This work-in-progress lists all currently known appearances, drawn from a variety of sources.
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001-2015.
Special thanks to Joel Bernstein for his contributions and assistance.
Latest Update: August 15, 2015
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Your intrepid JoniMitchell.com reporter (that's me) is still hunkering over the computer, putting up your reviews -- I haven't been able to write mine yet! I'll post the report and pictures as soon as I can—sorry it's taking me so long, you guys are really keeping me busy. I like that! Reports from the Internet Community are of course already arriving, with a diverse range of reactions to the show. Here's what our friends who attended the Chronicle Pavilion at Concord concert (near San Franscisco) have to say so far.
REPORTS FROM THE INTERNET COMMUNITY
Wow...it's 12:30 AM... I just got home... and am still floating about 3 feet off the ground.
I just read the LA reviews (I hadn't read them before now because I wanted to be surprised ...and OHMYGOD! was I!!!). So first of all; THANK YOU so much, Kakki and Scott and Phyllis and Rick and everyone else who wrote such eloquent and fabulous reviews of the LA show.
The SF concert was pretty much identical in content. Same exact setlist. The orchestra was sublime... I saw a couple of the brass players I know from the SF Opera and Ballet orchestra, but didn't get to say hi: I will talk to them sometime in the next few months and find out how it was for them. They looked to be having a blast. The sound at the Concord Pavilion is incredible: it won architectural acoustic awards when it was built and still is fantastic.
Speaking of having a blast, it was very evident that Joni was just radiant with joy. I can only ditto what the previous LA reviewers have said about her energy, and happiness: same energy, same strength and happiness. She commented on how fabulous it was to be singing with such a 'big band' behind her ! Band indeed!
She was so relaxed! and her spoken intros to each song so comfortable and easy-flowing, and natural-feeling.
Like Rick, I had tears rolling down my cheeks all though ACOY too. I didn't expect that to happen, but when the musical string intro began, I too felt all lumpy in my throat, and when the soft snare beat began, and those first words "just before our love got lost...", those tears welled up, and rolled down throughout. So much and many facets and chapters of my life I have measured in Joni Mitchell songs... So many people's lives have touched mine: many gone now, so many people I felt should have been here to experience this genius in concert. And maybe they were there.... feeling our feelings somehow through us, and knowing that Joni was performing, and it was good. It was very VERY good. I had no idea this was going to get so mushy and emotional....big deep breath.
She did the same thing with "Klein", as she introduced him, in Hejira ('the things that you and I suppressed'), pointing at him and both of them laughing ! and sitting up front and watching them do that, I burst out laughing! The 'samba' beat was irresistable: I couldn't sit still and just rocked and danced in my seat, along with Joni just shakin' her booty up on stage. It was, in a word, amazing.
Now...the attire: in the first part, she had on a 'gathered silk' jacket, that came down to her ankles and only opened up slightly below her waist. It was golden and what appeared to be pink: it shown amazingly in the light. She had similar colored shiny silk pants on underneath. Gorgeous. Part 2, she wore a black (was it charcoal?) pants suit, the pants pleated about every 6 inches from hips to ankles, and white blouse, with (was it red?) neckscarf? I hope I'm remembering this correctly. I'm sure someone will clarify it. Very 70's, very hip and very flattering. All I can say is ditto on what previous reviewers have said about the 'new' stuff. Omygod omygod omygod. FTR, and "Ludwig's Song" flipped me out. Be Cool, so so very very. Hejira, with Larry on the bass and the full orchestra: I can't find words...
Joni was transcendant.
OH! and she changed a lyric! in FTR! instead of "And they introduce some band, but they seem so much confetti, Looking at them on my TV set". She changed the words 'so much confetti' to " so much (or so many) wankers..."! Brilliant!
AND: one of the very best parts of the evening for me was meeting Jim, the WEBMASTER!
Our seats, courtesy of a friend at the venue, were in the front row of the front orchestra: omygod: it was unbelievable. There was a semi-circle of about 10 rows of seats in front of us: these never went on sale, but were saved for performers, guests, management, producers, vips. So... between our front row, and the 'front vip' section, was a large aisle parallel to the stage, from which we watched folks during the 30 minute wait til the 8:30 start time. I noticed this tall handsome guy in a tuxedo, visiting with various people, and ...jubulant? excited? he was quite energetic, and had a big VIP sticker on his lapel, and I thought to myself, "This MUST be Jim", and "I'm gonna go ask him if it is", and I did, and sure enough, it was! and Jim I have to say what a pleasure to meet you in person. You have such wonderful energy, and what a good friend (friend is way too small a word) you must have been to Wally, and how you must have thought about him tonight. (Thank you *so* much Vince, and Ashara, for writing and saying what you did). And what a gift, Jim 'lamadoo', you are to this list, Webmaster, and what a absolute JOY to run into you and to get to kibbitz with you before the show, an during the intermission (I could barely talk during intermission: I felt like I had my breath taken away, she was so amazing). Anyway, thank you! thank you! thank you! for all you do. I hope I get to visit with you again here in SF. Ok, so I have babbled enough. It's 1:30 AM now. It was a cool clear night in Concord, California. I saw many friends I hadn't expected to see at the concert. There was much deja-vu'ing going on. I went with 15 friends and we picnic'd on the lawn in the cool/cold breeze before the concert. We all sent waves and waves of love up to the stage. I probably won't have much of my voice left tomorrow, as I whooped and hooted so much after each song, I couldn't control it!
