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The Score: Joni 1, Toilets 0 Print-ready version

by David Winkelstern
Lansing State Journal
July 9, 1983
Original article: PDF

This week, Joni Mitchell give the kind of show most people wouldn't want to miss any of.

But there was even more reason to stay in your place during her Pine Knob performance: most of the restrooms were closed.

Mitchell's concert was almost cancelled, after an afternoon storm knocked out the power. A crowd waiting at the gate wasn't allowed in until after the original starting time of 7:30 pm. Once inside, people found the concession stands closed and few restrooms open.

The water pressure was low and tempers began to rise. Endless lines for a few stalls formed while the stalled show finally got underway. Mitchell began singing about 8.

But her performance soon made you forget the potties. Mitchell gave a likable show filled with well-liked songs. "I'm a Radio," "Free Man in Paris," "Yellow Taxi" and "Raised on Robbery" were just some of the familiar hits she tossed out.

Newer tunes and a couple oldies got good reactions, too. She included songs from her recent "Refuge" album and even some Elvis and Marvin Gaye classics.

It was unfortunate more people weren't there to hear Mitchell's two-hour-plus show. There was lots of grazing room left on the Knob's lawn area, and plenty of empty seats. Still, the roars of appreciation had the sound of a full stable.

There was no emptiness from the stage, either. Mike Landau's guitar, Vinnie Colaiuta's drumming, and Russell Ferrante's keyboards added to the quality of the quality music. Larry Klein's bass-playing also stood out as he stood next to Mitchell. In pictures in the program booklet, the pair seem even closer.

Some of the close harmonies on Mitchell's records were missing from the live concert. As Mitchell switched from electric guitars to piano or dulcimer, no one joined her singing.

Other than that, Mitchell's state-of-the-art concert wasn't missing anything. Except, of course, the frozen Coke stands, the pizza booth, and the water in the toilets.

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