A CHRONOLOGY OF APPEARANCES
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001
 

1998.05.23  Arrowhead Pond Arena  Anaheim, CA

» This Concert is a part of the 1998 West Coast Tour.

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Related articles from the Library:
» Dylan, Morrison and Mitchell in Total Control (Orange County Register, 1998)
» Triumph of a Triple Threat (Los Angeles Times, 1998)

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Joni&Elmer on 2009-Sep-29 at 08:54:25 GMT-5:
Can't believe it's been over 11 years since the concert.

Never having seen Joni, I went to a scalper, and paid a horrendous amount of money for 2 tickets in the 4th row center.

Others have done a great job of summing up the concert. I'd echo that it was great to see Joni live, but the venue wasn't right for her. Not only was the sound bad, the worst part was that Joni seemed to be an afterthought for both the promoters and many in the crowd.

Although I enjoy Van Morrison's music, his soundboard folks gave new meaning to Spinal Tap's volume controls going to 11. I think his went to 14 or 15.

When Joni came out, many in the crowd used it as a cue to take a bathroom break, and others that stayed in their seats started talking at the top of their lungs. We glared at them, mostly with no effect......

I am still glad we went, even after paying more for the tickets than I'd ever admit to anyone, but I wish I'd been able to see her in a setting that was more appropriate for her, and with a crowd that was there to see her.


Archival comments


Wally's Tour Report

A few hours before the show, my traveling friends and I went music shopping at various stores and we stopped into Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. As I looked through the "New Releases" section, I heard someone say "Hello, Wally!" behind me, turned around and there was Brian Blade. We hugged and I asked him how he was enjoying the tour. He told me he was having a great time, and committed to a conversation about his reflections on the tour when he gets home to upstate New York.

Later, at the urging of my photographer, we decided to go to the catering area at the Pond in time to have dinner. I figured that since this was the last of the seven shows, it wouldn't be pushing my welcome to do so. We drove to Anaheim, found the Arrowhead Pond and made our way to the catering room, where we dished out our dinners and sat down at the end of one of a trio of long tables. Karl pointed me to the beverages, which were in a cooler on the wall behind the first table. I went over and picked out a soda, and as I turned back to the table I noticed Brian Kennedy sitting at the end of the first table. Sitting across from him was Joni with her hair pinned up, looking beautiful. I continued to my table and sat down with my back to Joni's table, happy to be a part of Joni's travelling community and glad to be able to casually eat dinner in the same room as Joni and rest of the crew. Joni finished her meal, talking as she ate. She stopped to chat briefly with Larry Klein before leaving the room.

My seat in the venue was in the 14th row, but unfortunately there was a loudmouth almost directly behind me who didn't seem to be able to shut his mouth for a moment. I leaned forward away from him and enjoyed Joni's show despite this annoying disturbance.

Joni gave a great performance, with highlights being her renditions of "Black Crow," "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," and "The Magdalene Laundries."

Before she sang "The Magdalene Laundries," a roadie ran out on stage and said something in Joni's ear. She seemed taken aback for a moment and then announced that she was running long and she was going to cut her set. I heard later that this was because Van Morrison, who'd opened the show, had played for a longer time than he'd been allotted. If I'd been her, I'd have ignored the request and not cut the set one bit. I mean, it was the final show after all, what does it really matter. Joni graciously cut one song, "Moon at the Window", from her set, going directly from "Magdalene Laundries" to the encore song, "Woodstock."

Joni's setlist was:

Night Ride Home
The Crazy Cries of Love
Harry's House
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Just Like This Train
(Band intro)
Black Crow
Amelia
Hejira ("I thought I heard ol' blue eyes crooning through the snowy trees...")
Big Yellow Taxi
Facelift
Sex Kills
The Magdalene Laundries
Woodstock

Celebrities seen in the audience were Woody Harrelson, Sally Kellerman, and Dave Alvin of The Blasters.

After Joni's set, I went backstage with my friends and we heartily thanked Darrell Gilmour and Sam Feldman from Joni's management office for their kindness in allowing us to follow the tour.

We decided to watch Dylan's set from the right side of the stage, where a small group of people were standing. I again ran into Brain Blade, standing behind him for a few songs. One of Dylan's roadies came over a short time later and asked us all to move to the other side of the stage; Dylan was about to leave and the area had to be cleared for him. As we were leaving, Brian tapped me on the shoulder and indicated that I should follow him and his friends to the backstage area. When we got there, he stopped and introduced me to a female friend of his who said "I'm such a big fan of your website." I was very flattered by her kindness and said "Oh, you're very sweet."

My friends and I then walked to the left side of the stage and watched the remainder of Dylan's set from that vantage point.

As the show ended and the lights came up, I noticed Greg Liesz, Joni's pedal-steel guitar player, hanging around at the edge of the backstage area. I walked up to introduce myself, and he said "Oh, everyone's been asking me if I'd met Wally yet." We talked about his work on Joni's albums Taming the Tiger and Turbulent Indigo, as well as his work with k.d. lang on Absolute Torch and Twang. Greg promised to have an official conversation with me for JM.com (BTW, I also got a promise from Larry Klein). My friend Jim told him that because of his placement on the stage and the lighting, neither he nor Karl had been able to get a good shot of him, so Greg posed for one right then and there.

We hung out backstage for a bit longer as everybody was packing up and I talked with a few roadies, who all seemed to know about the website. One guy who had visited the JMHP commented on the fact that the reviews from the JM Internet Community which he'd read had been more right-on about the shows than the reviews he'd seen in newspapers.

With that, we left the venue of the last of the seven shows on the Dylan/Mitchell/Morrison tour. I suppose there's always a slight letdown mixed in with the euphoria as a peak experience like this one winds to a conclusion. As we sped down I-5 toward LA on the "Night Ride Home" to our hotel, I finally had a few quiet moments to consider the tour experience as a whole; all in all, the tour was a bit tiring, but genuinely exciting.

I've had a wonderful time publicizing Joni's tour. I had the privilege of meeting Joni two times, and saw her give seven enchanting performances. I've been able to finally talk face to face with several people with whom up until now I've only had online correspondence with, as well as the occasion to meet a few new friends. And I've had the opportunity to do something else I've wanted to do for a long time -- show my appreciation to close friends who have given me their support and assistance over the years as I've walked the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes rocky road to getting the JMHP online. Thanks, everybody.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank you for your support as you sit at your computer screen reading this. The JMHP would be a pretty useless exercise if it wasn't so well received by the online community. I hope that my reports from the road have been interesting and helpful to you folks, and I look forward to meeting you here on the screen for a long time to come.

Now Joni's tour is over. Or is it...? Stay tuned. There may be more on the way!

(From:CHUNLO@aol.com)-I went to second show at UCLA and was extremely disappointed in the lousy sound of that place -plus i had awful seats way up on the right side. Bob Dylan set seemed rushed like he was being really concientious, but he was in good form-all attitude and swagger. I wished he did "Dignity." The sound didn't improve with Joni's set but i was just so happy to see her and to to see her having such a good time-able we'll ahve more chances to see her with "Tiger.". I really like her selections, especially "Magdalena's Laundaries" and "Slouching towards Bethlehem." "Big Yellow Taxi" was fun, but "Woodstock" was hauntiingly beautiful-Joni at her best-sparse, intimate storytelling. Van Morrison-looks like grocer, sings like an angel. Last impression: incredible to me that so many people would shell out $80-90 bucks and yack all through the show-rude, rude, rude. That must have been misinformed and thought they were going to a basketball game....

