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My contact at Joni's managers office put me on the guestlist for two shows that Joni was scheduled to tape on Friday and Saturday evening in Burbank. Two days before the first show, I was contacted by Reprise Records and Eagle Rock Productions, the video production company filming the concerts. They asked me if I could distribute invitations to 10 "super-fans" and 50 "seat fillers" (or "sitters," as they called them) for each night. "No problem," I said.
After inviting a few Bay Area friends, I asked locals in the L.A. area I knew from the JM Internet Community. I also called the JMDL's Les Irvin in Colorado and asked him if he wanted to attend the shows (he came to Saturday's show). I then sent out an announcement to the JMDL and posted an alert on the JMHP news page; within 24 hours, all positions had been filled.
My companions and I arrived early at the Warner Brothers Studios parking garage on Friday (about 6PM) and found only a few other super-fans there. We were all given our Reprise VIP badges and escorted to a dimly lit room at Stage 22 a half hour or so later. The room was large with black walls, mostly empty except for occasional tall round tables (but no chairs) and a friendly bartender who served soft drinks, wine, beer and charm. Three small TV monitors showed a beautiful and colorful scene inside the studio. I mingled with the other guests as I headed toward the back of the room and toward the entrance to the studio. The entrance wound through a gallery section where 20 or more of Joni's paintings were displayed in glorious frames. The paintings for both the album Turbulent Indigo and her next album Taming the Tiger were among the paintings displayed.
The studio itself, which seated less than 200 people, was in the round and surrounded by even more of Joni's paintings, mounted above the seats in the top row. The seating area was full of couches, comfy chairs and pillows, with name tags plastered on some of the seats.
Celebrities seen in the audience on Friday were Graham Nash and Rosanna Arquette, who introduced Joni at the start of the taping.
Joni walked onstage to joyous applause at about 8:30PM, looking glamourous, and began her set with "Night Ride Home," as she had on her just completed tour with Dylan and Van Morrison. Her band again was made up of drummer Brian Blade, bass player Larry Klein and pedal steel guitar player Greg Liesz. Mark Isham joined the quartet for a few of the songs on trumpet, using a mute most of the time. Joni expanded her tour set by adding the songs "Love Puts on a New Face," "Refuge of the Roads," and "The 3 Great Stimulants." There was a short 10 minute break for a tape change on the cameras before Joni sang "(Happiness is the Best) Facelift."
After a second break for the encore, she sang 2 songs from her tour set and then surprised everyone with a song she'd heard on a tape given to her by her friend, Paul Starr. "Comes Love" is a song performed by Billie Holiday late in her career; Joni sang it from cue cards held up by a roadie who stood in the top row in front of her. During an instrumental segment of the song, she pulled her friend Charles Valentino (Val) out of the audience to dance a sexy dance which ended with a kiss. She just missed the first line of the next verse as she rushed back to the microphone. This bluesy chestnut was followed by a do-wop version of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" with back-up by Paul, Val and another of her friends, Chris Johnson, who were sitting in the front row of the audience. They were great. Joni ended her set with one of the songs she performed at this years benefit for Don Henley's Walden Woods Foundation, Marvin Gaye's classic "Trouble Man." When she returned to the stage for an encore and requests for "Song For Sharon" came from both sides of the audience, she played it.
The complete setlist for Friday was:
Night Ride Home
The Crazy Cries of Love
Love Puts on a New Face (1 false start, 1 almost complete version, then a complete..)
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Just Like This Train
Refuge of the Roads
The Magdalene Laundries
Moon at the Window (1 false start, then a complete..)
The 3 Great Stimulants
Big Yellow Taxi
Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (2 complete versions of...)
Song For Sharon
As the audience departed, I got lots of very special hugs from the Internet Community folks. We were wandering around the gallery area when Robbie Cavolina, Joni's art director, came along and rounded up some of the fans to take back to Joni's trailer.
As we stood outside the trailer, Joni came out and spoke to Leslie Mixon and some of the other fans, signing autographs and chatting. One of the people with us, pointing to me, said "I called out that request for 'Song For Sharon' because this guy wanted to hear it." Joni looked over and said "Oh, have we met?" Not sure if she was joking, I just said "Yeah, we met at the Gorge." Joni's eyes went wide and she said "Oh, Wally of the Web! I'm sorry. I'm just so dazzled by the show tonight, I didn't recognize you." She came and hugged me and I whispered "You were so wonderful tonight." She smiled and kissed me softly and sweetly on the lips. (Long pause here) Could a night have been more perfect?
