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Just got back from the Stormy Weather benefit. Met up with some of the gang
for dinner and then we headed over to Wiltern. This time around Henley
decided to have a long private VIP dinner inside the theater before the show
which lasted almost two hours past the start time of 8:00 p.m. People were
massing at the few doors and the heat and lack of air was enough to make you
pass out. Rick, Brad and I finally made our way outside for air as an
increasingly fed up crowd were starting to yell "let us in, let us in!"
Geez. Not good.
|[Photo by Fred Prouser]|
Singers (L-R) Joni Mitchell, Paula Cole and Trisha Yearwood are shown on stage at the conclusion of the 'Stormy Weather' concert featuring top female singers performing an array of pop, jazz and blues standards to benefit the Walden Woods Project and the Thoreau Institute at Walden Pond November 14, 2002 in Los Angeles.
Finally we were let in. This time around the women mostly performed
contemporary songs with just a few old standards here and there. My set
list is incomplete. The performers were Michelle Branch, Susan Tedeschi
(awesome and one of her songs was Joni's "River"), Deborah Fox, Paula Cole
("So Ordinary" and Tom Waits "The House Where Nobody Lives"), Norah Jones
(wonderful), Trisha Yearwood (one of the best last time and this - "St.
Cloud, Minnesota" and "The Man That Got Away"), Sheryl Crow ("Run Baby Run"
and "Goodbye"), Reba McIntyre ("I Got Lost in His Arms"), Stevie Nicks
(OMG - "Landslide" - the BEST of the night and "Sunday Kind of Love") and
for the finale JONI doing "Woodstock", "What's A Sweetheart Like You Doing
in a Dump Like This?" (not kidding - is this a Waits or Newman song?? and
then a big surprise "Chinese Cafe". She looked stunning in a long gun metal
grey with dark fuschia trim crinkle-pleated Miyake kimono-style gown (for
those who enjoy the fashion report ;-) Henley did refer to her "takes" on
the music biz as he introduced her.
As in '98 they had the "El Nino Orchestra" back and it was filled with many
of Joni's best boys - including Peter Erskine on drums, Bob Sheppard,
incredibly channeling Wayne Shorter on sax and flute, Ralph (Joni's
concertmaster on the 2000 BSN tour) on first violin, Vince Mendoza
conducting and Larry Klein musically directing.
We didn't see any "stars" other than a haggard looking Nick Nolte getting
into his car after the show ;-) All the big shots were there, though,
somewhere at their VIP tables ;-) Phyliss and Bob were going to the VIP
reception after the show, so hopefully she can fill us in on more manana.
She was going to try to sneak the rest of us in but we had heat prostration
at that point LOL.
Henley made some remark about being back in two years - hope next time he
starts his private gala at 3 in the afternoon, though!
All Stevie fans -
|[Photo by Fred Prouser]|
Singer Joni Mitchell performs during the 'Stormy Weather' concert featuring top female singers performing an array of pop, jazz and blues standards.
Her Landslide alone was worth the price of admission. I've never been a
huge fan, but this tonight was utterly astounding. The way the orchestra
played with it (with total Wayne Shorter treatment coming from Bob Sheppard)
I swear it sounded like a song off Travelogue! Unforgetable. At the show in
'98 Stevie got more applause than Joni, but this time Joni got more! Tons
of people screaming out "we love you, Joni, we love you!!" Had to make her
And I think you may be right about it being a Dylan song - I thought Dylan
at first, too, but Joni kind of did it in a Waits style! She said it was
one of her favorite songs.
There isn't much to add from my seat (next to Kakki), except to reiterate how
HOT it was -- man, they are touting the old Wiltern as the NEW Wiltern, but
they had better get some A/C.
I thought two things were significant. First, Joni again this year was the
final performer. This happening after Henley introduced her as being an
influence on all the women that performed on the stage that evening. Joni
was also the only one to perform three numbers. The others were limited to
two. She looked happy, rested and beautiful.
It was a great show. Enough has been said about Stevie. She blew me away.
On the way home, Brad asked me why she plays with her dress so much. He only
vaguely knew who she was -- but knows her "group." My work is never done
with that man. He was a trooper -- for him the evening was comparable to
root canal. But he did say Joni was far and away the most into what she was
doing. He said he felt more from her singing than all the others combined.
I was taken with Reba's performance as well. Never a fan, her stage presence
and voice surprised me. If anyone has recommendations for a Reba LP that is
just a little bit country, let me know.
Finally, as is my favorite part about this cyber family, meeting up with
fellow JMDLers is always a blast and makes waiting for late concerts and
sitting in hot concert halls worth it!
Well, I finally made it home, but I'm pretty exhausted. I'll try my
best to be coherent and add what I can. It was so great to see my list
buds! The kind of friends you can just pick right up with, so natural.
|[Photo by Fred Prouser]|
The Wiltern is a beautiful place but the whole thing was not very well
organized. I guess the big-wig dinner took longer than they expected
and as Kakki said, we stood outside the door in crowded heat for an hour
waiting to be seated. Bob and I actually went to the box office and
complained, going so far as to ask for a refund, mostly for drama. The
lady at the box actually agreed that the situation sucked, but said that
they would start very soon and we would miss an awesome concert if we
chose to leave. (This, of course, turned out to be true!) When we did
get in, they were still auctioning off stuff to the hi-rollers like "
walk in part on Will and Grace", "Poster signed by all that night's
performers" and "private jet to front row tickets for opening night of
Celine Dion's new show in Vegas" (barf) I'm pretty sure Michael CAine
bought that one for 5K, as he racked up roughly 20K in purchases in the
name of charity. Oh yeah, the auctioneers were Don Henley and Paul
Riser. I didn't notice what time the concert actually started but I
guess it could have been 2 hours late, I'm not sure. Our seats were
quite comfortable, temperature wise anyway, I guess the higher you got
the hotter it was. Sorry you guys had to sweat through it! So, that
wasn't you yelling out "We Love You Joni" in unison????
The concert has been covered well by Kakki and Rick. I'll add that
Joni DID introduce her second song with "This is a Dylan song I've
always loved. It's a thrill to be able to sing it here" I'll also add
that her orchestral version of Woodstock was by far the highlight of the
evening for me. Quite dramatic..Mesmerizing.
I had brought a little gift I made for Joni, a raku necklace, and a
card.. Our very expensive tickets included a "VIP Post-Concert Party".
I was hoping she would be there and I could give it to her. The party
was a veritable sugar fest with every sort of dessert imaginable. I
swear the whole place smelled like sugar. We waited patiently, chatting
with some folks for at least 30 minutes, but the only celeb we saw was
Mick Fleetwood. I was starting to figure that they just weren't going
to show and we were going to leave when in struts Larry Klein. I jumped
in front of him and introduced myself, complimented him on the great
show. I told him I had a little gift for Joni and asked if she was
coming. He said he didn't think so but said he would be happy to give
it to her for me. So, it's in Mr. Klein's hands. I hope she did get
it, and enjoyed it.
Thanks for your report! I'm sorry you only got to see Mick Fleetwood at the
after party, but am SO glad you got to pass that beautiful necklace along to
Part of me feels so bad that much of last night was a disappointment and a
bit icky on some levels. The Wiltern is usually a fantastic venue. The
logistical and other debacles I've never seen before at concerts here. The
one saving grace through it all were the performances of the artists and
that incredible orchestra that carried on through it all. The '98 show was
so much more professional but I will tell you that we DID get a much greater
Joni and Stevie show this time around! It wasn't us yelling "we love you
Joni" - we were on low energy up there in the rafters, but I thought your
Bob yelled it out at one point ;-)