The show at the Pond was so much better than the second L.A. show. The sound was good-strong, clear and crisp. Joni was on-graceful, intimate. Her songs sound fresh and urgent with this band lineup. I saw brian blade 5 or 6 years ago with daniel lanios and i knew that he was going to be a great one-and sure enough he brought new fire, energy and urgency to "Slouching to Bethlehem." I love alex acuna's percussion on the record, but brian's playing is really something else. He is GOOD. Great touch, great sense of dynamics and serving the song. Joni sure knows how to pick 'em. Joni had to cut her set short because Van ran long-she should've ignored the roadies and finished her set as she intended-who could ever be upset with her for playing more??? She was radiant,relaxed and charming. Please paly again soon, Joni-we've missed you so... ---

(From: scott brooks )-i just got back from my hour drive home from seeing joni at arrowhead pond. didn't stay for dylan. what can i say? i'm a die hard Joni fan. my only disappointment was that she didn't perform longer. when they introduced her and she walked on stage i actually started shaking and tearing up. i couldn't believe that i was actually in the same building with "the goddess". i'm definitely like most in that i would love to hear more of her older tunes but can appreciate her wanting to expand and move forward. i'm the one stuck in a time warp! she definitely is not! plus the time element doesn't allow for more when your sharing the bill. i respect you joni. you are brilliant. you are real. you are a musical genius. i loved your art work as well. i could see your hand hanging over your knee so casually and that really moved me. your beautiful hands have created miracles. so has your extremely thoughtful mind. your voice was deep and sultry and though it seemed that you might be suffering from a slight cold, you were something else! i pray that i will be able to have the honor of seeing you again. it meant the world to me to see you live. i cannot comprehend how i could have gotten through life without your sweet, intelligent, melancholy (not always melancholy though) music. and your sooo beautiful. gosh, i'm gushing. oh, and screw the critics that panned you. they wouldn't know a deep tune if it stood up and slapped em' in the face. thanks joni, thanks for a lifetime of wonderful, soulful music. i love you.

diann dittemore ---

(From:Wireman116, Wireman116@aol.com)-I loved it! This was the first time I have ever been to one her concerts and I hope it will not be my last. I hope she will tour again soon on her own. I liked Van Morrison and Dylan too, but I connected with Joni's music and personal style. I was greatly disappointed at the relatively short set she was allowed and I was very pleased when she came back on to sing Woodstock. ---

(From:Joy Bondy, jmbbmb@idt.net)-Hello, I very much enjoyed the whole show, Van Morrison got the crowd livened up, had excellent musical and vocal support. When the stage was reset for Joni and her band, my view was from the side in the 219 section. With binoculars though, I could see all band members quite clearly and smiles when Joni looked toward Larry Klein as they timed the end of a song. I liked the fact that she played her comfort songs, opening with Night Ride Home. She seemed to be suffering from the cold still, commenting on the AC and flouresent lights being everywhere she was lately. There was one moment when she seemed to forget a line, played through it , then mentioned Frank Sinatra in the snowy trees. I especially liked hearing the guitar sounds which she produced very effortlessly. Hearing and seeing at the same time, I could separate her guitar from the bass, drums and other instruments heard on the recorded songs. The crowd got up on Big Yellow Taxi, and laughed with her Dylan verse that she nasaled with the park being pushed around. Black Crow is one of my favorites, due to the traveling theme, which I relate to so much, and the rhythmic beat of the guitar was loud and clear. Just when I was hoping for a few more tunes, she was approached by a man after Magdelaine Laundries, and she then announced that they had to leave the stage. Joni and her band gathered at the rear of the stage, stood for a few photos arm in arm, wandered then exited stage right. No one was even introduced ! A few moments later she did return to solo Woodstock, with much pleasure indicated from the audiance response. I did enjoy her set very much, but cannot help but feel some what cheated by her rushed exit off stage. It sure would be nice to hear the reason why. ( Do you have the insider info Wally B ? ) As far as Bob Dylan's set, he was jamming and even understandable at times, like during Tangled Up In Blue. He looked a bit angelic ? with a white suit on, but I am quite a concert virgin, so just an impression. All added up, the money spent was worth the value, I got 3 Ts and an event $10 poster, plus the most important part: Hearing and seeing my lady hero musician Joni Mitchell excel at her craft in front of so many happy and thankful faithful fans like myself. Great Show Joni ! Thanks for this web site Wally ! Posted by Joy, living in FL, dreaming of the future where the road takes me... ---

(From:BLUELAURA7, BLUELAURA7@aol.com)-I'm a long-time Joni admirer, and this was the 2nd time that I've seen her in concert. I felt that the material she presented was technically challenging. The musical selections represented a good mix of material from the early years to her more recent work. I was, as always, impressed with her unique sound and thoughtful lyrics. I was troubled by the decline in quality of her vocals. The years of smoking have taken their toll, but she also appeared to have a cold at this time, and complained of allergies while reaching for tissues. She had to "cut it short", and I still wonder why. Joni's set didn't seem nearly as long as Van Morrison's, but then, I was enjoying Joni more. I loved her easy banter with the audience. I was completely satisfied with Joni's portion of the show, and it was her that I traveled hours to see, but surprisingly, it was Dylan who blew me away. I thought that his set was excellent. His band was great, and he is a master entertainer. I was pleasantly surprised that he played so much material from "Blood on the Tracks". The whole show was great, and I will cherish the memory of seeing these 3 great artists for the rest of my life. ---

(From:RLPSD, RLPSD@aol.com)-Dear Wally,

I am a Joni Mitchell fan since the very early 70's. I saw the Court and Spark tour, as well as two of the 1979 performances and then in 1983. I say that because last night she blew me away with how awsome she is in a live setting.

She keeps growing. First, she is stunning to look at..she just sways into air and rocks beautifully. I've never seen anyone on VH-1 or MTV impress me so much with movement alone. Second, her and Klein work their asses off ( I may be thinking of him) at the moment.He played so well and beautifully and the two were so synchronized they must do it for others. It was a historic moment in music. I was reminded why she is such an important music icon for what she is doing today. Harry's House may be my reason for writing. I was speechless it was so beautiful! Her choice of songs, her brief right on target emotional and social comments make her the perfect musical/poetic voice of our lives. She and Dylan should be paired. She should have opened alone for Bob Dylan.Going after a more party time performance by Van Morrison was not the right flow for the concert. Last , the crowd around me, way up there, liked her song selection and knew (from her use of tissues )that she had a cold and perhaps sore throat which hurt her voice....and it was still simply wonderful and worth going from San Diego. Don't let her or Klein stop. I'll travel to NY to see her alone or with Larry Klein and their own group. Or the VH1 thing ..she may like the ease of a one shot broadcast . ( I taped the radio concert and therefore have my 20 th JM album. As you know, it is a masterpiece.

Just an add-on to my earlier note. That bass-guitar combo of Joni's is as exciting, passionate, moving, as anything she has done. She gets to my inner being like no other public figure/ musician. She has truly shaped my life and I am thrilled and grateful to have found her ( for me it was 29 years ago). I am a happy, satisfied, well liked person in part because of the joy she has brought. The performance in Anaheim renewed my insides yet again. Thank you for creating this channel for us! ---

(From:Graham Knight, graham@knight.meteostar.com)-Hi Wally,

First - thanks for the web page - it's very nice. :-)

Alora and I made the trek from Denver to see the Anaheim show on Saturday night. The lineup was just too tempting. The real lure was the chance to see Joni. Neither of us had ever seen her before, and she is a musical staple around our home.

A couple of nit-picks off the top. The sound in the Anaheim Pond was terrible. In a place that big i was kind of expecting that though. During Joni's set the bad sound was amplified a bit by what i thought was a poor sound mix. I could barely hear the drums and the bass was way too high in the mix.

The crowd, for the most part, was unappreciative of what was happening on stage for all 3 acts. They sat on their hands during all three sets. It was amazing to see Dylan up there rocking like mad and the entire crowd was sitting. There were some folks up front that were giving Joni a standing ovation after every song. But the people around us (about 3/4 of the way back) could have really cared less about what was happening on stage. Makes me wonder why they even bothered shelling out $85 bucks for a ticket. $85 bucks went up in smoke. I'm hoping that this is southern california thing - hopefully the human race isn't losing their ability to groove. ;-)

With those items put behind me i can say that i thought Joni's set was amazing. I had heard rumblings that she was sick, but i thought her voice sounded fantastic. If i had a chance to sit down and write my dream setlist for a Joni Mitchell show the one she played Saturday night would not be too far off. "Night Ride Home" was a great opener. "Slouching Toward Bethlehem" was a real treat. I was very pleased that she was reaching into her bag of tricks and pulling out some real gems. Then the songs from "Hejira". Frankly, seeing these masterpieces performed live was something that i figured would never happen for me. "Black Crow" was searing. "Amelia" and "Hejira" were spellbinding. With every verse of "Hejira" i was just amazed that i was actually hearing Joni sing it live. I would have thrown in "Song For Sharon" right here on my dream setlist - but that's just asking for too much!! :-)

I found Joni's guitar work outstanding. Particularly on "Just Like This Train". Her playing ability was never a question in my mind, but she did suprise me a number of times during the show - she's an exceptional guitarist.

The new songs sounded good - but it was impossible to make out the lyrics - so i'll have to hold off on my review of those until i can hear the whole song.

We went to this show with some pretty high expectations and we walked away more than satisfied. I sure would like to see Joni take this one on the road. Here's hoping she does...

Graham ---

(From:Matthew S. Gibbons, matt.gibbons@pyxiscorp.com)-My primary purpose in going to the concert at the Pond was to see Joni. Bob and Van, for me, were icing on the cake. As it turned out, they were all great, but Joni was the highlight of the evening, in every respect. This was the second time that I had seen Joni in concert, and ironically, the other time was only a few miles down the road at the Anaheim Convention Center, in March of 1974...the Court and Spark tour. As great as Joni was then (and she was beyond excellent), she has only gotten better with time...as with a fine wine!

