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From "Concerts Attended", a music exam project by Anita Gabrielle Tedder (aged 15)
17 January 1970
When I heard that my idol, Joni Mitchell, was doing a solo concert at the
Royal Festival Hall, I could hardly restrain myself from singing out loud;
in fact I sang through all the songs on her two LP's in the bath to
celebrate. I had waited for this concert for over a year, since I first
hear her incredible music. I telephoned and booked the tickets only three
hours after telephone booking opened. I was amazed to receive tickets in
row T in the 25 shilling seats! I had expected to be very near the front
but I found out that 12 hours after booking opened, the seats were a
quarter sold out.
Joni can scarcely be described as a folk singer anymore, her songs have
become too complex. They still have the Joni Mitchell stamp, though. Her song
"Both Sides Now" is currently a hit for Judy Collins, another folk singer
with a very nice voice.
The lights dimmed and the red stage spotlights came on. I could not quite
grasp the fact that there was Joni Mitchell! Joni is an excellent guitar
player on her records. I was shocked when she began playing exactly as on
the record; I did not believe it was possible to play and sing like that at
the same time. She opened with "Chelsea Morning" and carried on to sing
many of her famous hits including "Cactus Tree". I was astounded again
when she went over and played the piano. She played a new number called
"He played real good for free". The applause after each song was
deafening. She concluded the first half bathed in mauve lights singing
"Both Sides Now".
The second half opened with "Marcie"; the real Marcie was in the audience
followed by "Nathan La Franeer". She then sang two more songs on the piano;
one called "Two Houses" and the new Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young single
"Woodstock". She then gave us a description of how, when she was in
Hawaii, she had seen a lovely sight: flowers in the sun with a beautiful
aroma from all sides. The palm trees by golden sands and the sky was a
beautiful blue. Right in the middle of this beautiful scene was a parking
lot. This prompted her to write a comic song called "They Paved Paradise
and Put Up A Parking Lot". It was a sort of rock and roll beat. The lights
alternated between blue and red. Before she finished the song, the lights
were accidentally switched off and all that could be heard was Joni
screeching with laughter. This really broke the ice and there were many
cheers and laughter.
She finished, so she thought, with her last song. She
went off. The uproar was the most fantastic thing I have ever
witnessed. Everybody, and I mean everybody, leaped to their feet and shouted
for more. She came back,bowed and went off. Three or four minutes elapsed
and still she did not reappear. Nobody moved but kept on yelling for
more. At last she came back and sang one of her best songs "Michael from
Mountains". She went off again and exactly the same thing happened. She had
to sing another song. She asked what song we would like. One chap yelled
above the rest "Chelsea Morning". She pointed out that she had already sung
that once, but he insisted. "That'll teach you to come in late". He replied
"PLEASE sing Chelsea Morning". She obliged him with two verses. She sang
her encore in which we all had to join in the chorus,
"And the seasons they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and
down. We're captive on a carousel of time. We can't return, we can only
look behind from where we came, and go round and round and round in the
circle game." We all enjoyed singing that.
Everyone stayed and continued
shouting. Five minutes elapsed. She had to come back. She sang a song
about smiling at people and loving everybody. I was deliriously happy in
fact so was everyone else in the sold out hall. We sang the chorus about
ten times, clapping our hands and crying with laughter. She had to go this
time. When she did not return, we all took up a football chant of "More".
It was so incredible. I was very unhappy when it finished. I don't know
how Joni manages to obtain this atmosphere. The words in her songs remove
any doubts I ever have that life is a drag and that people are all
hypocrites. She makes me see the good things in life and renews my spirit.
Any cynics would be less cynical if they listened to the words of her
songs. The melodies are also beautiful and very unusual. Obviously, I could
write an entire music project about Joni and her numerous songs. Just one
more word. Joni communicates to me what she, me and all the young people
who were at the concert desire more than anything in the world. Freedom.
"Fly silly seabird
No dreams can possess you
No voices can blame you
For sun on your wings
My gentle relations
Have names they must call me
For loving the freedom
Of all flying things
My dreams with the seagulls fly
Out of reach out of cry".