Reports from the Internet Community
-(From: Leslie Mixon, firstname.lastname@example.org)-"NEXT TO MY WEDDING DAY, THIS IS THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE!"
On Friday night, I had the opportunity to say this directly to Joni, as my eyes welled up - I then said, "Thank you for all of the inspiration and the comfort."
I spent about ten minutes with Joni, showing her many of the photographs I've taken of her through the years. I also have a copy of the handbound book she gave as gifts in 1971. It is called, "Morning Glory On The Vine" and only 100 were made - I have 28/100 and it was inscribed "For Rick." Joni said, "Wow, you have one of the birthday books."
I asked Joni, "So, who's Rick?" She gave me a smile that said, "Gee, I don't remember." She then crossed out the inscription and wrote, "For Leslie" and signed it. As I was leaving to make way for the other fans I said, "Thanks for putting up with the music business to give us the music we need to hear, I know it's a pain in the ass." Joni said, "You're welcome."
I have to say that Joni was so gracious and understanding of this fervent fan.
To experience this following the nearly 3 hour performance was truly heaven on earth. In addition to seeing the paintings, and hearing Joni in such an intimate setting, experiencing the chemistry between Brian Blade, Larry Klein and Joni - it was such an honor to be so close to their presence. It was obvious that Joni was truly enjoying herself and feeling the love of the audience.
Joni also told an incredible story about knitting (trying to quit smoking)in an obscure Canadian fisherman's inn when a strange woman burst into her room...
I want to thank Steve Dulson, Jill Tamada, Phyllis Ward, Kakki, Ken Corral (and his friend Steve) and especially Wally, for this "pocket of heavenly grace." Please forgive me if I've forgotten anyone.
I cannot even believe that I was able to attend the concerts on Friday and Saturday nights -
It'll be great to convene again in Colorado - without the feverish pace - so we can take some time to get back to the garden.
Still on cloud 9,
(C. S. Blue, email@example.com)- Hi Wally:
My name is C. Steven Blue and I recently sent in a review of the Pauly Pavilion show on Friday night in Los Angeles. I also attended the Arrowhead Pond show and was able to obtain a signed Joni Mitchell lithograph there. I was so enthused after that show that I came back on your site to check up on the reviews and saw your concert opportunity alert. I was lucky enough to be one of the fortunate 50 invited to the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank for the Friday night show as a sitter.
I live in Los Angeles and work at N.B.C. studios in Burbank, so this was a fortunate opportunity for a die-hard Joni Mitchell fan like myself who lives close enough to the studio, although I found out later that folks traveled from all over California to attend this special intimate performance.
I arrived and was given a wrist band with the number 14 on it. I was told to wait for a shuttle to take me to the stage area where we would be watching the show on a video screen while awaiting to be seat fillers if there were guests who didn't show up or who left during the taping.
After being shuttled to stage 22 with some of the V.I.P.'s, I was told to go to stage 28 around the corner. But right in front of the stage entrance I saw about ten stagehands from my own union who all happened to be working on the show. I said, "Hey, couldn't you get me a V.I.P. pass to get in?" But it was not possible. So I said "Well look, I have brought this Joni Mitchell album with me (the original vinyl version of Hijera) on the off-hand chance that I might be able to get her to sign it for me. Do you think you could help me?" Just then Adam (one of the production people) walked by and my friends said "No, but he can help you." I explained my wish to him and he said he could pass it on to Joni's production people and maybe get it signed and then they would pass it back to him later. Unfortunately he could not get me to actually meet her. I said o.k., handed him the album and headed for stage 28.
I walked in to see several video screens and some plush couches for us to view the concert from. There was also a refreshment stand with soft drinks, water, coffee and treats. They treated us very well. A staff person directed me to the restrooms by stage 21, and on my way back I passed a trailer and saw Joni Mitchell inside preparing to go onstage with several people looking after her. What a thrill for me. I mean, I see stars at work and this kind of stuff all the time, but this was Joni Mitchell. This time it was special for me.
About 30 minutes before the show a staff person came in and announced that the people with numbers 1-10 on their wrists would now go to stage 22 to be seated. Then, about ten minutes before show time, they came and got the next five people (myself included). They took us to stage 21.
