woman named deb. no it wasn't deb messling but i don't regret the hug; debra shea and i have similiar curmudgeon genes, i think. and similar loves, and a similar susceptibility to joni-brilliance. hi deb, i loved your thoughts on the show.

still it was great to meet one of my two favorite librarians, ms. messling. and walking up to the garden en gang, seeing joni's name in lights, good, yep.

and joni mitchell was remarkable. powerful. i loved the setlist. but i need to say even more that i really felt the crowd was with her, so much more than the shows in la. byt solo as an opener is such a good idea; it drew people in. but i was truly struck, last night, by the powerful audience response to songs that are just not first-listen gems. specifically 'amelia' and 'magdalene laundries'. during each of these songs i melted and returned to reality knowing, 'this audience couldn't have felt that' and they did. each time. and they made it known.

hejira was yet another reshaping of the 'hejiralobe' of my brain. don juan's intro had me jumping out of my seat. and comes love was such a climax of a powerful set. i was hoping for mark isham on this tour, but chris botti's playing was just so good, throughout. i'm a new fan, but it points out again that joni's great on tour again this fall because she loves to bring good musicians out with her, yum...


Sera (from the Dylan list): hi :) im sera and im 16 years old....i bought tickets for my father and i for his birthday....he and my mother introduced me to joni at an early age, and honestly, she was the one i was going to see. i always liked bob, but never truly gotten into him...my father saw him a few decades ago.... dave alvin? well...he sucked. well, no, i can't say that...he was a talented guitar player, but he didnt exactly tickle my pickle...not my kind of stuff. i loved joni's performance--she totally pulled off the marvin and billie songs; i was so impressed...this was the first time i had ever seen her either, and she left me utterly speechless. she is so gorgeous.


Louis: Just returned from New York. Joni was fabulous! Great voice and wonderful renditions of "Black Crow", "Amelia" and "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter". Plus "Comes Love" was an added bonus -- it alone was worth the ticket prices. Her band was tight, and her guitar playing was amazing.

After listening to Joni's sweet voice and beautiful poetry for over an hour, Bob Dylan was a real let-down. His singing was the pits, and the lyrics were unintelligible. At times, he sounded a little like Cartman on South Park, so nasal and off-pitch. It took a while before I could even recognize some of his standards ("Tangled up in Blue"), especially when the arrangements were changed.

But Dylan, with his three-chord blues riffs and heavy beat rocked the crowd. They were dancing in the aisles. Musically, it was the same-old-same-old. But it seemed to be what some of the crowd wanted -- something so they could stand up and shake their butts and do the Grateful Dead groove-dance. But for all the money Dylan makes, I wish he would hire someone who can sing! For the price of the ticket, I would have preferred to see Joni alone,

though. The whole effect was like someone taking away your diamonds and giving you a pile of dirt.

After the concert, I am even more of a Joni fan, but no longer a Dylan fan. My friends and I all agreed that we wouldn't walk across the street to hear him again. But Joni, ah, we'd follow her to the ends of the earth!


Chili: On November 1st, Joni was a long cool women in a red dress singing that beautiful song. Bobbie Dylan was a wild man just following that woman on. I thought of Vincent painting in this garden. The Red velvet Snapdragon or the Red Velvet Pansy with the beautiful face. Both tough exquisite flowers as any gardener knows.

Night Ride Home will never be the same for me. Once in a while in a big blue moon there comes a night like this. She sang that and then I realized it was two shows a poetry reading and a music show happening simultaneously. Her songs in person are slower. Or they appear to be. The magic of her live. I sat with the lovely listah sistah Jan and friend, Bill, along with my dear Mrs. Chili. Bill had never listened to Joni or Bob, a generation Xer . Mrs. C and I are not, and not boomers either but in between both. The nameless generation. We all loved her. Bill was chilled by and "sex sells everything and sex kills".

Duane's pre-concert party was tres elegant and magical and all the people at that party they had a lot of style. That I could write at least 5 pages on. Duane thank-you so much and Happy Birthday today.

I only hope that Joni plays the Blue Note and other small venues. How fitting, huh? The jazz singer gets to the Blue Garden. In any event, I am going to make a new garden here at "Garden house", a garden filled with Big Blue flowers and Big red ones, and a little green. This will be dedicated in part to Joni.

One day all of us listers are gonna die here, too
and they'll plant us in the dirt
but we'll be special bulbs,
that bloom
come every spring.
Oh yes in the spring,
come every spring.....


Bernadette: I just got on this list 10 minutes ago, so I've probably missed the gushfest over this show, but here's my mouthful anyhow. My apologies to everyone who finds this redundant.

I never thought that I'd have a chance to experience Joni live, and this was really a dream come true. Joni was fabulous, danced around in a suave and sultry way, lit up and smoked a cigarette on stage! (Way to go, Joni, I'll never quit smoking now!) My non-JMDL friends who'd hoped for me that she'd play Big Yellow Taxi wouldn't even have recognized it, her bluesey steel spin re-defined it. She was definitely in a Hejira mood, we all loved it. At first I was afraid that most of the audience were Bob-heads, but I was happily proved wrong. The band was fabulous. they launched right into Just like This train and then a moving Night Ride Home. She may have lost some high notes, but Joni's voice left nothing to be desired. Sitting all the way in the back of MSG, she sounded great to me. I was expecting mostly Taming the Tiger, but I think we only heard one or two (I don't have that yet, so I couldn't tell you.). Free Man In Paris wasn't really a surprize, but I was blown away by the inclusion of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter and Hejira, not to mention Black Crow and Amelia. She explained Magdalene Laundries to us, but I didn't catch what country she said they were prevalent in. Did anyone else catch that? She was beautiful BECAUSE she was so understated, and this, I think is the core of her talent. Sex kills was understated! She, of course, encored with Woodstock, so I will never again be jealous of the audience of the Shadows & Light concert, because she not only played it solo with her lonesome guitar, she reverted to the Ladies of the Canyon intonation of "garden" And then she thanked us. I have a confession to make here: She was so phenonmenal that we were bored when Bob came out and even left in the middle of Gotta Serve Somebody! Here's hoping we all have many more chances to experience Joni live. I know she hates it, but she performed with the utmost grace, and she must know how much her fans appreciate her coming out. And smoking.