Last Saturday was a promoter's dream come true. Amid an appalling spell of bad weather the sun shining brightly and three top-line acts were appearing on the same bill on what promised to be the year's most exciting concert.
Jesse Colin Young had the unenviable task of opening the proceedings but came out of it very well. Everybody seemed to be very favourably impressed, let's hope a better opportunity for seeing their work comes up in the near future.
The Band were as musically brilliant as ever and just as clinical.
In some ways it was a little more clockwork than it used to be but that didn't detract from the quality. The audience were with them all the way and Up On Cripple Creek provoked the fans into giving them a standing ovation.
Joni Mitchell was next, her act was preceded by a short one from her backing band Tom Scott and the L.A. Express. They really are very good if a little unsuited to open air venues like this. And they had one very fine guitarist who could hold his own with any of his top ranking contemporaries.
Joni suffered more than any of the others from the vastness of the arena. Gone were the friendly asides and chats between numbers. She seemed a little nervous too, but was in fine voice. Some of her classics got the audience warmed up — Big Yellow Taxi got an ovation and You Turn Me On I'm A Radio was very well received. As she relaxed so did the music. One song, Woodstock, captured the mood of the sunny day — it was almost back to the Peace and Love era.
Joni's set continued with an assortment of numbers old and new, like Starbright, Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire and Blue. Then came one of my favourites For Free sung as beautifully and poignantly as ever. The set was drawing to a close and Help Me and Raised On Robbery were the high points at the end. I must confess to preferring Joni at smaller concerts where she's more at home but this was nonetheless an excellent set.