A CHRONOLOGY OF APPEARANCES
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001
 

1998.08.15  A Day In The Garden—Yasgur's Farm  Bethel, NY

A Woodstock anniversary concert

Image Gallery   [click to enlarge, then arrow keys to browse]:
Back Row: Heather Galli, Brian Gross, Suze Cameron, Nate Cameron. Front Row: Don Fluke, Patty, Amy Hahn, Kate Tarasenko.
Photo by Mendi Hickman
Photo by Mendi Hickman
Joni and Larry. Photo by Mendi Hickman
Photo by Mendi Hickman
Photo by Mendi Hickman
Photo by the New York Times
Program cover
Saturday's line-up
Ticket Stub
I thought I heard Mark Isham blowing through the snowy trees. - Joni Mitchell
Joni and Trumpeter Mark Isham.
Joni takes a snapshot of the crowd while performing.
original concert poster [thomas27]

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Related articles from the Library:
» '60s spirit infuses Garden party (USA Today, 1998)
» A Day In The Garden (Entertainment Weekly Online, 1998)
» A Joni-Come-Lately To Woodstock (New York Daily News, 1998)
» At the Woodstock Site, Measuring the Distance Between Then and Now (New York Times, 1998)
» Back to the Garden (Addicted To Noise website, 1998)
» Back to the Garden (Los Angeles Times, 1998)
» Back to the Garden (Orange County Times Herald, 1998)
» Back to the Garden (Orange County Times Herald, 1998)
» Concert springs from roots of Woodstock (USA Today, 1998)
» Garden fest evokes Woodstock days (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1998)
» Garden: You Can't Go Home Again (New York Daily News, 1998)
» Joni Mitchell Remembers The Time She Never Got To Woodstock (MTV Website, 1998)
» Knocking On Wood (Entertainment Weekly Online, 1998)
» Rock 'n Roll Legends in Garden Reprise (Orange County Times Herald, 1998)
» Veteran Rockers Get Back To The Garden (SonicNet website, 1998)
» Woodstock Redux (Philadelphia CityPaper, 1998)
» Woodstock Returning This Year (NicksFix website, 1998)

Related video from the Library:
» A Day in the Garden (complete set) Bethel, New York (1998)
» Black Crow Bethel, New York (1998)
» Just Like This Train Bethel, New York (1998)
» Moon at the Window Bethel, New York (1998)
» Slouching Toward Bethlehem Bethel, New York (1998)
» Summertime Bethel, New York (1998)
» The Magdalene Laundries Bethel, New York (1998)
» Woodstock Bethel, New York (1998)
Set List
1.  Hejira
2.  Comes Love
3.  Face Lift
4.  Summertime
5.  The Crazy Cries Of Love
6.  No Apologies
7.  Sex Kills
8.  The Magdelene Laundries
9.  Black Crow
10.  Moon At The Window
11.  Slouching Toward Bethlehem
12.  Just Like This Train
13.  Big Yellow Taxi
14.  Trouble Man
15.  Woodstock