I've seen Joni 4 times in the past 30 years, and tonight was definitely the deepest, most profound, richest concert of all: perhaps like a good red wine that mellows and ripens with age.
You folks who will see this concert soon are in for the treat of a lifetime. OH! and I don't know if she did this in LA, but...in SF, when she came out for her encore "Trouble Man", she had a lit cigarette in her hand (!) and.. she never puffed on it, not even once, but just held it and sang. It was perfect.
I'm not sure I can sleep tonight, but I'm going to lay down and float...
'I'm floating in my dreams....' - JM
I left this show wishing for more Joni. Her treatment of the standards she recorded for her latest album compared to her original work just did not add up. A retrospective tour of her work would be most appreciated. The crowd and myself came alive when they recognized her Art, standing and cheering her to give them more of Joni. I would imagine a concert set in stages of her career would be wildly successful and give her audience what they most yearn for...a taste of the Joni that made them buy a CD of her arranging, magnificently, standards sung by the world's greatest singers.
I hope that a future tour finds Joni embracing her body of work the way she embraces jazz.
Joni's S.F. concert was a triumph. From "You're My Thrill" to her encore, a fierce, sizzling "Trouble Man," she was both in command and sublimely relaxed. Reports of her voice's demise have been greatly exaggerated. She sounded stronger than I'd ever expected; nearly every version of the "Both Sides Now" CD songs (maybe with the exception of the title cut) was better in concert, in my opinion--livelier, richer, and more spontaneous, if perhaps not as grave. Indeed, at one point Joni said something to the effect of, "I'm so happy, it's hard to sing these sad songs." Her happiness showed--even in her choice of outfit for the first half (almost more a costume), a luscious, iridescent tangerine coat. Joni looked, my friend Paul remarked admiringly, "like an orange candle, covered in wax drippings." And absolutely radiant. -- Bill H.
Loved the show, but some of her fans were really a bit ridiculous ... glad I'm not a pop star, don't think I could take it ... I'd be more like Divine in Female Trouble. OK asking who wants to die for art. The woman behind me had an orgasm during Both Sides Now--weeping and moaning, "You're not the only one, Joni. I love you, we all love you--you are not alone." Sweetheart, put a lid on it. Try medication--anything to pull your tired ass out of the 70s for chrissakes--oh, there's that mean-spirited streak again. I have to watch that.
The music was great. Mark Isham and--was it Bob Sheppard on sax?--great!!! Love JM's smoky voice and phrasing. (I confess I've always loved her writing but had a hard time with her voice on a lot of the early albums). I was disappointed that the playlist wasn't mixed up a bit more, perhaps hearing some unrecorded songs from the same genre in place of some of the cd cuts on the playlist. But, everybody's a critic right?
Everybody, even JM got a laugh out of the dramatic opening of You've Changed ... a fave of mine since I heard the Helen Humes 70s recorded version of that chestnut. (Hey, JM--how 'bout adding Talk of the Town to your playlist). Herbie Hancock seemed a little under-utilized--perhaps a little pedestrian. Maybe he wasnt given enough time to loosen up onstage. Nevertheless a treat to have him there.
Loved the reworked songs in the second half. HEY JM, how about a whole cd of those wonderfully written songs reworked in that cinematic orchestral style ... don't forgo the Marvin Gaye either. That was a smoker, as was For The Roses (fuhget about it --- that was some great irony).
And finally, as a self respecting homosexual I have to talk fashion for a moment. Not to bring up that mean-spiritedness again however ... I must. Ixnay on the inkpay. But honestly, with that kind of brainy singing, arranging and writing, she can wear whatever she wants.
Joni Mitchell strolled onstage gracefully, dressed in an elegant robe of fiery oranges and reds, and was greeted with gales of applause by a sea of fans who have waited a long, long time to see a show that was two hours of pure Joni.
I had the supreme pleasure of sitting in the third row, where I could see every gesture, every expression on her beautiful face. I was flanked by fellow die-hard fans (the man to my right yelled, "You are so FINE!" at one point) and the mood was elated, jovial. There were a lot of people yelling, "WE LOVE YOU JONI!" It was refreshingly bizarre to see such a fervent, rock star-like response to a woman performing standards with an orchestra.
In fact it was a 72-piece orchestra that included a harpist, woodwinds, violins, cellos, brass and drums. Also, trumpeter Mark Isham, legendary pianist Herbie Hancock, and even Larry Klein (who is the musical director for the album and tour) came onstage intermittently to perform a few songs.
