You tend to forget that Joni Mitchell is a millionairess as you watch her weave her pastoral poetry into flute-like tones. She is surrounded by a stage that is dressed with flowers and greenery which enhance her aura of natural serenity.
Her melodies are rich and her lyrics evoke moods and emotions. She does more than entertain an audience, she touches them with an honest sincerity that is so rare in this era of glitter rock. Possibly this is why, in places like Pine Knob where she appeared last night, there are repeated outbursts from members of the audience, male and female, who are so moved as to unabashedly cry out: "We love you, Joni."
The capacity audience was treated to a provocative slice in the life of a lady folksinger who relates so well because she could very well be part of that crowd herself.
Most pop singers would rather the audience forget that a major driving force of their being on stage is monetary. But Joni talks about it, even sings about it, and in the process displays the conflict between playing music as a need for expression and getting handsomely paid for it.
Her "For the Roses" tells us that while she would like to get back to the garden, and the simple life she once had in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she isn't ready to give up what can only be financially accomplished through record sales and bookings. In another song, she sings enviously of a clarinet player who "does it for free."
Her set was lengthy and was split into sections - the first backed by a rhythm section, then a solo spot with only her guitar, dulcimer, or piano for accompaniment and then a soaring finale with the band.
The band, called the L.A. Express, complimented Miss Mitchell's angelic vocals and put some driving beat into the show with fine jazz-rock backings. They especially excelled on bringing forth a sense of urgency and rhythm to counterpoint her laid-back vocal on "Woodstock."
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