As we entered, there were Joni's actual paintings lining the entryway. I knew right then I was in for something special. Imagine being able to walk right up to the actual original paintings of Turbulant Indigo, Taming The Tiger, and other Joni Mitchell originals and look them over. I resolved to do just that if the time presented itself.
They ushered us in and a few seats were open on the plush couches and pillows, but those were being taken as we arrived. They asked us to fill in around the floor and I found a small spot to squat! Little did I realize that I was now in the best seat in the house. The stage was round with the audience all around it. A small and intimate setting. When Joni Mitchell came out I realized that I was in a direct front view her, just a little to her right. From that perspective I could see all of her guitar picking as well as all of her singing. I was about 20 feet from her for the entire performance. The camereman often perched himself right in front of me because it was an optimal viewing position.
She played for over an hour and ther there was a break. I headed straight for the paintings. After drinking them in for awhile and tingling with excitement both from her artwork and the performance I had just observed, I decided to try and find Adam and see if he had gotten my album signed. One of my stagehand buddies led me to him and he said he hadn't gotten it signed yet. He said he had heard that Joni might mingle with the audience after the show was over. So he suggested I take it, as I might have the opportunity myself to approach her. If I couldn't get it signed, he said I could leave it after the show and he would see what he could do.
I went back to my seat and found out that Joni had been signing autographs during the break while I was out looking at the paintings. Then... just before the performance was about to start back up, in came Joni. She was just standing in the aisle (Miles Of Aisles!!) waiting for instructions from the stage manager. I saw my chance. I walked up to her, album and marker in hand, and asked if she would sign it. She smiled and said, "Sure." She was so gracious. I said that I had been at two of the concerts and then thanked her. She said, "No. Thank you!" I told her that I never dreamed that I would ever be this close to her when she was actually playing at a concert. Then I added, "I want to also thank you Joni for the opportunity to see your artwork up close." Again she thanked me and I returned to my seat (in a numb state of total bliss). Everyone around me smiled, cheared and asked to see the album. I passed it around and then settled in for the rest of the show. I'm glad I took the chance because after the show she disappeared from the stage area and didn't mingle around (I later found out from your review, Wally, that fans were invited back to her trailer. I wish I had stayed around for that!!)
Her Billie Holiday number was definitely a highlight for me, as well as her dancing barefoot aroung the stage with her friend. But what a concert and what a night. I was in bliss for the rest of the weekend, and it still is lingering with me.
I can't wait for the video to come out. Thanks to you, Wally, for posting this opportunity on your web sight. It is an experience I'll not soon forget. As always, I remain a loyal Joni Mitchell fan, and now one with a dream come true.
C. Steven Blue.
(From: firstname.lastname@example.org)- Hi Wally! Here is the acoount of that amazing weekend that I've sent to some of my friends.
Last Wednesday, 5/24, I got a call from Wally Breese, who runs Joni's website - Joni would be taping a TV special in Burbank Friday and Saturday - he had ten passes for each night - which night did I want? Yow! I signed up for Friday, and got on the list for Saturday as a "seat-filler" or "sitter" (someone who fills a seat if an audience member leaves or goes to the bathroom, so the camera never sees an empty seat).
We walked onto the set through a gallery of about 25 of Joni's paintings, and some 20 more were hung around the set. She was introduced by Rosanna Arquette (I've had a MAJOR crush on her since Desperately Seeking Susan), and Graham Nash was one of the other guests. Joni did her tour set, mixed in with some additional stuff ("Refuge Of The Roads", "Love Has Many Faces", "Three Great Stimulants", "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", "Trouble Man" (Marvin Gaye) and "Comes Love" (Billie Holliday), 22 songs in all, including "Song For Sharon" as an audience requested encore. Same EXCELLENT band, plus Mark Isham from Van's band on trumpet.
Wow! And there's more...
Robbie Cavolina, Joni's art director (they shared a Grammy for the Turbulent Indigo package) knows a couple of the local Joni-listers. After the show he invited us all back to Joni's trailer...I was speechless...all I could do was hand her my "Hejira" CD to sign...I might have said "Thank you"...but I can't be sure. She was sweet, charming, friendly, happy, hugging people, kissing Wally Breese (on the lips!)...
After that, Robbie came back to a Joni-listers apartment, played us the new CD, and regaled us with Joni stories till I gave up at 3:30 am. Got to bed at 4:30, got up at 7:00, drove out to the Claremont Folk Festival, manned the SCDH booth all day, did a Tinker Performance, ran off stage and into the van and headed back to Burbank.