The set primarily consisted of the dozen songs from the "Both Sides Now" album, performed in sequence. She spoke briefly about the concept of the album - a cycle of songs following the birth of a romance through to its demise and then on to peaceful acceptance. From the first note of the orchestra, a hush fell over the crowd as she delivered her sultry version of "You're My Thrill".
The first half of the show covered the first eight songs on the album. Seeing her without an instrument to hide behind reminded me what a top-notch vocalist she is. Her phrasing and shading are loaded with emotion and warmth, and these classic songs are the perfect setting for her husky, nuanced voice.
Even her own compostitions benefit from her (relatively) new lower register. On "A Case of You", the simple phrase "oh, Canada" - soaring and plaintive on the original recording - becomes devastating as her voice slides down nearly an octave. The impact of those few notes is a stunning testament to her unique power.
To begin the second half of the show, Joni gave a perfect rendition of "Stormy Weather", wistful and yet very lively. For me this is the definitive version of that song (but maybe I'm biased).
My favorite moment of the evening was her new interpretation of "Both Sides Now", reborn as a soulful, medatative reflection on what we know... and what we don't. Her vocal delivery was tremendous, and the slow, deliberate pace of this arrangement made me consider each line that much more carefully, adding another dimension with its cinematic elegance.
The album cycle complete, Joni gave a preview of the next installment in this new symphonic series, beginning with a red-hot take on "Be Cool" (an underappreciated song I was thrilled to hear again). Afterward Joni told the story behind the song "Judgement of the Moon and Stars", and proceeded to perform an awe-inspiring rendition that put this mini-masterpiece in its proper context nearly thirty years after its initial recording.
After that came a version of "Hejira" set against a propulsive, hypnotic rhythm. The tempo was much faster than usual and I was almost shocked that she would make such a radical change to one of her signature pieces, but it worked. Her vocal was dark and dramatic, and by the end I had decided that I like the new version even better than the old. "For the Roses" was reinterpreted as a ballad, which didn't entirely work for me but was nonetheless beautiful.
For a finale she left the stage and returned with Hancock and Klein on her arm and a cigarette in hand. She belted out a killer version of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" that gave me chills. This woman has so much soul! I'd never heard her sing quite like that and it gave me chills. After the song she left the stage yet the orchestra remained: it created the impression of a possible encore. The whole audience clapped and shouted - screamed, really - and even banged chairs on the floor, begging for one more song. Alas, we were not to be satisfied that night.
But I guess as Joni fans we're used to that. After waiting such a long time to see her, can one concert really satisfy us?
A fan could only be biased, and could therefore not be qualified to do a compre-hensive review. However, no professional critics in their right minds could possibly deny the extreme magnitude of Saturday night's performance no matter how objective and impartial they must be.
In this concert attendant's opinion, it would be hard to select a high point of the evening. While the stage rendition of the new "Both Sides Now" CD would be pointless to present in any sequence other than from start to finish, what could possi- bly be least predicted was jazz pianist extrodinaire Herbie Hancock joining Joni and the Both Sides Now orchestra of seventy pieces on "Sometimes I'm Happy" from said CD. After the "Both Sides Now" program, Joni and the orchestra went on to do a handful arrangements of her originals. And just when it seemed it couldn't get any better, Larry Klein comes out on stage in the midst of these closing pieces to play electric bass on "Hejira" (I just about fell out of my chair!). But one thing I had never seen before came right after the show. After the venue's overhead lights came on indicating that the show was over, the entire audience of about 8,000 conservatively continued to applaud, cheer and whistle for at least five minutes. All that was missing, it seemed, were chants of "Joni! Joni! Joni...". It went on until the orchestra finally left the stage. Indeed, we wanted more, but the common concensus was that we got more than we could possibly want from an evening with Joni Mitchell.
i had the mixed pleasure of seeing joni in concert last evening. i am a long time fan of hers-she's certainly an iconoclast and has the unique ability to fuse folk/rock/jazz and classical music like no other musician/song writer. with that all said, i was disappointed with last night's concert for several reasons: i understand that she does not want to "pander" to an audience but i believe she has an obligation, as an entertainer, to provide a mixture of her rich music history with the audience and unfortunately, she didn't do that in her show in sf. this was my first opportunity to ever see her live and she performed the "Both Sides Now" program beautifully. the most magical moment was her performing the song "Both Sides Now- a terrific rendition. She then proceeded to sing a number of songs which most of the audience was very unfamiliar with...she has such a large musical selection to choose from and i couldn't really differenate the "sound" of her last several songs. i realized that i really wanted her to pick up her guitar (she was at loss as to what to do with her hands during the whole performance) and just sing the circle game or a chalk mark in a rain storm. also, she did a very compelling version of A Case Of You as part of her "Both Sides Now " sequence and the audience went nuts. So, when we (the audience) pay up to $86 (i did) for a ticket to see a musical icon and schlepp out to the concord pavilion, i guess i do expect to hear a lot more familiar and wonderful joni songs-i think this is a natural expectation. after the concert, my other friends and i discussed the concert at great length and concurred with this synopsis. so there you go-i hope joni continues her artistic journey but she keeps in mind that we, her beloved fans love her history too.
