Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001

1968.10.25  The Bitter End  New York, NY

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Ad in The New York Times
published October 25, 1968. pg. 42
Ad in The New York Times published October 25, 1968. pg. 36
23-28 October 1968. The Bitter End w/ Tom Flanders & Neil Young. Bought 'cover' at the door. Stayed for both sets. [Lary9]
Photo: Sandi Bachom

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Lary9 on 2010-Apr-25 at 19:34:05 GMT-5:
I remember those dates (10/23-28/68) like they were yesterday. My future wife and I came into the city from Jersey and I'm pretty sure we paid at the door to get in.(Really!) I think this included one drink. I came to see this new singer-songwriter-musician who had captivated my poetic imagination. I am still a poet and, back in the day, I was also a folksinger du jour. I had first heard Joni's "I Had A King" on the Song To A Seagull album being played on WNEW-FM. Tom Flanders and Neil Young were on the bill but I don't recall much of them. On the other hand, Joni was unforgettable. I insisted that we stayed for both sets.I knew I had heard true greatness 'on the break', like a rose, that night. I wasn't mistaken. Joni was immediately recognizable as an original---perhaps even an Original's Original. I've been sustained by the joy of her talent for over 40 years now. I had the opportunity to meet her and Graham Nash once at a Krishna free-food lunch at Cliffhouse in San Francisco. I heard her again at Esalen Institue in the Big Sur; sorta impromptu. But never another performance venue. Sorry, Joni. I probably owe you a few bucks for the free music. I've never actually seen her 'In Concert' unless you count The Bitter End. Wow. What a long strange trip it's been.   [ed.]

Added 11/8/10
Joni was small. Her hair, straight, very light blonde, almost platinum. She played acoustic guitars...one 6-string and a 12-string. She wore what I can only describe as de rigueur 'hippy' clothes...bright, gypsy-like. When she sang it was clear that she had a gifted, unique voice. Powerful. Angelic. I recall vividly how her lower jaw quavered and her throat warbled underneath as she phrased the notes. This skill has always been a mystery to me, since I know real singers do this but I can't. She was young, beautiful and alluringly sincere. Her hands performed flawlessly on the guitar. I was no more than 3-4 meters away, seated at a front table. The entire venue had only 12 people for the first set and maybe 20 for the second. It was unforgettable  [ed.]  [ed.]