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.
(From:email@example.com)-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.
(From:firstname.lastname@example.org)-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.
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...
(From:email@example.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:firstname.lastname@example.org)-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.
(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.
(From:email@example.com)-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.
(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.
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.
(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.
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
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!
(From:firstname.lastname@example.org)-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!
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:email@example.com)-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 --
(From:firstname.lastname@example.org)-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.
(From:email@example.com)-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.
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 !!!!!
(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
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
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.
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.
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
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
It was a fantastic concert; felt like I was meeting Joni for the first
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
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
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!
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!!
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?
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
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.
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
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. . .
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.
And this reminds me of the elegant white cloth that Brian Blade had placed
over his seat. Nice touch. Details, details. Sue me.
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
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
never sounded better. Brian Blade was very impressive on drums. My only
complaints, the set was too short and those inconsiderate Dylan fans yakking
during Amelia! It really is time for Joni to headline, Bob is not a good mix.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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!
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
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
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,
come every spring.
Oh yes in the spring,
come every spring.....
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.