It was an excellent performance. She was confident, radiant, interactive and "on". The audience was involved and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. As a longtime fan, I was happiest watching Joni reap the rewards of sticking to her own vision throughout her career. This album and tour are symbolic of her ability to do what moves her and to do it with integrity and style. Speaking of style, her clothes were incredible. She looked like the Goddess of Autumn in her long crepe duster--very cool. For those who complain about her "smoky" vocal style, I must say, where have you been for the last decade? Her voice, like her work and life have gradually morphed and changed. She still uses it to wring every drop and sentiment out of the words. It was cool to see her interpret other writer's songs. It was obvious that the songs moved and influenced her.
Anyway, Joni Mitchell will always be like a wise mother and a bad-ass older sister to me. She continues to inspire me musically and also adds fuel to my rebellious fire. Her direct commentaries on the record industry are daring, dangerous and wholly earned. She has the guts to say what we all think and she has the opportunity to be heard. She has had to stomach a truckload of bullshit from the industry, her male peers, etc. Her ability to speak the truth at the expense of popularity, royalties, etc. is very admirable.
It was a great night. Lovely standards, several Joni originals, fine musicianship, humor, thought-provoking commentary, a fine example of former-spouse-friendship and a warm, appreciative crowd.
Leigh Anne Kranz
From my posts in TableTalk at www.salon.com
13th was the San Francisco show - I flew in from Houston for it and posted this snippet in another thread...
OK Pantsters - I made it back to Houston in one piece! Joni totally fookin rocked the Pavillion. Besides the new record with the big-ass orchestra she also did Trouble Man and Hejira amongst others. Show started at about 8:30pm and I was back in the city via BART by midnight.
She did BSN in the exact order that it appears on the CD. There was a break halfway through, she also did about five other tunes (see above). Of course, Hejira with the big band had me all over the floor. Of the BSN stuff she got a tremendous ovation after A Case Of You. She was chatting with the audience about the album concept and this brought about a little giggle at the beginning of You've Changed but she quickly regained her composure.
Great show! Great audience mix! If you haven't bought your tickets I'd suggest you do it quickly. I'm kinda thinking about trying to make it to the last show in Philly - June 2nd I think it is.
Only the LA, SF and NY shows will feature Isham and Hancock according to the program they were handing out last night!
More later as I continue to digest the performance.
I was on the BART back to the city after the concert with the dude that did the lighting for the tour. We chatted, his daughter and a friend of hers rode back into town with us.
I, of course, suggested she visit Houston more often and hoped she could do this type of music in smaller venues. A cabaret of standards in a 1000 seat-max venue would be most excellent! More to come, if I think of it!
Slightly disturbing, deeply felt, wisened, well timed, beboppy. It's great to see that as Joni progresses with her amazing life, she's still out there, worn, weary, wisened and pertinent. It's amazing how the same songs sound like fluff with some singers, but Joni makes them into an emotional journey, always ending on an uneasy or unsure note, as if to say "even though this little ditty has a happy ending, don't go getting too comfortable."
Blessed with great timing and a keen sense of how to take the best advantage of her now-limited vocal range, she made great use of he smoky textures and inner wisdom in leading us on the emotional, disquieting journey of the life of a love affair.
I'm probably not the only one that noticed that the restless ride throught the tunnel of love allowed for only a couple starry-eyed love songs before the quick descent into doubt, fear, conflict, obsession, and deceit. The conversations with the flying plates. It's love. Nothing can be done.
The show started with a long musical intro from the orchestra. Then there she was in a colorful outfit and the crowd went wild. She did the whole new album from start to finish with a break about two thirds through. The high point for me and I feel the crowd was "A Case Of You". The audience was almost exclusively white 40 plusers. I'm sure more than a few aging hippies, so a song like that brings back alot of memories. She also performed it beautifully. She really seemed to be having a good time and was very relaxed.
The real treat was her announcement at the end of the first part of the show that a second album with the orchestra was recorded and it seems to consist more of Mitchell songs than covers. She performed "Judgment of The Moon and Stars", "For The Roses", "Hejira", "Be Cool", and "Trouble Man"(by Marvin Gaye), with the orchestra and not in that order. The only thing missing for me was her guitar playing. She is such a phenomenal player I was hoping for at least one song, just her and her guitar, but that's really nit-picking.