While Joni doesn't seem quite able to hit those high notes anymore (the ones that were so easy in her youth), she more than makes up for it in her inventiveness and pure soul. I suspect that her lifelong love of smoking cigarettes has taken a toll on the range of her wonderful pipes. Be that as it may, her voice still sends chills... the great kind of chills.

I am unable to quote all of the song titles she did in her nearly 70 minute set, primarily because I wasn't taking notes. Also, her set seemed to go by in about a minute...it was one of those magical experiences where you feel as if you blink you'll miss it. I was so "in the moment" that it all seems like a dream now. There were however, a few songs that are burned into my memory, the impressions of which, I will now recount.

The opener, Night Ride Home, established the incredible sound that was to last throughout the set. I was a bit surprised to see what appeared to be a Parker Fly guitar being used by Joni...unless that was some variation on the VG-8? I don't think so though, since the VG-8, if I'm not mistaken, is a variation on the basic Stratocaster shape, and this was definitely cut exactly like a Parker Fly. I have the no. 44 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine from Aug.'96, with Joni on the cover, and there is an extensive article about how she was using the VG-8 to conquer the difficulties she has had with alternate tunings in a live setting...apparently one of the reasons she had toured so seldom in the last couple of decades. Anyone interested in that issue will find a copy of the cover and a description of the contents at http://www.acousticguitar.com/issues/ag44/ag44.html.

"Harry's House" from Hissing of Summer Lawns was a major one for me, since that is perhaps my favorite song from that album. She did it early in her set, perhaps the 3rd song? I was waiting for, and was major goosebumped, when she sang my favorite line from that song..."A Helicopter lands on the Pan Am roof, Like a dragonfly on a tomb"... the imagery of that line struck me in a major way, from the first time I heard it (when "Hissing..." was first released). Such a striking metaphor! I never dreamed I'd hear her do it live...what a thrill! It was so incredible, that I even got over the fact that she did not include "Centerpiece", as it was done on the album. I even turned to my friend as the Centerpiece change approached and said "and the change!"...and there was no tempo or key change....Harry's House continued. Believe me when I say, I got over it!

Let's see now, one of the others I can think of was "Just Like This Train", which took me back to the other time I had seen her in 1974, when that song was new. Brilliant imagery again..."I used to count lovers like railroad cars, I counted them on my side"...and "Kids with the jitters in their legs, And those wide, wide open stares"...just great to hear in person! All of Joni's music is special, but, and perhaps it's because I saw her then, Court and Spark has a special place for me.

"Amelia" and "Black Crow" were so great I had to fight back tears. These tunes made me remember the great collaboration that Joni had with Jaco Pastorious, a man so brilliant and so troubled. I know Joni learned so much from him. So sad that someone so gifted would end so badly. But his influence on the direction of Joni's musical odyssey is reflected beautifully in these songs.

I guess the reaction was to be expected, when she did Hejira and sang the Frank Sinatra.lyric...the audience applauded on that one. And of course, the place went nuts when she started up on "Big Yellow Taxi". But it seemed to me that the audience was generally a little cool toward Joni. Not too cool, there was a good response, but it seemed that most were not there for her...which made me a bit sad when I could hear and see the brilliance of this performance and know that she should have had a more rousing response. As I said, she got a good response, and she seemed to really be enjoying herself, but people should have been louder, more appreciative of her...god knows this was a rare night! I did what I could, and came away with a thrashed voice, but it was worth it...somebody had to do it!

"Sex Kills" was another stand out, although I think most of the audience wasn't all that familiar with this song, since it is from her most recent album. Her explanation about the bumper sticker that said Just Ice got peoples attention and set up the song beautifully.

I don't recall the final song before the encore, but I was left with a wonderful impression of Joni when she, and the band started to exit to the left (from the audience pov) and then realized that they needed to go the other way and it appeared she was almost giggling as she ran back the other way, almost like a little girl would...so charming from one so worldly and wise. Then the encore, which got the audience going, "Woodstock"...everybody in the place knew that song and responded accordingly. The only thing that disappointed me a little was that the audience didn't try hard enough for a second encore...if you want it, you've got to earn it, especially from one so giving and special. But the audience couldn't muster the noise...sadly. Still, it was a lifetime experience, and I was as happy as I could have been about the whole thing. She could have played all night and it wouldn't have been enough...so I can't be upset about not getting a second encore. The concert was a treasure, period.

Matt Gibbons

ultomatt@connectnet.com ---

(From:JWilson237, JWilson237@aol.com)-My wife is a LONG time fan of Joni's. The show was excellent. The Pond is not the greatest place to catch a show---great for hockey---acosutics lacking for good music.But we had a great time. Joni and Van were both superb. Bob was unintelligible. I'm not sure if it was the building or what.

Jim W.

Moreno Valley, Ca. ---

(From:BarBearUh, barbearuh@erols.com)-

Hopefully I won't be repeating much that's already been said. I still have 5 digests to read, but I want to post my .02 while it's still fresh.

I couldn't be happier with my LA experiences (both nights at Pauley and Saturday at the Pond). Just the bill alone was enough for me, having adored Bob, Joni and Van for most of my life. It was Joni i came out to see, and all said and done, it's Joni I'm the happiest I got to experience. But... I must admit that if I had to rate my adoration for these folks, Van would come last, but if I had to honestly rate the shows, Van was the winner hands down every night. His shows were just amazing. The band was sooooo tight, and the shows were very spontaneous. There were a handful of songs that got played every night, but every night there were many surprises. Every time he finished one, Van would call out the next song. Between the three nights, he covered so many of my favorite songs of his I could probably only name 2 or 3 that would round it out completely for me.

THURSDAY

It was a little frustrating seeing Van the first night. People were still being seated through most of the set, which prevented the audience energy from getting focused. The show was fabulous; a highlight being a great rendition of "Satisfied" from "Common One". He also did an inpired version of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life".

Just seeing Joni was enough for me. After 15 years, the excitement of waiting for her to come out on stage the first night was a magic moment. She looked lovely (I'll leave fashion descriptions to others who I'm sure can pull it off better than I can). The guitar sound she had was beautiful and the band sounded great. I had kept myself away from the JMDL so that I'd have a fresh experience and I wouldn't know the set list. I thought the choice for an opener, "Night Ride Home" was weak. The lyrics worked as an opening theme ("...a night like this..."), but I thought "Harlem in Havana" would have been a better choice (and I was disappointed this never got played). I thought it would have been better to grab the audience with something like "Cotton Avenue" or "In France they Kiss on Main Street" or "You Turn Me On". That said, "Night Ride Home" was played beautifully, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Joni introduced a lot of the songs, and "Crazy Cries of Love" got at least a few sentences every night. I loved that she'd returned to this folk tradition of addressing the audience so often - I think it helped keep attention, offering those not so familiar something to grab onto. I was psyched that she played one of my favorites, "Harry's House" next. I was totally surprised by "Slouching Towards Bethlehem". Given the rich production of this song on the album, I wasn't expecting to hear it live. I was so impressed by how well it was done, largely due to the skills of Brian Blade and Larry Klein (and although every night's performance of this song was excellent, Thursday's seemed best). I couldn't keep my eyes off Brian Blade; his drumming was nothing less than perfect all night, every night. He really made "Slouching" come alive. I also noticed during "Hejira" that he started by playing the drums very subtly with his hands and later brought in the sticks. He was positioned on the right side of the stage, in profile, so you could really watch him play. That was a great decision - it added more to look at (that is, if you ever got tired of studying Joni's sweet face).

The setlist was overall, pretty thrilling for me. "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" and "Black Crow" were enough to send me home happy. I personally could have traded in some songs for my personal favorites (all non-"hits"), but I thought it was a very well chosen set, with one exception. Playing "Hejira" on the tail of "Amelia" seemed like a big mistake to me. Both were done beautifully, and I enjoyed every minute, but it was way too mellow for the crowd to handle. Inevitably, all three nights, people were getting up and down and milling about by the middle of "Hejira". It was a shame, because the performance was excellent, and Brian Blade again had a lot to offer.

In the end, I'd give her a mixed review for this show. She seemed a little psyched out the entire time. Her voice was weak in spots, cracking from time to time. She messed up the Bob's lyric section of "Big Yellow Taxi", which caused her to mess up some more afterwards. It took her a while to get her guitar playing into the groove of the next song. I walked out thinking, "She's not going to tour after this; she's not feeling confident enough." That's not what caused me to feel mixed about it, though. What I missed is the energy of her '79 and '83 shows. I missed Wayne Shorter - there was some color missing without any horns or piano. I felt a little bored with the guitar sound by the end of the show. Although it was a lovely sound, I would have liked some piano and some acoustic guitar from time to time. I know the lack of piano and acoustic guitar had a lot to do with making the show set up efficient, but even a different programmed sound on the VG-8 would have sufficed in mixing it up a little (she used the same basic sound as on her Lettermen/Leno TV appearances).