My lowly "sitter" status had me worried. The woman I drove in with, Santa Cruz jmdler Leslie Mixon, was on the guest list. We walked to the table. They said "Name?" "Mixon", she replied. "Oh yes," they said, "how many?" "Two", she replied without missing a beat, and I was in!
Slightly shorter set. Highlight was Graham giving her the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction award he accepted for her last year. "Sorry I didn't wrap it more elegantly" he said (it was in a plastic bag), "Oh no, that's perfect" said Joni, "It belongs in a garbage bag!" You could see all the management types whincing - has Joni shot herself in the foot again?!?
No post-show partying, and I got to bed at 2:30 am. Out to Claremont for a 9:00 am SCDH board meeting - then home to sleep!
This was the first of two nights of taping
in front of a private audience. These performances were being
taped for a pay-per-view special and a video release.
(Photos by Pearl Weisberg and Marsha Doyle)
You know, I'll probably NEVER get around to sitting down and
typing a complete account of the weekend, so I thought I'd
just send y'all (too much hanging around with Marsha!) my
thoughts as they happen, then at least they'll be archived.
Joni had several false starts on "Why Do Fools..." Friday,
and when finished, did the whole thing over again. Saturday,
they started fine, but she still did a complete second take
of the song. So four takes of "WDFFIL" in the can.
Dare I ask the question...is this the best band Joni has ever
had??? Or is she so "in control" that she has them totally
trained to do EXACTLY what she wants? They are so supportive.
The only solos were Mark Isham (EYE-sham, thank you Ken!)'s,
and they were a million miles from a show-offy Tom Scott-
The other bands had to give Jaco, Pat, Tom, Robben, whoever,
their due solos, which were fun, but...this band is TOTALLY
there for Joni. They are so smooth, so subtle, so in sync
with her and her songs.
Graham gave Joni a solo standing ovation for "Magdalene" Friday
The ultimate goal for our Video Tree Mistresses - getting all
the outakes from this weekend - all the stories, all the flubs
that won't get into the finished product. All the hand close-ups
for Sue Mac!
The sound in the room was, simply, the best I've ever heard. There
were no visible speakers in the room, except for Joni and the band's
monitors. Why was it so good?
The lighting was MUCH better than the stadium shows I saw. It ended
up, somewhat miraculously for a TV studio, being softer than the
stadium lights - more complimentary to all the faces. Joni's face
looked harsh at the big shows - just look at the photos - but here
it was soft and beautiful. As I said to many people "The closer
you get, the better she looks!"
"NEXT TO MY WEDDING DAY, THIS IS THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE!"
On Friday night, I had the opportunity to say this directly to Joni, as my
eyes welled up - I then said, "Thank you for all of the inspiration and the
comfort." I spent about ten minutes with Joni, showing her many of the
photographs I've taken of her through the years. I also have a copy of the
handbound book she gave as gifts in 1971. It is called, "Morning Glory On
The Vine" and only 100 were made - I have 28/100 and it was inscribed "For
Rick." Joni said, "Wow, you have one of the birthday books." I asked Joni,
"So, who's Rick?" She gave me a smile that said, "Gee, I don't remember."
She then crossed out the inscription and wrote, "For Leslie" and
signed it. I have to say that Joni was so gracious and understanding of this
To experience this following the nearly 3 hour performance was truly heaven
on earth. In addition to seeing the paintings, and hearing Joni in such an
intimate setting, experiencing the chemistry between Brian Blade, Larry Klein
and Joni - it was such an honor to be so close to their presence. It was
obvious that Joni was truly enjoying herself and feeling the love of the
Joni also told an incredible story about knitting (trying to quit
smoking)in an obscure Canadian fisherman's inn when a strange woman burst
into her room...
I want to thank Steve Dulson, Jill Tamada, Phyllis Ward, Kakki, Ken Corral
(and his friend Steve) and especially Wally, for this "pocket of heavenly
grace." Please forgive me if I've forgotten anyone.
I cannot even believe that I was able to attend the concerts on Friday and
Saturday nights - It'll be great to convene again in Colorado - without the
feverish pace -
so we can take some time to get back to the garden.