I’ve been a Joni Mitchell fan since I was 16 years old. I’m 46 now, and I fancy my self as having long ago transcended fan status. I study her as one would study Michelangelo, Caruso, or any of the great masters. She has affected me in such a deep, passionate, spiritual manner, I almost feel as though I’ve communicated back to her through our spiritual alliance. All in all Joni did not disappoint me Saturday. I realized a 30 year-old dream and I am thankful for the experience. My girlfriend is a first timer and LOVED the concert, but only has had slight exposure to her music in one way or another as no one can have lived on this planet and not heard Joni Mitchell’s music sung, either by her, or another artist. I, on the other hand can truly "drink a case" of Joni and I’d still be on my feet.....they’d just be about three feet off the ground. To say I came away from the May 13th, 2000 performance at the Chronicle Pavilion in Concord, California completely satisfied would not quite be accurate. Thankfully, that’s not as important as the fact that once again Joni has shown me a new facet to her God-given talent and artistry. My "disappointment" was simply because I didn’t get to hear some of the selections I wanted to hear and I didn’t get to see/hear her play the guitar or piano. I’m such a selfish fanatic of Joni Mitchell’s. I went through the same changes a couple of times before over the last 30 years as she blossomed and developed into one of the true legends of modern music and took me from Court and Spark to Dog Eat Dog with some Hissing of Summer Lawns in between. I have somewhat defined who I am very much in terms of Joni Mitchell lyrics beginning with thinking of myself as the early beginnings of God’s artwork when I was 16 and picked up a Ladies of the Canyon album because the artwork caught my eye. I was hooked from the time I heard Circle Game and Twisted and Joni has influenced how I think, how I live, and, yes, how I love. Like a bartender in one of her bars or cafes, I just say to my VCR, "Play the usual", and it knows to run her video, ‘Painting with Words and Music’. Her encore of "Woodstock" is one of my greatest treasures. But this isn’t about that video. Joni has never grown around me, and I wouldn’t want her too. I just wanted her to do another encore that the audience pled for for five minutes. No matter how long we cried, she just "Hejira"-ed off that stage. No blame. I love you still dear Joni, I just wanted more. I offer no apologies for that.
Larry Green, age 46
Hi- I went to the Joni Mitchell concert at the Chronicle Pavilion in "San Francisco" which is actually Concord, but I had a great time. I was astounded though, that she didn't come back to do an encore. I thought they always did an encore. Also, I would have enjoyed it more if some of her other songs, like from the cd Blue, were played. But other than that it was great!
Hi and great job keeping up the site.
The concert was great. Surrounded by Joniphiles was wonderful compared to the San Jose's Bob Dylan/Joni/Van Morrision concert. The orchestra was in perfect form, sounding so full in person. I won't go into to much detail other than to say that the show was fantastic and this new incarnation of Joni appears to be evolving into another CD. Could this be a CD of only Joni songs done with orchestra? We all know that "Case of you" and "Both sides now" are the high points of the recent disc, and at the show she did "Be cool" "Heard it in the wind" and a stunning "Ludwigs tune". If this is any indication, I can't wait.
"Opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one" (and people should be equally circumspect about airing theirs out in public, but we're not, so here we go): I've been a big JM fan only since 1980 and in that time have seen her live 4 times (soon to be 5)--twice in '83, with Dylan and Van Morrison in '98 and last Saturday. "Both Sides Now" seemed like a great idea and I was very excited about its release, but after I heard it I understood the critical reactions. Joni's voice was never particularly powerful, and in fact its intimacy has been one of its virtues, but frankly sometimes the orchestra overwhelmed her. That was true in concert too, but that's not meant as a negative. It's simply the quality of her voice; she's not a belter. She's not Ethel Merman or Mariah Carey (Thank God!) To cover the familiar ground . . . she did the whole disc, in sequence, followed by Be Cool, Ludwig's Tune (and another great fable about what happens when art and commerce get mixed up and the dangers of pandering to one's audience--but more on that later), Hejira, For The Roses, and an encore of Trouble Man. We got the special treat of Herbie Hancock on piano and Mark Isham on trumpet (sorry all you other cities except N.Y.--but where's Wayne Shorter?) She wore a gold finely pleated silk coat with pink around the shoulders for the first half and a long black cardigan, black pleated pants, gold silk blouse and white and blue scarves tied at the waist for the second half. (Is she wearing exclusively Mary McFadden these days or what?) She appeared to be having a blast, which is somewhat of a rarity for her onstage. She smiled often, danced, and even joked that it was difficult to sing these sad songs when the band put her in such a good mood. I think the audience put her in a good mood too--the crowd was both enthusiastic and respectful, and unlike on the last tour, they all came to see her. My favorite crowd moment was when someone yelled "Happy Mothers' Day" between songs. One quick bitch--for those who were disappointed because their expectations weren't met or they didn't feel they got their $86 worth, please consider that the tour wasn't billed as "An Evening Of Joni Mitchell Looking and Sounding Exactly As You Remember Her From Thirty Years Ago and Doing The Old Songs In Familiar Arrangements To Make You Feel Comfortable And Give You A Nice Warm Fuzzy Boomer Nostalgia Moment." Joni's career has consistently been about following her artistic inspiration--you're going to criticize her for that now?