The crowd was practically out of control for Dylan. People were dancing wildly all over the place, though I found it one of the least inspiring Dylan shows I've seen. I'm a bit jaded though - those three may have made me hit the 35th time I've seen the guy, and it's gotten a bit old for me. I only get at most two songs I haven't heard him do at least a few times, and I've gotten very tired of his current band. I can't stand "Silvio" and I don't know how the band can play it every night without falling asleep. But the crowd LOVED it, like it was the best thing he'd ever written, so maybe it's just me. My biggest joy was that he didn't do "Like a Rolling Stone", which is rarely missing. I also loved hearing him do anything new. "Love Sick" was great. "Rank Strangers" was a standout in the acoustic set.

One thing I came to realize finally for sure is that Dylan (or whoever his engineer is) mixes way too loud. The sound for both Van and Joni was great. Just think of how many times someone talks at a mike in a big place and you can't (or can barely) understand them. Joni stood up at the mike telling stories, and you could hear every word. Van's sound was really well mixed - even with his tendency to mumble, I caught words I'd never understood on his albums. Every one of the eight instruments could be distinguished from the rest. But when Bob came on, it was muddy, and I'm convinced the vocals and guitar are just allowed to max out. I was watching all the mixers at work, and I could see some of the tracks peaking constantly during Bob's set. I've always had trouble with this at the past 10 years worth of shows and I finally saw it in a way I could pin down.

FRIDAY

Joni's always said that sequencing is very important. This was my favorite night for two major reasons. One is that Dylan went first, making the energy flow better. After the loud, raucous Dylan show, I think the audience was happy to relax with Joni. The audience was quieter and more focused for her set. Plus, Van got to go all the way at the end. It was his best show of the three nights. The other reason is the way I saw the show. When we got there, it turned out that our seats had vanished. We were supposed to be sitting right next to the sound board, but the equipment had taken more space than planned. The ushers didn't quite know what to do with us. They kept putting us in seats on the floor where within 5 minutes, someone would show up with the tickets for those seats and we'd be bumped. After the third time, my friend put up a fuss and we ended up in the concierges' rest seats - uncomfy little things WAY up front. We were seated about 10 rows in front of Rob Reiner, at the very bottom of the bleachers - first row of them right next to the stage. It was like being in 3rd row off to the side with no one in front of you. I can't tell you what a difference it made in really being able to see Joni's every facial expression. I was grinning ear to ear the entire night.

I didn't really take in the Dylan show that night. We were too busy being moved around. Joni was much more confident and in better voice. Our seats were somewhat distracting because we were right next to the backstage gate, and there was always something going on, but I was transfixed. I was so damn happy the whole night. Part of it goes back to sequencing. It seemed I was more excited every night. You'd think once you saw it, it'd be the opposite, but I was anticipating the whole thing with more unbridled joy by the day. I think this is also true of who goes on last. The first night, people mostly sat through Van's show and went absolutely wild for Dylan. The second night, it was the opposite (though clearly there were more Dylan fans than not, so it wasn't in complete equal balance).

Another great thing about my perspective that night was that right in my line of view, behind and above Joni, was the silhouette of a spinner. By that, I mean one of those DeadHeads that spends most of a concert spinning. She was doing a lovely spin dance thru Joni's entire set, moving her arms eloquently to the music. She was dancing backlit in one of the entranceways, on an upper deck. It made a nice addition to my visuals, the only drawback of which was that I could only see a little bit of Brian. "Hejira" stands out as something particularly wonderful that night. I could have flown away during "Black Crow" - it was rocking, it was jazzy, it was flying. There was incredible energy in that groove.

Van just blew the roof off that night. He did "Summertime in England" (hi Rob), something I'd have never guessed as a possibility. I could have died right there and then a happy woman. Everything he did that night was totally inspired, with the band as inseparable from him as his shadow.

SATURDAY

Another good set of seats - 18th row from the BDTS. The show started off with Brian Kennedy singing "Sweet Thing" and another Van song I can't remember at the moment. As much as I loved him singing with Van, I didn't like hearing him cover Van songs. Even though he was with the same band, it sounded rather muzaky with him fronting the band. I think Van's growl serves to balance the beauty of the music with some rawness; and Kennedy can only offer up beauty (I should be so lucky to sing like that!).

Van did "Cypress Avenue" and "No Guru, No Method, No Teacher" that night, practically sending me through the clouds.

Then Joni, with ever-increasing confidence. She seemed more and more comfortable by the night. The only thing that bummed me out that night was the Orange County conservative vibe. The security guards were prowling like Nazi's, getting after everyone who dared step more than a foot into the aisles. Their presence was so incredibly noticeable - it was distracting. That didn't stop me from digging Joni, though. It was a bit anticlimactic to get cut short and deprived of "Moon at the Window". I love her guitar playing on that. I had never really paid much attention to that song until it showed up on a tape tree and I caught on to the wonderful swing of the guitar part. That swing had been very much a part of the way she'd played it in the previous shows.

"Woodstock" - the encore. Well, I have to admit that I've never cared for Joni's version (how many faux pas does that make now? ;->). I was so familiar with CSN's by the time that I heard Joni's years later, it was just too mellow for me. But there was something very poignant and non-retro about her closing with this song. It seems like we could still take some of that message to heart - it is not dated to say we still need to find our way "back to the garden". Her exquisite guitar playing with the VG-8 made this song refreshing and new.

Joni was followed by what I thought was by far the best Bob show of the three nights. The set was a little more varied, and there was just something about his energy that was right that night. I'm still jealous that I didn't get to see him do "Senor". I've only seen him do that song twice - once in '78 and once in the mid-80s with the Dead, which was embarrassingly bad. I heard he did that in Vancouver or at the Gorge. For whoever asked about celebrities - I saw Ron Howard and Woody Harrelson sitting with each other in section 103 near the front. Not far away was Wally B and a couple rows from him, Steve D.

All said and done, I wish I had had the time and money to go to every show. I know I would have had a great time seeing all the west coast along with some of the most memorable musical moments of my life (how's that for alliteration?).

many more thoughts about other things after i catch up...

barbara ---

(From: Bobbie Gavit, asst06@email.mot.com)-My sister and I have always had a pact that if Joni ever toured we would fly or drive to get there- this being no simple task as she resides in Minneapolis and I in Phoenix. But as a result of your incredible website-I found out about ArrowHead Pond and called my sister and said-"Well, remember the pact about Joni?" She nervously said "Yes" I said "Well Book your flight to Phoenix!" We played Joni cassettes all the way to L.A. from Phoenix!

We had great seats. We however never took the binoculars from our eyes the entire set which was way too short. I loved Van and was impressed with Bob-But Joni moved me as she always has to my core. She sings from her heart about the heart and I felt tingles for an hour and 15 min straight. My dream came true, my sisters dream came true thanks to Joni's tour and your website.....ahhh the memories : )


First Set: Van Morrison
Second Set: Joni Mitchell
Third Set: Bob Dylan

JMDL Member Comments

STEVE: from the console of ken corral he wrote:

JM rode SIMPLICITY to a photo finish in L.A., leaving Thrusday and Saturday night fans to figure out for themselves which one won by a nose, the RED or the GOLD:

After Van the Man's raggedy-andy set Thursday at Pauly, Our Lady provided a whiff of elegance as she sauntered on in a long, Carmine red two piece silk number. the mood was updated Victorian, or (forgive us) Titanic-simplified, with a gorgeous, complex pattern shot through the fabric with what appeared, at our distance, to be matching beads. the long sleeved jacket was worn open over a simple black shell; the skirt was matching, straight line, and ankle-length.

couldn't see the shoes (dammit).

Saturday at the Pond was solid gold glamour. imagine a car coat for helen of troy. a long, full, heavy satin number, curiously and geometrically cut. finger-tip length; long sleeves with cuffs. matching blouse underneath. the whole effect was very full, deep, angular, rich, and swirly. like some curtains by caravaggio. the skirt--oh my yes. my binoculars were, i think, trying to tell me dark gold and black narrow horizontal stripes on a stretch fabric. ankle length. and tight enough to see her knees wiggling delightfully all evening long. natural leather high-heeled sandals.

the tresses? ultra-simple, classic, parted-in-the-middle, straight, shoulder-length golden-blond joni. the face you dream about. simple little quarter size gold earrings.

there were no hammers, boards, and nails in sight, but on both nights i thought i detected a little sea foam around her ankles.


KAKKI: The hoarseness set in after Thursday night and I was on one-tenth vocal strength by the time it was all over. (Out of practice cheering for Joni live after all these years). There was much appreciation and reverence for her from the audience each night and I swear I heard Phyliss personally shouting out "We love you Joni" from clear across the arena Friday night.