Comments on this appearance


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mariav505 on 2014-Mar-17 at 21:38:48 GMT-5:
I have LOVED Joni Mitchell since I was a little girl in the late 60's...I was born into music as I came from a musical family and teenage parents..so I literally grew up with her..LOVED her all of my life and finally got to see her in Woodstock 98. A Day in the Garden..the popular lyric from her song 'Woodstock'. My car was running like crap but I didn't care..I was ready to ditch it and stick out my thumb to get there. Their were alot of top notch musicians there...Richie Havens..Lou Reed, Pete Townsend, Donovan, Melanie..but I came to see Joni..as I always felt a part of her story songs and romantic lyrics..and when she finally got on stage..her voice took me to new heights and gave me chills up and down my spine..it was a gorgeous day on old Max Yasgur's farm!!! And I felt this severe GOD aura there..she came out with this brown electric guitar when we are all used to her acoustic guitar..but she mesmerized me..gave me chills and made my day like MAGIC..I just went thru a bad relationship break up and was sad that I went there by myself..but she just HEALED me..it's so hard to explain..if she ever comes back to the upstate NY or NYC area..I will LOVE to see her again...I never quite saw her music the same way afterwards...I listened with depth and an inner romantic intensity..I LOVE HER!!! I still have my t-shirt that says 'A Day in the Garden' and my ticket stubs..Don't stop Joni..your devoted fans LOVE YOU!!!!  [ed.]  [ed.]
4clover9899 on 2011-Jan-02 at 17:11:02 GMT-5:
Getting pulled over on the way to the show the night before made it almost insane to watch. I was "left of center". Little did I know I was swerving because I was actually pregnant. I'd wanted to see Joni live for so long...and my son, now 11, was secretly along for the ride. It cost so much to go, in so many ways, and falling in and out of sleep in the grass while I waited to see the only woman I've heard put life into words that I could feel viscerally was like waiting for my wings to catch the wind for the first time. I was introduced to Joni after my "boyfriend" slapped me into a parked car & cracked my ribs in 1988. My room mate at the time put me on the floor and made me listen to Miles of Aisles beginning to end, while I tried to breathe. My tears soaked the carpet, finally a voice for what I felt as a woman. Yasgur's farm was the completion of a circle. Police cars, my first child, and the woman who would understand the irony of my life. "No regrets Coyote..."
davef on 2009-Sep-21 at 13:58:47 GMT-5:
This show was surreal - partly because of the extremely hazy weather and persistent threat of rain - having to sit through Lou Reed et. al...but when Joni took the stage apprehension evaporated. It was a fantastic "debut" at Woodstock nearly 30 yrs hence, the band was amazing, and we were so moved that we didn't stick around for Pete Townsend.
JONIFOREVER on 2009-Jun-08 at 08:18:53 GMT-5:
Joni was just amazing! The way she played her guitar, her singing, Brian Blade's magical drums...
Oh Joni, so much class, and incredibly modern, intense music ! She showed everybody how she could sing jazz. "Hejira", "Moon at the Window", "Comes love", "Summertime" but also the incredibly dark and intense
new song " No Apologies", they all gave me the thrills. It was my second Joni concert, I was so happy to be there, it was heaven !
P.S. The site was kind of disappointing, the mythical Woodstock, a huge lawn, more than a Garden, very hot and sticky weather, but when Joni appeared we all forgot about that


Archival comments


Sue McNamara's Pre-Tour Essay

A Day At The Garden!

Twenty-nine years after a dejected and envious Joni sat down in front of a hotel TV and wrote the anthem for a generation, she is going "back to the Garden" and I'm going to be there, too! In August of 1969, I was 11 and more amazed by men walking on the moon then Jimi Hendrix (love of Jimi would come later). It also took me a couple of years to experience The Who by way of my favorite rock opera Tommy and I didn't discover Joni till I bought Court & Spark for my mother for Christmas in 1974. (I had just heard "Help Me" on the radio and had to spend the only money I had on Christmas presents. Will I rot in Hell for that?) So Joni and I both missed going to Woodstock for entirely different reasons but we managed to get along through the years (she being a bit more of an overachiever!)

At the time, Clouds was her current album and she already had quite a few tunes ready for her next release, Ladies of the Canyon. Today she gets ready for the release of her 20th album, Taming the Tiger, and over those 29 years she has gone through enough changes for 8 lifetimes!! This will be the third time I've seen Joni, the first being in 1978 at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, second time at the Jones Beach theater for the Wild Things Run Fast tour 1983. So this will be the first time in 15 years that I will see Joni live, which is not unusual because except for the lucky few who were at the Fez in 1995, Joni has not played on the East Coast since that tour in 1983.

So I'll be setting my alarm clock for 5 am on Saturday morning, August 15, 1998, and then driving the 3 hours from Ithaca to Bethel, New York so I can meet some energetic Joni fans at a breakfast tailgate on the Woodstock grounds. I'll be wearing my Joni Mitchell Internet Community shirts and my denim jacket with the Georgia O'Keeffe painting on the back. I'll also be dragging my beat-up Ovation guitar so that I can play a couple of Joni tunes for my as-yet-unmet buddies. I've already promised myself that I will only sing songs that I know will NOT be on Joni's set list that day, including anything pre-For the Roses (except for "Woodstock" and "Big Yellow Taxi," which we already know she dusted off for the West Coast tour). What are the chances that she'll play "Barangrill" or "I Don't Know Where I Stand?" Nil, I'd say!

So at Wally's request, I'm going to document my experiences of the day and report back to everyone who visits the JMHP. Since I first logged on to The Joni Mitchell Homepage when it was about a week old back in 1995, my love of everything Joni has blossomed into a lifestyle which is not so much an obsession as a positive attitude toward creativity in every aspect of life. Joni is a renaissance woman and my hero and mentor, and I think the hardest part of next Saturday will be trying to document her performance without slipping into an ecstatic trance! I'll do my best. So look forward to my report after "the happening" occurs!!

Love to all,
Sue

Sue's Tour Report

Joni Finally Gets Herself To The Garden!