Hi - One word? Unforgettable. I flew to California from Salt Lake City just to see her. I was not disappointed in the least. I was moved to tears several times. My favorite? "Ludwig's Tune" with a full orchestra!!!! Now that is the way that song must have been heard in her head initially. It gave me chills. (Or was that the evening bay air??)
Thanks so much for this web site. I would have missed her without it.
Foremost and forever in this fan's mystical dream-wedding to Our Lady of the Canyon are his two audiences with her, the first being the "Wild Things" tour lo those many electric years ago. San Francisco last Saturday night, being the second appearance of The Empress of Ecstasy to this simple peasant, goose bumped my mortal flesh, yea even unto the ends of my jammy-jam toenails.
And lo, there appeared an orchestra numbering seventy, swelling under swimmy Debussy notes in an overture lit from above by stained glass hues puffed from the lips of opium-addled angels. And suddenly the air arose with the crashing of applause, and delivered unto us on the long legs of legend, a shadow, striding silouhette-familiar to the center of creation.
In an otherworldly overcoat spun of molten folds of raw lobster meat and phosphorescent elven gold, la Bella Dona smote fan and newcomer alike with oracular love potions swaddled in voice-magic. She introduced each song from "Both Sides Now" with a verbal fling of her panties, shrewd observations of modern romance quipped from the hips of her heart. Her woodwind voice rode the orchestra like a freshly massaged Bellerophon riding his Pegasus, a soaring sensual ride of lyrical looping velvet in a moon-soaked sky. The audience, inheritor of deep enchantment, was silver spoon-fed elegant eclairs filled with jasmine jazz juices the Queen Bee in heat pumped from her royal aqueducts. As she began "A Case of You", those whose hearts bore it's words like Moses bearing God's diner menu, flung applause smoldering with the pearly essence of Roses of Eros at her feet (the scent of that applause wafted its way into the nostrils of every "Both Sides Now" ticket-holder, from melon-colored Miami to phecund pharaway Philly).
Intermission came and went like a pee-break in a night of steaming erotic dreaming.
Lights! Orchestra! Goddess! The hypnotic angels started smoking again, (undoubtedly a hoodoo-hybrid from Merlin's private stash).
She seared us with "Stormy Weather", that tonal libation to the creative juju that Phoenixes from the ashes of love. She proceeded to the end of the "Both Sides Now" material building the musical paint in VanGough-Mitchell strokes and layers of emotion cut brilliant like dizzy dancing diamonds. At the end of it she had delivered us finally from the lover's folly, confessing the sin of romantic omission: "I really don't know life at all".
And there was more; more masterful musings of the Madonna of Music (apologies to an ambitious sometimes-blonde who also hails from LA [sometimes]). "Be Cool" -- don't want no "Trouble Man". That'd be like a "Judgment of the Moon and Stars", if you catch my "Hejira". She had multiplied musical loaves and fishes using old songs and an orchestra, feeding a hungry crowd from her genius-breast on a nightride home to LOVE, and then she was GONE.
The audience had a major case of the clap, the variety that only afflicts heartfelt happy hands. We stomped and screamed and banged the seats like voodoo children deprived of pins. We wanted MORE! Only an overdose would sate the savage Joni-junkies. Caterwaul as we might, the stage remained in a coma. The orchestra vanished, the El Fin had come. Hearts full, we turned to the dark skirts of Mother Night, to tuck our memory-children into soft brainy blankets and wait for the next CD.
Albion Bloom San Luis Obispo, CA
I'm sitting here looking at a gorgeous photo of Joni from the Concord concert that Leslie Mixon was kind enough to give me and wondering how on earth I can write anything that will add to the wonderful reports that have already been posted. Leslie gave a fantastic account of the experience we shared. And how can anyone possibly top Scott Price's beautiful descriptions of the LA show? But this concert was such an incredible experience for me that I have to share a few of my impressions.
First of all I have to thank Leslie & Steve Mixon. If it hadn't been for Leslie's invitation and offer to get me a ticket, I probably would not have made the trip and I would have missed one of the most amazing events of my life thus far. Leslie and Steve are more than gracious hosts and staying with them in Santa Cruz was at least half the fun. The more I get to know Leslie, the more I feel like I've known her all my life. A warm, funny, down to earth, intelligent & lovely person. A helluva singer, too. She's a gem.
Others have already reported the main facts of the concert - set list, Joni's clothes, etc - so I'm not going to do a song by song description. Mostly I want to try & convey some of the impressions and feelings that flooded me during the show.