I was one of several of the group who attended all three nights and each was magical to me. I'm utterly exhausted but shot through with endorphins. It has been such a high. So many on the list who have seen the concerts have echoed my thoughts. She looked beautiful (I loved her outfits each night) and performed exquisitely despite an apparent cold or allergy. We marveled how she could suppress her sneezes until after a song was finished!

Each night she had a little zinger for the critics, saying things to the effect of "you can always recognize lawyers and critics in the crowd", a reference to the "literatti", and "here is some of my older, obscure material, quote, unquote". To me, her choice of material served her voice and sound perfectly well and made the overall performance seem just entrancing.

The song that got to me the most each night was "Slouching Toward Bethlehem." Joni's bookends, Van and Dylan, just added to the magical quality of the whole event. It really did feel like a once in a lifetime experience. It's going to take a long time for it all to sink in.

Joni had the nicest stuff at the concession stands. The lithos of the Taming the Tiger and Turbulent Indigo covers are gorgeous and even the T-shirts are like little works of art. Yes, several of us happily increased our Joni debt!

On Friday night there were large, legal-type notices posted at the entrances saying that Joni's performance that night was being filmed for a production called "The Joni Mitchell Project". This seemed to be a type of blanket notice where, by entering, one would be giving permission to be included in crowd shots, etc. during the filming. Can't wait to know more details about this project.

In addition to the three nights of Joni, I had "all Joni all the time" (and a little equal time for Van) in my house from my houseguests, Bill, Marsha, Susan, Paul and Mariana. They played guitars, tape trees and the Pittsburgh Jonifest video and audio tapes almost non-stop for four days. We even had my Van fan friend Paul singing Joni lyrics by the end of the weekend. I must tell you that our Mariana has the most beautiful and pure singing voice and is very accomplished on the guitar. We made an audio tape of her for posterity (it is slightly marred by my rendition of Dylan does "I Don't Know Where I Stand"!) It was wonderful to meet and party with so many of the group at the dinners and the Bel Air. Everyone was a sweetheart out here at Camp Joni West.


BARBEARUH: Another good set of seats - 18th row from the BDTS. The show started off with Brian Kennedy singing "Sweet Thing" and another Van song I can't remember at the moment. As much as I loved him singing with Van, I didn't like hearing him cover Van songs. Even though he was with the same band, it sounded rather muzaky with him fronting the band. I think Van's growl serves to balance the beauty of the music with some rawness; and Kennedy can only offer up beauty (I should be so lucky to sing like that!).

Van did "Cypress Avenue" and "No Guru, No Method, No Teacher" that night, practically sending me through the clouds.

Then Joni, with ever-increasing confidence. She seemed more and more comfortable by the night. The only thing that bummed me out that night was the Orange County conservative vibe. The security guards were prowling like Nazi's, getting after everyone who dared step more than a foot into the aisles. Their presence was so incredibly noticeable - it was distracting. That didn't stop me from digging Joni, though. It was a bit anticlimactic to get cut short and deprived of "Moon at the Window". I love her guitar playing on that. I had never really paid much attention to that song until it showed up on a tape tree and I caught on to the wonderful swing of the guitar part. That swing had been very much a part of the way she'd played it in the previous shows.

"Woodstock" - the encore. Well, I have to admit that I've never cared for Joni's version (how many faux pas does that make now? ;->). I was so familiar with CSN's by the time that I heard Joni's years later, it was just too mellow for me. But there was something very poignant and non-retro about her closing with this song. It seems like we could still take some of that message to heart - it is not dated to say we still need to find our way "back to the garden". Her exquisite guitar playing with the VG-8 made this song refreshing and new.

Joni was followed by what I thought was by far the best Bob show of the three nights. The set was a little more varied, and there was just something about his energy that was right that night. I'm still jealous that I didn't get to see him do "Senor". I've only seen him do that song twice - once in '78 and once in the mid-80s with the Dead, which was embarrassingly bad. I heard he did that in Vancouver or at the Gorge. For whoever asked about celebrities - I saw Ron Howard and Woody Harrelson sitting with each other in section 103 near the front. Not far away was Wally B and a couple rows from him, Steve D.

All said and done, I wish I had had the time and money to go to every show. I know I would have had a great time seeing all the west coast along with some of the most memorable musical moments of my life (how's that for alliteration?).


KAREN: I feel compelled to add my 3 cents (wow, I can't find the symbol for cents!), don't mind me while I sit and free associate. I see the $, the %, the &, *, @, !, (, ), but no c with a slash through it. Hmmm. The first thing I did after arriving safely at my cheesy little motel room (with the arena visible from there) was to walk over to the Pond. I was hoping to get some merchandise pre-concert. When I arrived about 3:00 the vendors were just unloading the merchandise, hadn't counted it, etc. With a little begging, alot of smiling and about an hour wait, I was able to purchase two (one of each) of the nine signed lithos the vendors had. I didn't want to take any chances that joni wouldn't have a chance to sign more lithos before the show, though she apparantly did. While there, I followed a guy, with his knowledge and not caring, into the arena through the crew door, hoping to see joni's sound check. I had heard Dylan's from outside the arena while waiting for the vendors to check their stuff in. So I hung out a bit, watched them change the stage, saw Brian Blade strolling around on the floor. I had to decide, did I want to stick around and maybe catch the sound check or go have dinner with some joni friends. I knew I'd see joni on stage in a few hours and I wanted to meet some folks, and fine folks they are. There was too much to say and too little time, so the people I really got to spend some time talking to were Steve and Michelle Dulson, JimBob's (sp?) soon to be wife, Elizabeth (she loves joni, she's just crazily busy and so doesn't post), Winfried, Barbara and Duane. Barbara and friend transported me to the arena. Personally, I found Van Morrison's horn section overwhelming and I couldn't help but think..."if that's what makes a song rock, well I'll take joni's guitar anyday". He also sang his songs in a rather uniform way, while joni will improvise, changing her vocal range, the pacing , the lyrics. Also, joni *has fun* on stage. She smiles alot, her rapport with the audience is fun, it's more of an interaction than a show. Even when she sings to the audience there's an emotional sharing that I feel truly exudes from her. She seems to take real pleasure in performing and appreciates the applause she receives. I was annoyed that Dylan got the lion's share of applause, then Morrison. It's that feeling again, of just wanting it to be joni's show so all of the fans are there for *her*. At least a fair number of people enjoyed and appreciated joni's music, even if she wasn't their first reason for being there. I talked to a woman in front of me, after the set, who was there to see joni and she, too, was glued to her binoculars throughout the set. Joni just glowed in her yellow-gold dress and jacket. It was hard to tell exactly what the ensemble was made up of, and what the fabric was, but it was a long dress or skirt, and I would need Ralph Lauren's people to come up with the appropriate name for the color of her outfit. But, it was gorgeous on her, the color was made for her. The impression I am left with after sitting there watching almost every move and gesture through my binoculars was just being there, seeing joni live. It was more her presence, her hands across her guitar, her face and hair, her voice, caught in individual moments for me. Her voice was strong and clear, no question. She did not use a high register much at all but she could send her voice! She was very soulful..... I was thrilled to see her sing Slouching Toward Bethlehem and Harry's House, two songs I never thought I'd see live. With all the video material and the other 2 concerts, I've seen her do a wide range of things so those 2 were special for me. She amused me before she sang Happiness is the Best Facelift, saying something like "You seem like a nice bunch of people, I bet you wouldn't mind if I sang something new from my upcoming album." By way of explaining her wish to do a more sophisticated set of music, she talked about Mozart and his fall from grace (I guess after he made some changes in his compositions?)... I couldn't quite catch it all or understand, maybe someone else can better explain this This night there was no intro to the Magdelane Laundries. I haven't read anything about this show so I hope I'm not being repetitive. Yours in jonispirit.


JILL: A few notes from my experience last Saturday.

Dinner at the Catch:
Many thanks to Steve Dulson who really put together a terrific pre-concert gathering at "The Catch". It really turned out to be the perfect setting and location for this event. It was so much fun meeting some of the JMDL group and what a wonderful, friendly and fun group of people you are. My only complaint is that we should have started at noon so there was time to really meet and talk with everyone. I spent most of my time with Patrick (Julie Webb is right, he is a cutie) and Ken C. and his partner Steve who were the nicest and best looking couple in the joint. Got to briefly meet Bev, Pearl, Barbara, Kakki and Marsha. I wanted to meet up with everyone at the post-concert event but I got out-voted by the rest of my family who were anxious to get home to sleep.

