FOLK heroine of the sixties, Joni Mitchell, finally made it to Australia in the eighties.
But she made up for lost time.
At the Palais last night, Melburnians saw an impressive display of musical skill from the Canadian-born singer-songwriter.
Mitchell is not just a pretty voice on stage: she wields her various guitars masterfully. At times she makes the band seem a superfluous adjunct to the proceedings.
A solo spot especially demonstrated the 39-year-olds abilities. During her stay on stage alone, she did a delightful version of her biggest hit, Big Yellow Taxi, stamping it with a new mood.
And while her guitar was good, her silky, liquid voice was magic.
Joni Mitchell can be haunting, she can run up and down the scales of the modern jazz she prefers and can belt out a rock song.
Wild Things Run Fast from her new LP a return from her jazz experiments to more of a pop vein was a blistering, electric display.
The final song was a version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine an unusual ending for an artist renowned for her writing.
But then you never know what to expect next from Joni Mitchell.
One thing the crowd expected and didnt get was Woodstock. Maybe Jonis jazz tendencies have exorcised this anthem of love and peace from her live repertoire.
Joni Mitchell took a long time to get to Australia but it was worth the wait.
She performs again tonight at the Palais and on Monday at the Concert Hall.
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