First of all, Joni was radiant. She really seemed to glow as the lights hit her golden hair and the orangey-pink thing she was wearing. Our vantage point from the 7th row was just close enough to see every expression on her face but just far enough away that the lines we have seen appearing on that face in these last few years were completely invisible. Every once in awhile when she would tilt her head back or move in a certain way I could plainly see Joni as she was in the 70s - those fine cheek bones, the golden hair and those incredible eyes. It was as if the years somehow had melted away and the Lady of the Canyon was standing there before us. But what poured out of her was a music and a wisdom far beyond the years of that fresh young woman who first captured our hearts. It seemed as if some kind of force or energy was coming up through the stage and into Joni. It made her body sway, it moved her hands with beautiful expressiveness and it finally emerged from her throat and mouth in a flood of feeling. She was channeling energy & emotion from the very depths of her being and she took my breath away. She somehow became the music. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It was also obvious that she was loving every minute of it. At one point she said 'Isn't this nice, with the orchestra and everything?' Leslie has already reported that before singing 'Hejira' she spread her arms and joyfully declared 'I feel like I'm flying!' And indeed she was. Soaring.
The moment after she had introduced 'You've Changed' and then sang those first two words was priceless. Somebody down in front laughed and Joni just had to giggle. It took her a second or two before she could re-focus. At some point somebody else yelled 'Happy Mother's Day, Joni!' She looked over her shoulder and said thank you. I wish I had thought of it! 'Comes Love' was the best I've heard her do it yet. She really nailed it. So many times during the concert she would bend a note a certain way or punch something so that it went straight to my gut. She really has developed into a great interpreter. I don't agree with reviewers that have said she is copying Billie Holiday but I have to say that seeing her perform last Saturday night must have been something like the experience of seeing Lady. Unfortunately, that is an experience I can only imagine from watching the very few snippets there are of Billie on film. But Joni was digging that deep and singing that well. It tickles me no end that one of my idols is an admirer of another one of my idols!
I am so blown away by some of the other reactions to 'A Case of You'. They are so similar to what I felt. Early on in my exploration of Joni's music I got 'Miles of Aisles' and yearned to see this woman perform live. One of my favorite songs from that record is 'A Case of You'. When the orchestra started playing that echo of the dulcimer line in the intro it hit me that I was finally going to see & hear Joni actually perform this song live. I started to choke up and soon the tears were streaming down my face. And I too thought of others who could not be there with us. We had visited Jim Johanson's apartment before driving across the bay and Leslie took me by the street that Wally had lived on. Of all people, Wally should have been at that concert. But I know in my heart that in some way, he was there. And his smile was even bigger than the one he had during the Painting With Words and Music taping.
Leslie had logged on earlier in the day and read some of the reviews from L A. She was nice enough not to tell me anything about the set list. So everything that was performed after 'Both Sides Now' was a complete surprise. It just made me hungry for that next album! 'Be Cool' was great! Joni was swinging on that one. I was completely in awe, however, of 'Judgment of the Moon & Stars'. I had kind of expected to hear that one. When Joni was talking in some interview about what might be on the next record, she had mentioned how she was only able to use minimal orchestration on the original. And the very amusing story about Beethoven was a dead giveaway for me. Although I think the original is lovely, especially Joni's impassioned vocal at the end, this fully orchestrated version truly amazed me. The song seemed to fit this treatment so well, as if this is the way she had originally conceived it. It assumed heroic, epic, symphonic proportions and the melody and words fit into the orchestral setting like a hand into a glove. Glorious! I liked the new treatment of 'Hejira' also. I can't describe it as well as some of our more knowledgeable musicians but it definitely had a new feeling to it that I liked. 'For the Roses' is one that I really want to hear the finished version of. As Kakki pointed out, the orchestra's performance was not letter perfect on any of the 'new' songs so I really am anxious to hear the finished product. I'm glad that somebody used the word 'dissonant when describing the sound of this rendition of 'For the Roses'. It was the word I was looking for but couldn't quite come up with. It certainly put an new slant on the song. Instead of hearing it from the perspective of someone whose experience of fame & success in the music business is still relatively new, this version had a weary, almost bluesy sound to it. And Joni's changing 'so much confetti' to 'juveniles & wankers' definitely put a new spin on it! It was great fun to see her perform 'Trouble Man.' Although we stood and clapped & yelled and banged on the seats even after the lights had come up, apparently there was no more music to be had. I for one was hoping it would never end!
It was certainly a thrill to get to my seat before the concert started and find the ravishing Mary Grace Valentinson standing there. Chatting with her is always a joy. It was also great to meet Rich Neuwirth and Russell Bowden. More faces to put with the names in our community! And after the concert we also met Kelly & his friend Kent. Of course it was a pleasure and an honor to meet Jim Johanson and his partner Andrew and their delightful friend, Blair.