The Good:
Joni was gorgeous, relaxed,soulful and chatty. I'm always amazed at how she moves on stage and how graceful her hands are on that guitar. She is truly the most elegant person I have ever seen or heard. I love that she talks to the audience and introduces each song. She introduced "Facelift" by saying that "no matter how old you are, a Mother is a Mother is a Mother" which cracked me up. I thought that "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" was beyond amazing and for me was the most wonderful surprise of her set list. It seemed impossible that only 4 people were making those incredible sounds--stunning, stunning, stunning. Amelia still makes you weep with its beautiful sad honesty and I was so grateful to hear it live again after 19 years. I also have to agree with those who have mentioned loving the live version of "Sex Kills" I had seen her perform this so many times on TV and on the video trees that I really was not looking forward to seeing her perform it again. It was FANTASTIC and I have a new appreciation for this song.

Brian Blade - amazing to watch

Larry Klein - I gained a much stronger appreciation for his abilities

Bringing my friend Lisa to see Joni live for the first time and seeing how moved she was by the whole experience.

The Bad:
I didn't like sharing Joni with other performers. I love Van Morrison, I appreciate Dylan but 70 minutes with Joni is not long enough for me.

I hate large venues and it's not where Joni belongs. This was my first experience seeing Joni in a large venue and I hope it is the last time. She's much too intimate a performer.

The sound was muddy, muddy, muddy (was it just from our seats?).

The people in front of us and behind us talked all throughout her performance. This, even after we asked them nicely to please be quiet and we had already informed them before Joni came on stage that she was the reason we had come that night.

The guy behind me who kept talking about her "auto-biography" and quoting misinformation from the Hinton book.

The Ugly:
Joni being told to cut her set short because they were running late. This was unforgivable and I'm still in shock that it happened.


SALLY: This is my first post. Yea, I'm into Joni like you. I was at the Pond on Saturday night to see Van, Joni, and What's-his-name. Saw Joni in the late 70's at the Universal Amphitheater, and in the early 80's (at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, if memory serves me.) And yes, Ms. Mitchell was a wonderment. "Black Crow" rocked with the passion of 20 year old. (And damn, she's got such great cheekbones. Kind of like a blonde prototype for "Xena, Warrior Princess.") But equally memorable was Van Morrison singing with so much feeling about a "beautiful vision," just after the Irish people had ratified the peace accord. All this aside, I have a question. Is live performance an artistic creation or a live variation of a recorded event? And if we believe it is artistic creation, then is large venue presentation a valid forum for artists like Joni? The sound system in large arenas is often inadequate, and the atmosphere more like a trade show than an experience guided by artistic vision/expression. Maybe in our desperation to see/hear anything from Joni's graced instrument, we have sold ourselves, and her, short. Just wondering.


MARIANA: I was only going to 5/21, but Marsha kiwi madwoman 20/20 kidnapped me and made me go to 5/23 show. I enjoyed it anyway, even though I was there COMPLTELY against my will. But I'll post a review anyway, since I was there. Joni seemed much happier on 5/23. Her voice made little leaps during NRH that it lacked on 5/21. She was wearing a lovely golden outfit which I couldn't see as well because I lacked binocs. The bastards cut her off a song, probably because Van ran long. I sat in front of this nice hippie gent who told me lots about Dylan. Didn't stay for Dylan though, since I was dead tired. Here's my song by song analysis of Joni's set:

Night Ride Home: The opener couldn't have been more appropriate. Joni certainly summed up the night with this song. She had more fun with it on 5/23. It was a better venue, I think. She even said at one point, "You guys are great." No Joni, YOU'RE great.

Crazy Cries of Love: I began crying during this song. The next day when Griffin was being a bastard, I wrote "No one else can hear the crazy cries of love" about twenty times in my notebook.

Harry's House: Joni said this song was based on "The Diary of a Mad Housewife". I must see that movie now.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem: I love the way Joni's voice sounds on this. Especially on the "ayyyyyyyyy" parts. It's better than on the record I think.

Just Like This Train: I didn't recognize the intro until Marsha pointed it out. Joni really likes the line "watching your hairline recede my vain darling" because she really has fun with it.

Black Crow: The lights turned red on this one. It sounds fabulous, even though she doesn't hit those high notes anymore. She changed the lyrics from "in search of love and music" to "in search of truth and beauty". Maybe Joni's in a different place than she was in 76, so she sees that her life really wasn't in search of "love and music" bu "truth and beauty". Just a guess.

Amelia: Now this is a tear-jerker. I'm so happy she played it. Joni told a little story about Mozart's "Fall from Grace" on 5/23. She said that after the fall, he wrote this wonderful piece of music that was beautiful but no one paid enough attention to listen to it. She was making an analogy to her music. Those of us who do take the time to listen are richly rewarded.

Hejira: 'There's comfort in melancholy...when there's no need to explain..." The more I listen to this song, the more I like it. It, like Slouching, is best live. It needs a breathing emotion to provide the full message of the song.

Big Yellow Taxi: Isn't the song so much fun? Joni's imitation of Dylan is a riot. 'a big yellow tractor came and pushed around mah house...pushed around my laaaaaand....."

Happiness is the Best Facelift: It's what Joni calls her "morbid christmas song". It's really not that morbid. After all, if happiness isn't the best facelift, what is?

Sex Kills: Joni told her "Just Ice" story both times. I love this song live. It's really powerful.

The Magdelaine Laundries: She told a funny story about an Irish woman in an irish accent on 5/21 which she didn't on 5/23 because those bastards told her she was out of time.

Moon at the Window: The jazzy feeling of this song resonated live. I don't really listen to Wild Things, but I'll have to start now.

Encore: Woodstock
We are staaaaardust
We are goooollllden
And we've got to get ourselves
closer to Joan

Great to meet everyone (kakki, marsha, duane, susan kakki's friend, winfried, steve, wally, les, barbearuh,patrick, bill, pearl, phylis, ken, and the many many many others!)


PATRICK: The show was wonderful. I made myself ill watching her through shaky binoculars for minutes at a time. I thought her performances of Happiness and Magdalene were outstanding and perfect. Through much of Sex Kills I watched Brian Blade. I have not read many comments about him so far. His performace on Sex Kills was fantastic. His percussion has a roll to it that is hard to describe in words. Like a wave before it crashes, undulating overall sound.

It shows us again that Joni never compromises, she only puts forth 100% effort or none at all.


LINDSAY: Let me begin this kind of long story by saying that I really enjoyed being at the Pond pre-show gathering on May 23 and, of course, at the concert. My God, I was in tears through half of it. It just meant so much to me to have her voice coursing through me live. Funny, her outfit to me looked to be what I would call a pale lime green, not gold. This from the vantage point of completely across the stadium through binoculars. Whatever, it was just stunning on her. She is a true arbiter of fashion and music. Thanks, too, to Steve Dulson for organizing the pre-show dinner at The Catch. Yes, I know I still owe you $3 for the shuttle. I had hoped to give it to you after the show but didn't see you. All her songs sounded just wonderful to me, although I was not that thrilled with "Slouching..." To me, it lacked the, what would you call it?, counterpoint? of the bass for drama. Maybe I'm just too used to the recorded version. I love her updated version of "Big Yellow Taxi." It almost has some more minor elements now in the guitar tuning, I think. I love it. I liked her story about when she listened to a radio program that played one of Mozart's well-known rondelos (I think that's what she called it -- David Wright at Oberlin, can you help me?) The radio announcer, a woman, then introduced the next Mozart selection by saying it was one of his more "obscure and difficult" pieces and Joni just loved it and thought it was a beautiful piece. She went on to say she had chosen some of her more "obscure and diffucult" pieces for this set encouraging the audience to give them a chance, I think. Is it annoying to anyone else (rhetorical question) that she has to keep explaining things to a general audience? "Land of snap decisions, land of short attention spans. Nothing is savored long enough to really understand." It so annoys me. But, then there is this wonderful web community that is more than willing to give her free reign of artistic expression. Bring it on, Joni!! It was a shame to see her in such a large venue and sharing the spotlight with Van and Bob. But, of the three, hers were the only words I could understand. The other two were a jumble to me (well, except for "Mr. Van Morrisson!" 200 times in a row...) Sorry to Bob fans, but I had to leave after the second song (and I waited until the end out of respect for Bob fans). The out-of-tune singing and nasal twangs that were almost parodies of himself were too much for me.

So here's my story about after I left. (I can see Joni working this into a song ...) The shuttle back to the restaurant wasn't due to leave for a half hour. I was milling around when a tall, thin man I'd say in his 50s and balding came up to me smoking a cigarette and asked which performer I'd thought was the best. I said I'd really only come to see Joni and he agreed that Joni was the best. He then said he was with Shawn Colvin's tour and pointed out a backstage pass around his neck (and there was a Van pass there, except why was he wearing the Shawn badge on this tour?) and that Shawn had dedicated part of her album to Joni. Yes, I said, that's because Joni's ex ... and before I could finish the sentence he said, "Yeah, Larry produced it." He said, "You know the song "Coyote"? I'm Coyote." (Uh-huh, I thought. I thought of the recent list discussion about the identity of Coyote and somehow I didn't think he was it.) He did show me two pictures out of his wallet saying this is what he did for real, and it was pictures of some kind of horses pulling carts. ("... you're up early on your ranch," "brushing out a brood mare's tail") Naaaaaah.