I forgot to mention that I asked Joni if I could give her a hug - she opened
her arms wide and I tried to give back some of what I've received these
past 30 years. Later that evening Wally said, "Leslie's what's that on the side
of your face?" It was lipstick - and the unmistakable imprint of Joni's mouth. She gave
me a secret kiss --- "I'm a lucky girl..."
ah haaa. caught you breathless and with a very sore digit from
pushing that GET MAIL button looking for my fashion post again?
well rest easy. we were there and we SAW:
that joni had obviously recently been to the Taj Mahal, seen some
curtains flapping in the topmost window, and uttered: "palazzo
pants..." so she ran to a phone booth--of course she hates cell
phones--and called her elves. who stole in in the dead of night,
purloined the pasha's drapes, and set to work. just in time for:
where she strolled in to an adoring crowd of the faithful, who lolled on
various (prop room) couches in a full circle. she exuded a grannified
houri essence. the gold palazzo pants were a metallic open weave, like
fine, exotically patterned chain mail. (see-through, but of course. we
cannot get enough of her knees, especially when they rock.) she
challenged that theme with a simple black woven shell under a brown
jersey tunic (?), long-sleeved, clingy, and hip length. of course you
know it was belted: two inch wide plain brown leather with square
cig-pack size gold pieces all around, cinched over the tunic and buckled
this time we saw the shoes (over lavender polish). egad! backless high
chunky-heeled sandals: gold, with twisty instep straps. designed for
easy slip-off, as these were mostly in her hand; after she took them off
to dance with a gentleman (from the COME IN FROM THE COLD video--name,
anyone?) to WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?, she never put them back on.
the hair was long, straight, golden, and perfect. parted in the middle
and clipped at the shoulders. very dark lipstick. simple earrings.
she remarked that she had been told "don't touch the hair. for glamour
purposes." obviously someone knew what he was doing.
all in all, this was the time she impressed me most. of course, she was
trying. but good for her.
A dream come true...
As we turned the corner from the cavernous waiting area, we assumed we would
be entering the sound stage. Much to our surprise and delight we came into a
hallway of blue, with about 20 or so incredible paintings by Joni. They
were strikingly beautiful and vivid,
all in gold leaf frames. We oohed and aahed and admired them as video cameras
watched us. On some, especially the TI and TTT self portrait covers there is
so much texture and layering of color. Then we entered the stage area which
was in a circle
of three levels with all sofas, chairs and large floor cushions to sit on.
Hanging high and surrounding the room were more of the paintings. We were told
earlier by Wally that we were considered "super fans" and that Joni requested
that we sit close
and in front of her. Most of the seats had cards with names placed on them. I
told the girl with the clip board who I was and she didn't know what to do
with me, so she sent me to the top level off to the side behind the drums. I
sat there for a minute and it didn't feel right. Feeling empowered from my
earlier success of just getting in, I climbed down and went over to sit near
Wally (I had sat next to him briefly at dinner the week before so now we were
old friends) on the second platform, on a cushion, directly in front of the
stage. I talked about how incredible this was going to be and how excited and
lucky we were. Then Wally was asked to move to the other side to be in
shots for the 2 nights.
Near me now were Kakki and Robbie Cavelina, Joni's art director.
The room darkened, the band members got out on stage and
Joni was announced by Rosanna Arquette. (An odd choice)
I clapped and cheered as loudly as I could, and then at last
Joni came out and started to play Night Ride Home.
I was in heaven for the next 2 1/2 hours or so. She looked so
her flowing gold lace pants and brown stretch top and strappy sandals. The
pants sort of matched her hair.
She seemed so happy to be there too. This was exactly the way I'd always
see her play. She played and sang deep and rich and with such feeling. Even
in familiar songs, I heard lines that sounded new. She explained some songs
and told stories and anecdotes. And I just loved the special Joni way she
moved to the music. I sat entranced and mesmerized with a constant smile on
my face, I'm sure. I kept wishing I'd snuck in a tape recorder. After the
intermission I got a little brave and even took some photos, most of them
blurry. Then, when I thought things couldn't get any better, she wowwed
everyone even more. She had 3 singers down in front join her in singing "Why
Do Fools Fall in Love". I loved when she started with the real deep ...oomwah,
oomwah, oomwah, oomwah
then ...Why do birds si-ing .... I went really nuts when she took off her
shoes and started
dancing with Val, a very tall, bald, black singer. ( he's in one of her
videos, I think) They really got down and boogied and even did dips. She sang
an incredible version of a Billie
Holiday song and a Marvin Gaye song. Lots of hand movement and expression.
great to find out that a video is being made of the show so you can all share
some of the
wonder of it all. I never wanted it to end. Unfortunately it did have to end
but we managed to get her to return for a real encore, and she sang Song for
Sharon at the audience's request. (I think someone called it out for Wally,
but I'm not sure.) It was beautiful.