All in all this was definitely a peak experience for me. The Gorge concert in '98 was phenomenal and it was wonderful to see Joni there, playing her guitar and performing more of her own material. But in many ways this concert was so much better. The crowd at the Pavilion were behind her one hundred percent unlike at the Gorge. At the Gorge I had to use all my powers of concentration to focus on Joni and to keep myself from getting up and knocking heads together as people talked, got up & down and generally showed no regard for anybody who had come to see Joni. Also the seats we had Saturday night were excellent (thank you again, my darling Natasha!). And ultimately, for me anyway, what was important about this concert was seeing Joni sing. I know she is a consummate guitarist, pianist and plays a mean dulcimer. But for me, she could be banging on a washtub and playing a kazoo and it wouldn't matter. What matters to me is Joni and the marvelous creations she continues to give us, whether they be accompanied by guitar, piano, enhanced by a V-G8, a synthesizer or a 70 piece orchestra. Seeing her sway and move her hands and sing in such a gloriously expressive manner is something I will never forget.
The Florida people are under Joni's spell right now (or they were when I started writing this.) I wish I were with them! All of you who are going to see Joni on the east coast, you are in for a wonderful evening! And to those of you who can't attend, I hope that the descriptions have given you some idea of the magic of this concert and have helped lessen your envy somewhat. I know I would be pea green right now if I had not been able to make the journey to Concord.
Siquomb, she is indeed.
Mark in Seattle
First off, I scored big time on tickets. I discovered the night of the show that I had not only front row, but also dead center seats. This was my seventh Joni concert since the late 70's and I never had this kind of seating. One of the other reports posted for this show indicated that the first ten rows were reserved for VIP's, etc., that was not the case, I bought my tickets the same as everyone else via Ticket Master.
When the lights went down and the Prelude started, I was already flying, but when Joni got to the microphone, I turned the Chronicle Pavilion into a one seat theater. I had the greatest Joni Mitchell experience of my life. I can't describe the chills I experienced looking into her eyes while she was singing "A Case Of You", or any of the seventeen selections performed during the course of the evening.
I was very pleased with the song selections. I have been interested in the music Joni has been exploring lately. From her contributions on Herbie Hancock's latest through the release of Both Sides Now, I am right in tune with what she is doing. I am slightly amazed at anyone whining that she didn't sing something other than what she did. In fact, I think I expected her to perform "The Man I love" and/or "Summertime", more than I expected "Be Cool", "For The Roses", "Judgment Of The Moon And Stars" or "Hejira". "Trouble Man" was no surprise, given that I understood that she had already performed that number with an orchestra at the 1998 Walden Woods Projest Benefit in Los Angeles. Each time I have ever seen Joni live, the complaints have been the same, everyone wants to revisit Miles of Aisles. I really wish I understood why, it's been done and the album is still in print.
As for Joni's voice, I have been moved by her singing from the first album, but I personally feel her voice is the richest it has ever sounded. I love the unexpected plunges she takes. Sara Vaughn was another amazing vocalist that just got better with age. Perhaps the best is still to come with Joni too, I hope so.
The San Francisco Chronicle pop critic wrote a scathing review of the show where he actually stated that Toni Tenille did a better job with this material than Joni has. The San Francisco Examiner critic also slammed the show as well. It seems to me that they would be risking their credibility when all they want to be is nasty. I find it hard to imagine that they actually get paid to be so negative. Too bad San Francisco residents have such lousy concert reviewers. Oh well, I prefer to attend the shows myself, rather than rely on the bitter opinions of others.
One last bit of information to add to the other reports which have been posted about the Concord (near San Francisco) show: There were microphones placed throughout the theater, one was one seat away from my own. I was told by Pavilion staff that the show was being recorded.
To anyone seeing any of the remaining shows of this tour: If you like Both Sides Now, and like the idea of seeing Joni as a vocalist, then you are in for a treat. If you want Miles of Aisles, put it on and relive the past with all the might you can muster.
Despite the fact that Joni had to wear a quilted jacket that made her look like the "poppin' fresh" doughboy for the first set (it was darn cold), the concert was nothing less than magical. Joni was having a great time and commented on how difficult it was for her to sing some of the laconic tunes with the wonderful orchestration behind her. As she took us through the journey of a relationship, she had difficulty maintaining a straight face as the love affair began to sour "You've Changed." The woman has a great sense of humor.
I would have preferred one set of the new album and another of the old Joni, but since I flew into Concord from Arizona especially for this concert, anything would have been acceptable. By the end of the evening, I was totally engaged in this jazz singer and her relationship with the music forgetting all about the idolatry I came for in the muse of my youth. JMDL Member Comments
Rich: Just got home from Concord and was compelled to resubscribe after (what Les?) two years or so to briefly check in and say hello.
The concert tonight was absolutely wonderful. It by far exceeded my expectations. It was one of those experiences that really makes one glad to be alive.
Joni herself was obviously having a blast and really seemed to take in all of the warmth and affection of the crowd.
As I've not been around for ages, most people won't know who I am, but I was here from pretty close to the beginning. Tonight was a reunion of sorts. I had as my absolutely fabulous date the incomparable MG who made the experience even more of a delight. It was also great to briefly see Leslie again and meet Mark from Seattle (another old-timer).