I truly felt like a Child of God adventuring to Bethel, NY by myself on a trek that I've been anticipating for 15 years. Although that's not as long as Joni Mitchell has been waiting. My quest was to see my hero perform for the first time in New York State since I saw her at the Jones Beach Theatre during the 1983 Wild Things Run Fast Tour. She has been waiting since 1969 when David Geffen, her manager at the time, convinced her not to go to Woodstock because she was scheduled to appear on The Dick Cavett Show and all hell and heaven were breaking loose in Bethel, NY!

The morning was overcast and muggy and when the gates opened at 9:00 a.m. I was surprised that there wasn't that big of a crowd and getting a good position on the field was still a possibility. The graceful dip of Max's alfalfa field was a perfect bowl in front of the stage, and looking over the landscape I recognized the backdrop from the movie of the original concert. The land has been sprinkled with strange metal sculptures commemorating the original event, totems like wooden angels, and the official monument in one corner of the field behind the stage. People were already getting their pictures taken in front of it for posterity. It didn't take long for me to meet another Joni fan, Brian Gross, and we walked to the front of the stage where many Joni fans had already staked a claim front row center.

The concert started at 10:00 a.m. promptly with Melanie, Donovan at 11:00 a.m. and Richie Havens was scheduled for 12:00 p.m. By the time Lou Reed started his set, the concert schedule was lagging behind almost an hour, so that Joni did not get on stage till about 4:20 p.m. (I will link my reviews and photos of the other artists at the end of my report on Joni's performance.)

When I went to the media tent to check in about 9:30 a.m. I found out that Joni was not going to do a press conference, which was disappointing. I must have asked the media manager about 50 times that day, "Has Joni changed her mind about answering questions yet, can I see her now, can I just say Hi?" She was very sweet and gave me this sad smile knowing how disappointed I was, but she did inform me that I would be able to take pictures with the other photographers during the first three songs of each performer's set.

As the time came for Joni to perform I was led into the press line in front of the stage with the other photographers. I had already met a number of them and everyone was very excited about Joni. The crowd was very charged, chanting "Joni, Joni, Joni" and as I assumed my position in front of the stage my heart jumped when I saw Joni with her band hiding behind the sheer red stage curtain! She was bouncing around like an excited kid, hugging people and laughing. As she was introduced she walked out on stage with Brian Blade and Larry Klein and immediately grabbed a small green disposable camera and took a quick shot of the crowd. As she came to the mike she said, "It's taken me 30 years to finally get here!" Then she picked up her guitar and started the opening chords to my favorite song, "Hejira." I was so overwhelmed at finally seeing her (and she looked so beautiful) that the tears were streaming down my face and I wept openly until the song was over. The addition of Mark Isham on muted trumpet for this song was perfect, especially during the verse where Joni sang "I thought I heard Mark Isham blowing through the snowy trees."

There were many times during the performance where she would acknowledge the crowd and look out as if she was trying to catch every face and every smile. You could tell she was truly moved by the outpouring of love from the crowd, especially the enthusiastic bunch from the Joni Mitchell Discussion List with the banner that read "JMDL Loves (heart) Joni."

Joni then put down her guitar and surprised the crowd by singing a Billie Holliday song, which she introduced during the West Coast tour, called "Comes Love." The most wonderful part of her performance was not only her singing, which was phenomenal, but her exaggerated hand movements which accentuated the lyrics. "Comes a headache, You can lose it in a day" as she fell back with her hand to her head.

Joni went back to her guitar for "Face Lift" from the new album Taming the Tiger. When she finished, security rushed the photographers out of the press line and I had to navigate my way back to the front row where loyal Joni fans were saving me a space in the crushed crowd. While maneuvering closer to the stage I realized that Joni was singing Gershwin's "Summertime." Her roots were showing again! If you look over her catalog, you notice that her favorite cover songs are from the Tin Pan Alley days of the 40s, 50s, and early 60s (including "Twisted," "Centerpiece," and "Unchained Melody"). (I was reminded by one Joni fan, Medric Faulkner, that during this song a flock of Canadian geese "in chevron flight" awed the crowd by flying over the stage.)

Back in the front row I realized that the crunch of people was much more dense than during Lou Reed, and a contingent of young female Joni fans were right behind me, calling to her, and singing along with the songs. When Joni started her usual introduction to "The Magdalene Laundries," describing the Sisters of Charity and the unmarked graves, a young woman called out, "Thank you, Joni!" Also when Joni was talking about Woodstock and her generation she said that "we believed in a lot of things but the only thing that remains for me is the Rainbow Coalition." The woman behind me yelled, "Depend on Joni to tell the truth!" I think someone already said "Joni Mitchell never lies!"