Then he said he'd known Joni since 1957 (I didn't notice any Canadian accent) and told of a time they had made a date to go skiing, he'd chased all over the ski slopes and never found her and finally saw her as her parents and she were loading all their stuff into their car. They'd run up to each other, embraced, and had what he thought was probably both their first kisses. (Yep, sure.) The next story he told was of finding her broken down on the road to Las Vegas in her black Mercedes. I think he mentioned her performing there (I'm not seeing Joni performing in Las Vegas...) Then he said he'd stayed with her in Malibu when she stayed there living with Neil Young. (Never heard of her living with Neil Young, unless he meant it as a house-guest type of thing). Then he went on to say that she'd then taken off and driven cross-country and that's what the album "Hejira" came from. Notice how there's no piano? he said. That's because there wasn't a piano in the car. (Right, gotcha.)

He then started veering off into physics, talking about a molecule split apart can be separated, but the two halves will always have the same energy. Then he wound over to Deepak Chopra (sp?) and how his book talks about healing, blah, blah. He then said something I can't recall about if I ever find a book by somebody or other, something like "The Healing," to get it. And left by saying: The healing is coming. This was all a non-stop story from him. The whole thing seems pretty fishy to me. Just thought I'd throw it out there for your amusement. Maybe Wally has some other take on him if he knows who I'm talking about.


JIMBO: i want so much to write a long review of the brilliant weekend in la. i've been sending a few privates, both to people who were there and who were not. one fragment ready for prime time...

you've heard about the incident on saturday when a techie told joni, center stage in the middle of her set, to cut it short. appalling. we lost 'moon at the window' and some of her fabulous chat (including a great irish accent in the intro to 'magdaleine laundries') but...

cue fragment

"especially after sharing that last set (which i feel was the finest of the three, despite the Pondscum). i mean, i think that laundries and woodstock were absolutely devastating on saturday, even after that crappy moment. each so musically and emotionally advanced. she's just remarkable, with ocean-deep reserves of artistry even after knee-deep bullshit. i wish she could really believe it of herself."


THE KINGPIN:
House lights down.
Blonde hair.
Crimson dress.
Brown guitar.

The first 6 notes of "Night Ride Home" chime through Pauley Pavilion "and so, with a touch of her fingers/Oh, she could make our circuitry explode."

I didn't travel from Kentucky to California to worry about the audience or the critics; I came to hear Joni play live. Through three nights, my anticipation never waned, even though I knew the setlist in advance. For me, each performance of each song is unique and in its moment. The fact that Joni customized the introductions each evening without repetition highlighted that point even more.

Joni's song selection was astute. I'm glad she tried to please herself since this ardent admirer would rather see her pick challenging or more obscure numbers. I've seen Neil Young many times and dread "Heart of Gold" and "The Needle and the Damage Done". Been there, done that, Neil. Do "Opera Star" or "For the Turnstiles", please.

I agreed with Julius as we discussed that the three Hejira tracks, "Black Crow", "Amelia" and "Hejira" formed the thematic nucleus of the show. "Black Crow" and "Sex Kills" shot into the stratosphere propelled not only by Brian Blade's sublime efforts but also Greg L.'s tasty, driving pedal steel playing. These two songs simply rocked in elegant fashion. At Anaheim, my seat afforded me a view of Blade's backlit drumkit during "Black Crow" and I found my hack-drumming self watching his FEET work the high-hat and bass drum for most of the song. Yikes!

Is it any wonder that "Amelia" and "Hejira" are road songs that should be performed live, on the road, that is? These songs connote motion and Joni rendered them with genuine emotional gusto. Anyone unmoved by this pair would have had to have been taking a restroom break.

"Harry's House" was delivered so earnestly that even this track gathered new meaning. Joni seemed so deliberate in its presentation. My favorite new track was "Happiness is the Best Facelift" which I had not heard until these performances. It has a fine guitar part and nice melody.

The highlight was "Slouching Toward Bethlehem" which was beautiful and poignant. We were so fortunate Joni chose to bring this to life. The band lifted this to its potential. On Thursday after this song, I spontaneously jumped to a standing ovation and suddenly fearing I blocked Barbara and Patrick, turned to find them joining me, of course!

While I found "Big Yellow Taxi" amiable, it seemed perfunctory and obligatory. "Woodstock" too, seemed labored and offered no new interpretations. If Joni tours, it would be nice to see her save her solo spots for piano songs. I found the sound to be more than adequate every night, even in the capacious Pond. Van and Dylan were excellent appetizers and dessert. The entree was worth every sacrifice made to be there three nights in a row. Rather than take up bandwidth sounding like an acceptance speech, let me thank everyone who helped me there with tickets, rides, photos, CD's, tapes, dinner arrangements, etc. It was so fun seeing old and meeting new JMDL'ers.

As Phil and I exited Friday, two youngsters spotted our JMDL T-shirts and said, "Wasn't Joni rad, dudes?". With that comment, I realized two things. One, I was in southern California. Two, there is indeed a younger generation that can discover what we, on the list, have known for years: Joni is indeed a treasure. In fact, SIQUOMB.


WINFRIED:
I just came into my apartment, after having arrived at Hamburg airport yesterday, staying (i.e.: sleeping) at my parents' place for one night and somehow being driven in my car via the Autobahn from Hamburg to Goettingen, where I guess I live. I can't have driven myself, I'm still too f...g tired! The jetlag sucks! I've already had two espressos and still no effect!!!

Well, just wanted to let you know how great it was to meet some of you people in person. I wish the circumstances could have been a bit more favorable for mingling and chatting. It was awfully nice of some of you people to come up to my place and say hi during the concert break. Mariana, your picture survived the intercontinental trip, including a severe thunderstorm above New York state that tossed our plane around as if it was a punchingball. As soon as I'm able to conclude purchase contracts again, I'll find a frame for it. I've had a wonderful week, and the Anaheim concert was the beginning of it.


JIMBO:
It was wonderful to meet you all at The Catch Saturday. Thanks to Steve for organizing. Thanks also to MGV for the t-shirts (I still have two extra). The show was wonderful. I made myself ill watching her through shaky binoculars for minutes at a time. I thought her performances of Happiness and Magdalene were outstanding and perfect. Through much of Sex Kills I watched Brian Blade. I have not read many comments about him so far. His performace on Sex Kills was fantastic. His percussion has a roll to it that is hard to describe in words. Like a wave before it crashes, undulating overall sound. It shows us again that Joni never compromises, she only puts forth 100% effort or none at all.


DUANE:
I'm thinking that I'm doing California pretty well by now. Saturday morning I left for a trip through Topanga Canyon, recommended to me by Mary Ann. I head through the canyon on a grande skim latte and a bagel I picked up at a Starbucks in Brentwood. Serendipitously, the Topanga Canyon Country Fair had opened that morning, so I parked and made my way up the hill blending in with the locals. As I approached the fairgrounds, "Big Yellow Taxi" was being hacked to death by a local band. Children were dancing in animal make-up, and a rainbow of flags waived truce against the sun. I like the nature stuff mixed with craftsmanship, crystal formations made into stain-glass style windows, well turned pottery with that naive look about it, freshly prepared foods. So I bought a large piece of malachite and a guy made me a belt with a hand- hammered silver buckle while I walked around the small fair. It was getting near high-noon, so after the swordfish tacos I headed back to LA.

Admittedly, I am somewhat nervous about this evenings gathering. I'm not good in a crowd, especially a crowd of strangers! I don't do the corporate thing anymore, or anything organized for that matter, because there's something so impersonal about it to me. I intentionally failed to bring any information regarding the gatherings and would have been lost if it wasn't for our gracious LA hostess Kakki. She gave me the name of the restaurant, the name of the road and the time the night before in bed. I was aware that the weekend was half over. By the time I got back and took a shower. My scalp hurt from an unexpected sunburn from driving the convertible, but it was a GOOD pain, and I was lovin' California. A little lemon juice rinse, and I'm outta here. Again, pulling out of the drive, the scent from the wildflowers. (where back east we get the smell of freshly cut grass).

I nervously head to Anaheim, with a hit or miss attitude about making it to the dinner, but I'm giving myself extra time just in case I get lost, cause, deep down, I really want to be there. So, after circling round Anaheim a bit, I call the restaurant to get directions. It is good to meet up with Steve, Ken and Steve again. I observe Winfried at the other end of the table with Barbara. I catch Clark's eye. Who is he? Then Kakki, Marsha and Bob come in. Phyliss was wonderful. I'm still nervous. Oh yeah, and Jimbo, who I wanted to meet for a while, and took me aback by his look in person. It was the long hair, all charming and nice telling me about his marriage and honeymoon plans and his relocation to the beautiful state of Maine. Brrrrrrrr. Steve is a gracious host. Just a sweet nice, straight guy.

