CHICAGO: Backstage at the Joni Mitchell concert Jan. 23, Fred Fine of Triangle Productions lamented that he had never made as many enemies as in the previous week. The Auditorium Theater concert was so sold out that he couldn't supply tickets to all those besieging him. Asylum Records promotion men had the same problems. The official count was 3982 at the $6.50 top dictated by Ms. Mitchell instead of the usual $7.50, but there were folding chairs everywhere and the audience even overflowed in to the lighting booths. The show was worthy of being the hottest ticket in town in the past six months, hotter than either Bob Dylan or The Who. Joni is at the peak of her powers as a performer, and her band, Tom Scott & the LA Express, is astonishingly good in its own right.
Scott opened with six slam-bang instrumentals that had the crowed roaring. His band of LA session men, most of whom played on Joni's new album "Court and Spark," will soon have its own album out on Ode. Joni joined the band for six numbers before the break, after which, much like Dylan, she did nine acoustic guitar selections before recalling the band for five more pieces and two encores. She did almost all the songs on her new album as well as most of the older favorites, and proved quite the raconteur as well, introducing one song with a lengthy monologue of many digressions. Talking and singing, she put on a memorable show.
Ushers passed out Triangle flyers asking that concertgoers not light matches at the end of the concert. The Chicago fire department and the managements of the Auditorium and Arie Crown Theaters have been concerned about the increasing popularity of this practice, and there has even been discussion about banning all pop concerts from these halls. The leafleting seemed to work at the Joni Mitchell concert, however, as about only a dozen matches were lit.
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