The best surprises of the concert were, of course, the beautiful cover songs "Comes Love," "Summertime," and "Trouble Man," but there were several cuts from the upcoming album Taming the Tiger. "Face Lift" and "The Crazy Cries of Love" had already made it to the public through many TV appearances and the West Coast concert but the Garden was the debut performance of "No Apologies" which is a stinging sermon in the style of "The Three Great Stimulants" and "Borderline."

"Tireskids and Teethmarks
What happened to this place?
Lawyers and Loan Sharks
Are laying America To Waste"

You would think "Sex Kills" would be a heavy followup to "No Apologies" but the clarity of the song rocked, the band was so tight, and Joni's lyrical genius blends sound and ideas so concretely that the flow of the feeling never faltered. My favorite performance was "Moon At the Window" which was performed with just Joni and Brian Blade. If Larry Klein had not been sitting right next to Brian's drum set in full view I would have wondered where the beautiful bass lines were coming from, but it was obvious that Joni was utilizing every string on this intricate composition. Brian's innovative touch complemented the song perfectly. I was moved so much I yelled out about 4 times "Joni, you're a genius!!" It was a perfect moment for me.

"Slouching Toward Bethlehem" was a song I was so shocked to hear she was playing on this tour but her new arrangement is power rock. Her voice matches that power with her every gesture animating the apocalyptic message. With the addition of "No Apologies" into the lineup we lost the chance to hear "Amelia" which was a slight disappointment (West Coast fans heard it in May) but we still got a taste of Hejira with the title song and "Black Crow." Of course, Joni always plays her personal favorite "Just Like This Train." Her new version of "Big Yellow Taxi" included her vaudevillian imitation of Bob Dylan on his tractor verse. Joni fans all around me had a lot of fun singing the doot-doot-doots and pretending we were all her backup singers!

Joni put down the guitar again for her third cover song of the evening, Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man." Although I have never heard Marvin's original you could definitely hear his influence in Joni's singing and also Greg Leisz's imitation of the classic Marvin song guitar lick. (Greg had switched to electric guitar for this song. He had been playing the lap steel during the rest of the concert.)

Joni closed with the song she was not going to get away without playing. Her guitar version of "Woodstock" was revamped from piano during the Shadows and Light tour and she played with reverence while everyone sang along. She left the stage radiant with a perfect set under her belt. Maybe it was the outpouring of love that met her as soon as she walked on stage or maybe it was just the fact that we were in the presence of a real master who just gets better and better as time goes on. As Dylan says, "she's an artist, she don't look back." Fate has a funny way of working out because if you think about it, if she had been at the original Woodstock, the song would have never been written with the same intensity.

One final observation of the day: I was wearing my Joni Mitchell internet community T-shirt with "SIQUOMB, isn't she?" on the front and the web addresses on the back. I didn't count but at least 20 people stopped me during the day and said (in one form or another) "Oh, my God, I love that site! How's Wally?" This was so gratifying for me and I soaked up Wally's kudos and gave them back to him when we talked after the concert. This was a truly magical experience for me, and even though I didn't get to meet Joni personally I was far from disappointed. Plus, what would I have said to her? Anytime I rack my brain to think what I could possibly ask a woman who has channeled so much of her genius to me already through her writing, music and artwork, the only thing I can think of is, "Read any good books lately?" So she's probably lucky she didn't waste a moment of her beautiful day talking to me about Nietzsche (her favorite author!). Love you Joni. Thanks for making the Garden a bounty!!

THE BAND:
Joni Mitchell on vocals and guitar
Brian Blade on drums
Greg Liesz on pedal steel and lead guitar
Larry Klein on bass
Mark Isham on trumpet

THE SET LIST:

Hejira
Comes Love
Face Lift
Summertime
The Crazy Cries Of Love
No Apologies
Sex Kills
The Magdalene Laundries
Black Crow
Moon At The Window
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Just Like This Train
Big Yellow Taxi
Trouble Man
Woodstock

Wally's "Real Audio/VideoO" Report - Day 1

August 14th, 1998

Yesterday I decided to download Real Player Plus 5.0, which is the latest version of that product for a MAC. It allows you to listen to broadcasts on Real Audio and to watch video on its counterpart, Real Video. The cost was $29.95, plus extras (a download plus a CD-Rom, a special deal on updated versions, etc.- Total $59!) but I figured I wanted to have the latest technology available for watching and hearing the performances at "A Day In The Garden," especially Joni's. My plan was to test it out on Friday and have the bugs ferretted out before Joni's performance on Saturday afternoon.