As incredible as this all was, I need to share the even more amazing events
During the intermissions Robbie Cavalina told some of us that he really
wanted Joni to meet with us. Thinking about the possibility of this was
exciting and nerve-wracking to say the least. He seemed to be impressed by
the fact that I had been to the Pauley and Pond concerts the weekend before,
returned to Florida on Wednesday, heard about these
shows and got it together to make the arrangements to turn around and fly
back Friday morning by myself. He somehow arranged it so that after the show
we waited inside until we were told we could come out to the trailer. I
borrowed a felt tip pen and gave Wally's
photographer my camera in anticipation. The next thing I know we're outside
then Joni came out came out of the trailer. It seems Robbie had just told
Joni what I'd done to get there and pointed me out to her. We looked at each
other and smiled, I don't
think either of us said anything at this point, and then she just came and
hugged me. I
couldn't believe it was happening. I was somewhat in a state of shock and also
and hoping that someone was taking a picture. (Unfortunately not) It was so
sweet. Then I'm not exactly sure what I said at this point, but I know I
thanked her and told her I've loved her for 30 years and said something about
my 20 year old daughter named Marcy. Then she said
something like.. "All the Marcys and Chelseas are all growin' up now" and
Then some other people started to come around her and something about taking
a photo was mentioned (it could have been me, I don't know). She then put her
arm around me and I thought there were more jmdlers with me. I was clutching a
bag with a couple of things I brought just in case I could get an autograph.
It all happened so fast I
didn't get a chance to put it down for the picture. You can see in the photo
that we're about the same height. (I'm 5' 6") After the photos were taken I
did get her to sign my Joni Mitchell Songbook (Complete volume number 1
1966-1970). She signed
it on the cover *For Pearl - Joni Mitchell* but she was talking to someone
else while she was writing. I also managed to get her to sign the inside page
of The Complete Poems and Lyrics book while she was at it. Then she went on
to talk to some others. I didn't want to let the moment be over for me. I
had connected with Ingrid Pastorious, my garage sale friend, and she had told
me to give regards and thanks to Joni from her and her sons.
Then I would share with here the story of how I'd met and befriended her.
Well, I totally forgot to do that. It might have been interesting to hear what
she had to say. We had to leave really soon, as they were starting a last
call for the shuttle and everyone was dispersing. I had something to share
and I approached Joni again. I told her I had taken some photos of her at
the last Saturday's concert and that they were unusual. ( I described them in
my earlier post) She looked at them with great interest and really seemed to
some of them. She then asked if it was OK if she could have two of them. "Of
yes, please take them " I said. Then Joni asked "Are you sure?" and I said
"Yes, I have doubles." She studied them some more and she seemed happy with
them. We said goodbye and she went back into the trailer. I was so delighted
that she took my photos.
I ran to the shuttle that was by now waiting for me and I kept saying, "I
can't believe she
took my pictures... Joni has something from me...Joni was impressed with my
pictures"... to anyone that would listen. It was quite an amazing evening.
Truly a dream come true for me.
Hello fellow listers--this is a first post for me. Don't know if I
qualify as a lurker or not, since I have only subscribed for a relativly
short time. Have frequently visited jm.com, but only clued into the
list in the last couple of months.
I've been reading all of your accounts of the Joni-Van-Bob tour and
appreciated them all very much. They made me consider taking a flight
to LA for one of the shows there, but time, space, money and toddlers
all seemed to conspire against that. However, when Wally's post about
the tapings appeared, I lost my head, reserved a place, called a friend
in Santa Monica for a place to crash, and grabbed my sister who made
the 7-hour drive to LA with me for Friday night's taping.
We were among the first 10 sitters, and were inside the concert from the
beginning of the show. One little dark cloud appeared briefly--just as
the taping was to begin, the staff told us that the trumpet player would
need our seats, and we would have to go back to the adjoining soundstage
to wait. This was just seconds before the concert started, and I was
too stunned to think of a thing to say in protest. We were being
escorted off set through the gallery of paintings, only to run into the
stage manager and Joni, who was waiting to go on.