I decide to drive, instead of shuttle. Jim and Elizabeth come with me. Deep Forest on the radio. We're off to see Joni! It's Steve, Ken, Marsha, Kakki, Me, Linda, Patrick and Bob all in a row. The thing is, even though we have equal enthusiasm, we're all experiencing and absorbing Joni in our own personal way. It's just great. The show is great, from a sober perspective too. Even though people were offended by the short set, Joni was right on top of her performance. This was a different audience than UCLA. It was more "organized". She did a real nice job on everything.

Bob and I decide to leave immediately after the set. Back to the Catch for a beer, and to meet up again with the very talented Ken Corral, Steve, Patrick, Marsha, Kakki, Marilune. Bob wants a ride back to LA, but little does he know what he's in for. I had a copy of the radio program given to me by the generous Kenny Grant, which Bob had not yet heard. I cued it up to the beginning of Harlem in Havana. We listened. I knew one time through wouldn't be enough, so I offered him my copy. Bob is very good natured, and I like that about him most of all. And thank God he is, because damn if I didn't get us lost! I swear that I have a real keen sense of direction from landmarks. In NYC the lights of buildings are left on at night, in LA it just isn't so. We laughed. I was like Forrest Gump behind the wheel. After 5 stops at gas stations, and about 5 stops of cars passing by, it became a comedy of errors. I apologized upon his hour late delivery.

Delirious from Joni and sun exposure, I hit the hay with a smile. I didn't realize that Ken Corral was the artist behind the threesome graphic used on the homepage. Brilliant.


PATRICK:
i want so much to write a long review of the brilliant weekend in la. i've been sending a few privates, both to people who were there and who were not. one fragment ready for prime time...

you've heard about the incident on saturday when a techie told joni, center stage in the middle of her set, to cut it short. appalling. we lost 'moon at the window' and some of her fabulous chat (including a great irish accent in the intro to 'magdaleine laundries') but...

cue fragment

"especially after sharing that last set (which i feel was the finest of the three, despite the Pondscum). i mean, i think that laundries and woodstock were absolutely devastating on saturday, even after that crappy moment. each so musically and emotionally advanced. she's just remarkable, with ocean-deep reserves of artistry even after knee-deep bullshit. i wish she could really believe it of herself."


MARIANA:
I was only going to 5/21, but Marsha kiwi madwoman 20/20 kidnapped me and made me go to 5/23 show. I enjoyed it anyway, even though I was there COMPLETELY against my will. But I'll post a review anyway, since I was there. Joni seemed much happier on 5/23. Her voice made little leaps during NRH that it lacked on 5/21. She was wearing a lovely golden outfit which I couldn't see as well because I lacked binocs. The bastards cut her off a song, probably because Van ran long. I sat in front of this nice hippie gent who told me lots about Dylan. Didn't stay for Dylan though, since I was dead tired. Great to meet everyone!


LINDSAY:
Let me begin this kind of long story by saying that I really enjoyed being at the Pond pre-show gathering on May 23 and, of course, at the concert. My God, I was in tears through half of it. It just meant so much to me to have her voice coursing through me live. Funny, her outfit to me looked to be what I would call a pale lime green, not gold. This from the vantage point of completely across the stadium through binoculars. Whatever, it was just stunning on her. She is a true arbiter of fashion and music. Thanks, too, to Steve Dulson for organizing the pre-show dinner at The Catch. Yes, I know I still owe you $3 for the shuttle. I had hoped to give it to you after the show but didn't see you. All her songs sounded just wonderful to me, although I was not that thrilled with "Slouching..." To me, it lacked the, what would you call it?, counterpoint? of the bass for drama. Maybe I'm just too used to the recorded version. I love her updated version of "Big Yellow Taxi." It almost has some more minor elements now in the guitar tuning, I think. I love it. I liked her story about when she listened to a radio program that played one of Mozart's well-known rondelos (I think that's what she called it -- David Wright at Oberlin, can you help me?) The radio announcer, a woman, then introduced the next Mozart selection by saying it was one of his more "obscure and difficult" pieces and Joni just loved it and thought it was a beautiful piece. She went on to say she had chosen some of her more "obscure and diffucult" pieces for this set encouraging the audience to give them a chance, I think. Is it annoying to anyone else (rhetorical question) that she has to keep explaining things to a general audience? "Land of snap decisions, land of short attention spans. Nothing is savored long enough to really understand." It so annoys me. But, then there is this wonderful web community that is more than willing to give her free reign of artistic expression. Bring it on, Joni!! It was a shame to see her in such a large venue and sharing the spotlight with Van and Bob. But, of the three, hers were the only words I could understand. The other two were a jumble to me (well, except for "Mr. Van Morrisson!" 200 times in a row...) Sorry to Bob fans, but I had to leave after the second song (and I waited until the end out of respect for Bob fans). The out-of-tune singing and nasal twangs that were almost parodies of himself were too much for me.

So here's my story about after I left. (I can see Joni working this into a song ...) The shuttle back to the restaurant wasn't due to leave for a half hour. I was milling around when a tall, thin man I'd say in his 50s and balding came up to me smoking a cigarette and asked which performer I'd thought was the best. I said I'd really only come to see Joni and he agreed that Joni was the best. He then said he was with Shawn Colvin's tour and pointed out a backstage pass around his neck (and there was a Van pass there, except why was he wearing the Shawn badge on this tour?) and that Shawn had dedicated part of her album to Joni. Yes, I said, that's because Joni's ex ... and before I could finish the sentence he said, "Yeah, Larry produced it." He said, "You know the song "Coyote"? I'm Coyote." (Uh-huh, I thought. I thought of the recent list discussion about the identity of Coyote and somehow I didn't think he was it.) He did show me two pictures out of his wallet saying this is what he did for real, and it was pictures of some kind of horses pulling carts. ("... you're up early on your ranch," "brushing out a brood mare's tail") Naaaaaah.

Then he said he'd known Joni since 1957 (I didn't notice any Canadian accent) and told of a time they had made a date to go skiing, he'd chased all over the ski slopes and never found her and finally saw her as her parents and she were loading all their stuff into their car. They'd run up to each other, embraced, and had what he thought was probably both their first kisses. (Yep, sure.) The next story he told was of finding her broken down on the road to Las Vegas in her black Mercedes. I think he mentioned her performing there (I'm not seeing Joni performing in Las Vegas...) Then he said he'd stayed with her in Malibu when she stayed there living with Neil Young. (Never heard of her living with Neil Young, unless he meant it as a house-guest type of thing). Then he went on to say that she'd then taken off and driven cross-country and that's what the album "Hejira" came from. Notice how there's no piano? he said. That's because there wasn't a piano in the car. (Right, gotcha.)

He then started veering off into physics, talking about a molecule split apart can be separated, but the two halves will always have the same energy. Then he wound over to Deepak Chopra (sp?) and how his book talks about healing, blah, blah. He then said something I can't recall about if I ever find a book by somebody or other, something like "The Healing," to get it. And left by saying: The healing is coming. This was all a non-stop story from him. The whole thing seems pretty fishy to me. Just thought I'd throw it out there for your amusement. Maybe Wally has some other take on him if he knows who I'm talking about.

Hellos to all the great people I met: Kakki, Marcia, Jim, Winfried, Steve, Jimbo, Bob, Ken, Mariana, and everyone else. It was such a pleasure to meet everyone! See you at the Taming the Tiger shows (putting out good vibes here!)


MEDRIC: I'm back home to reality in Mississippi now. What a wonderful concert it was. Our seats were very near and slightly behind stage right. Had a very intimate view of the goings on behind the scenes. The sound was not that great for us because we were behind the speakers but you could really see and appreciate Joni's guitar playing. She seemed really relaxed and confident. She is quite a dresser. The setlist was similar to what she played at NO Jazzfest two years ago. "Slouching" was a surprise. It really happens live with accompanyment. To me her voice sounded more like it did ten years ago. Higher and stronger than the last two albums. She seemed very atuned to the persons in the audience who appreciate her music. I could swear that she tured to me and acknowledged my applause and wolf whistle at the end of Hejira as she blew her nose. A strange thing happpened. I haven't cried in years but I found myself choking back the tears during Amelia. My 62 year old aunt who was unfamiliar with her music kept turning to me and saying, "Isn't her music beautiful." During Dylan's concert she kept saying in her strong southern accent and loud voice, "Medric, what in the Kingdom is he saying?" I'm sure this delighted all the strong Dylan fans around us who kept talking during Joni's set. I'm really envious of those who had the pleasure attending the tapings and I look forward to seeing them on PPV.

Hope everyone made it home safely.