The stage manager looked at us and asked incredulously "Where are you
two going?" (As in, what's up with you and how dare you leave now?) I
explained that we had been misseated and had to leave, to which Joni
replied "Oh no -- no no no no. You've got to find them seats." She
turned to a member of her stage crew who was with her, and instructed
him to take care of us, and to make sure we had seats where we could
see. Got to chat with her for about 30 seconds. We stood back with her
crew guy and watched them film her walking past her paintings to take
the stage, then spent the first four or five songs in folding chairs
near the crew staging area (about two feet below Graham Nash).
Her stage crew chief (anyone know his name--shaved head, goatee?)
chatted with us before we were reseated, and at one point said "I'll
bet you never thought you'd meet Joni Mitchell, did you? There are
people like you who are just dying to see her, and then you get a
dickhead like that (pointing to an empty space left by some industry
toad) who just gets up and leaves." I said that I hadn't thought I'd
ever meet her, and he said "I wish the camera had been running because
the look on your face when you saw her was just priceless." What I'm
feeling's always written on my face, I guess. It may have been a look
of terror. I was pretty resolute in NOT wanting to meet her--just being
ten feet away and listening to her play for three hours was plenty,
thanks--I KNOW how lucky I was to be there. And I'm sure as it has been
for many, many others, her music has been an illuminating soundtrack for
much of my growing up and adulthood, and I have so many memories and
insights and experiences and people attached to specific songs and
albums--I didn't want to geek out and reduce all that to some inane
"gee, you're really cool" soundbite, which I knew I was quite capable of
doing. I'd decided to swim in her performance and avoid her person at
all costs, and then I was face to face with her, thinking "Oh no, not
this." And for all that terror and feeling like a giant fist would
squeeze my heart right up out out my throat, I DID meet her and she was
lovely and charming and showed me and my sister a real kindness. And I
calmed down and we had a tremendous time.
Other folks have commented on the music and I AM going on here, so I
will just end with two thoughts--her Friday night rendition of Trouble
Man was pretty close to flawless, and it was a little surprising in a
good way. Her vocals are usually uniquely Joni, but towards the end of
Trouble man I was hearing Motown all over the place--Miss Joan has got
soul! Last thought--one of the pleasures of the evening was seeing how
happy she seems to be. I was sitting close to the exit, and as she
left the stage after her final encore she was literally skipping down
the corridor. That's gotta make you smile.
P.S. Wally and Les, you are the princes of Cyber Jonidom. Thanks for
making this possible!
It will take some time for all the wonder to sink in for me. As we who
attended all recover from our stoned bliss we may be able to articulate better.
She was playful, relaxed and sounded great and danced barefoot with her friend
Val and was accompanied by Val and more friends on back-up vocals for "Why Do
Fools Fall In Love".
In addition to being 25 feet away from her in the presence of Graham Nash, Don
Freed, et al, et al, we saw an exhibition of about 50 of her paintings up close
and personal. My mind is blown. The paintings are waaay beyond
belief. They were hanging along the entrance and also suspended all around the
theater-in-the-round stage. Landscapes, seascapes, several self portraits, Bob
Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Donald, her cats, the original Taming the Tiger and
Turbulent Indigo covers all in vivid and vibrant colors - just gorgeous.
Last night after the show several of us did get to meet her and she is sooooo
charming and sweet. She looks fantastic. There were so many incredible
impressions each night that it is difficult to describe them all. It's truly
been a dream awake.
As life goes back to semi-normal, I am better able to express some of the
wonderful things that happened at the tapings. The high points for me were
seeing her paintings and getting to meet her.
After the taping Friday night none of us had any idea that we would actually
get to meet her. As I was leaving, Robbie Cavolina came up to me and said he
was going to try to get me to meet her. I started getting dizzy at that
thought, but also was concerned about the rest of the group being left out. I
stood there kind of frozen for awhile and then Robbie returned and told the
whole group of us still left to line up in a row and wait with a security
guard. We waited for awhile and then were let out a back door and directed to
a trailer (mobile dressing room) outside. The surreality of the whole evening
started to intensify for me. She stepped out and I think Pearl was the first
to meet her. Then Leslie and Steve Dulson. She spent time with all of them
and was very warm and friendly. I still felt frozen in awe and found it
difficult to approach her. Finally Robbie nudged me over next to her but I
still couldn't gain my composure. He said "Joni this is Kakki and
these people are from the internet group." I about passed out at this point.
Joni was just inches away from me and gave me a big smile (she truly has an
aura around her) and then I started just babbling out my adoration, aware I was
being goofy, but having no control over the matter. I finally figured words
were of no use and just put my arms around her and hugged her. She just
laughed and smiled and glowed and then signed my Clouds CD which I'd thrown in
my purse at the last minute. I told her how about 30 of us from the JMDL had
traveled from all over the country to see her at the SoCal concerts and she
glowed some more. What struck me most about Joni was how natural and just
plain cute she is in person. She had a constant smile and twinkle in her eyes
and laughed along like she was just one of the group. Finally we were told the
last shuttle was leaving to take us back to the parking garage so we all left,
floating way up in a cloud, and pinching ourselves in disbelief. Wow, oh wow!
VINH LE (from the Belly list):
I was just at a pay per view taping of a Joni Mitchell concert.
I was a seat filler - that is, I get an empty seat if there
is one. I've never done this before and thought it was a
"Hollywood" thing, so since I'm in LA, why not take advantage
of such events? Anyway, here's how it went:
I went to the Warner Bros lot around 6:10 PM to check in by
7 PM. I checked in at 6:30 PM. I didn't pick up my wrist
band then, which I totally should have done! ( Lower numbers
go first, of course! ) I went to Subway to get a quick
dinner before the show. I didn't get my wrist band until
7 PM, which put me at number 30.
We, the seat fillers, were escorted across the street from the
visitor parking structure to the main WB lot. After that,
we were shuttled to Stage 22(?) where they were taping the
show. Only VIP's got in. We seat fillers were sent
to another stage around the corner.
The stage was huge! Inside, they had three 32" TV's, each
one surrounded by a "U" of alternating black, plush(!)
loveseats and sofas. There were three tables for each "U".
There were caterers that went around serving sodas, coffee,
brownies, and cookies. The service was cool! It was like
having a nice little party!
Just before the show started, they pulled the first 15
seat fillers. ( So, the lesson here is to check in early and
get low numbers. ) These people got to see the whole show
from the set. The rest of us had to be content with
seeing the show from the TV's. The sound was right off the
mixing board and so it was great with the big speakers they had
Watching the show from the TV's wasn't too bad with all the
free catering! It was also cool to see things happen as
they shot it... a sort of behind the scenes kind of thing.
After intermission, an hour and a half after the show started,
they let the remaining seven of us go on the set. ( Some of the
VIP's left at intermission. ) We got to see another hour's
worth of the show as well as the encore, which was quite
Joni and the band performed on a circular center stage. The
audience sat in randomly colored, plush arm chairs, loveseats,
sofas, and pillows on a three tiered stadium setup. Surrounding
the upper most tier were Joni's paintings suspended from the
ceiling. ( As some of you know, Joni's an amazing painter as
So, what about the music? I loved it! I have to admit to
being inept about her work. I haven't heard any of it before.
The songs were poems or told stories of travels and experiences.
Very cool! Inbetween songs, she told such funny stories too.
She was fantastic!
I'm on digest, so don't know if anyone else has posted since returning
to the keyboard from the concert - no - THE Concert!!! - tonight at
Warner's. But let me say, in case you haven't heard, it was Absolutely
Incredible and Joni was Stunning!!!!
I never posted a review of the Friday Night Pauley Concert, in part
because I was sorta bummed about it. Don't get me wrong - it was the
first time I had seen Joni in concert, so that in itself made the night
one I'll always remember. But I was surrounded by rude people who were
conversing through most of her set, and my group had very distant seats,
and I left wishing Joni would do a gig in a small venue as a solo act
where she would be entirely appreciated. Geee, maybe I should wish to
win the lotto this week, too!
It's 2:30 a.m. and I just got home - wired, but not in much shape to
write a cool review of the evening. I'm sure others will post the
glorious news for all who were unable to attend. Suffice it to say I
have never been so pleased with three hours in my life. And to walk a
foot from Joni, while she was chatting with friends on her way to a
break, ... wow!! I must tell you all that while standing next to her as
she hugged a friend, we made eye contact and I mouthed the words, "Thank
You" and she gave me a big grin in return.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kakki and Steve Dulson and a couple other
list folks. That was definitely fun. And BTW, I'll be sitting almost
directly behind Joni at the Saturday night show, on a couch, in a dark
suit with gray shirt... so if anyone wants to stop by and say hello, I'd
be pleased to meet ya.
Sorry this is a little long - and rambling - I guess the late hour has
caught up with me.