Well, today's broadcast just ended and I have to say that the Real Video broadcast was pretty primitive. I admit that it's cool to see what's going on live onstage, what the artists are wearing, what design and colors the backdrop is, etc. but it's jumpy, often blurry, stop-action shots, more like single photos flipping erratically than a movie. And the sound is awful. The Real Audio sound is much better, sounding rather like AM radio, but it suffers from occasional drop-outs of the sound, with silence for a few seconds before the broadcast comes back on.

The RadioWoodstock.com behind the stage interviews and discussion in-between sets with the DJ's and guest singer-songwriter Richie Havens, who is scheduled to appear onstage tomorrow afternoon, were informative and nostalgic. Richie, of course, opened the 1969 Woodstock Festival with his song "Freedom."

How were the performances? I slept through Ziggy Marley (my problem, not his), taped Ten Years After for later listen and listened to and enjoyed Don Henley's performance, even if it was, as he said, "Really early in the day." Stevie Nicks was in good voice and sang many songs she'd rarely or never performed live. She called this her "Boxset" tour because she's not promoting a new album but a three CD boxset that came out two months ago. Stevie told the audience that this was the final show of her current tour. Rain distracted and resulted in a few 2-3 minute breaks between songs during Stevie's performance, while she changed clothes. The rain came and went and hopefully will stay away for the rest of the weekend.

It's great to know that we'll at least be able to hear and see Joni's performance tomorrow, even if the broadcasts on Real Audio and especially Real Video suffer from numerous problems that surely will be solved by future technology. It's certainly better than seeing or hearing nothing.

My best wishes to JMHP reporter and photographer Sue McNamara and to all who'll be at tomorrow's "A Day In The Garden" show. You're all lucky, really lucky. I can't wait to read all your reports!

Wally's "Real Audio/VideoO" Report - Day 2

August 15th, 1998

Today at the "Garden", the marvelous Melanie and Donovan, who were two of my favorite hippie singer-songwriters in the late 60's and early 70's, both played hour long sets. I know and love Donovan for his hit songs and Melanie has a special place in my heart because I bought every single album she released up through the 1980's.

Richie Havens played a 75 minute set of old favorites and newer material. He saved "Here Comes The Sun" and "Handsome Johnny" for late in his set and the 1969 show stopper "Freedom" came after Richie's guitarist played a tribute to Jimi Hendrix with a blistering version of "The Star Spangled Banner."

Richie played guest-host on Woodstock.com once again, and Donovan also visited and reminisced on many subjects including meeting Joni in the late 1960's. He commented on how prolific a songwriter she was and said that in those days she had a large number of self-penned songs in her reportoire which was in contrast to most singer-songwriters of the time who had 7 songs of their own and 3 songs that they sang by other writers.

Joey Ramone showed up to join the RadioWoodstock.com group in the studio. He's scheduled to guest-host tomorrow during Modern Rock day when the stage will be filled with younger musicians such as Third Eye Blind, Dishwalla, Goo Goo Dolls, Joan Osborne, etc.

Lou Reed came on stage at 2:10PM EST, opening his set with "Sweet Jane" and following that with a 100 minute set that included selections from all phases of his career including "Satellite of Love," "Dirty Boulevard" and "Set the Twilight Reeling."

Richie returned to RadioWoodstock.com, having changed out of his sweaty clothes. He talked about Joni and how he and Joni and David Crosby had sat around in the 1960's making up alternate tunings. He said that Joni has certainly gotten the most value and use out of them.

Joni began her set at 4:20PM EST by snapping a photograph of the crowd, then shouting out "Okay, 30 years to get here!" She opened with the strains of "Hejira" which rolled out over the crowd which by that time had swelled to over 25,000. Her 77 minute, 15 song set featured many surprises, including the standards "Summertime" and "Comes Love," Marvin Gaye's classic "Trouble Man" and her new composition "No Apologies."

Joni sounded fantastic. She was in good voice, well rehearsed, empassioned, obviously involved with her performance, and reactive to the crowd of her enthusiastic fans. My only complaint: She should have played longer.

Reports from the Internet Community

(From:Nlevin11@aol.com)-I am just back from the Woodstock - er, excuse me - Bethel "Day in the Garden" at Max Yasgur's old farm and the site of...well, is there anybody who doesn't know? My friend and I just missed Melanie but we caught a great set of Donovan's, which included "Atlantis" and then another great performance by the ageless Richie Havens, who looked and sounded the same as he did 29 years earlier. He did "Just Like a Woman" and "Little Darlin' ". Fantastic.

Lou Reed followed Ritchie Havens and preceded Joni. I don't know what to say except that he left me unimpressed. Personally, I can't see what L.R. brings to the table all these years later. But there it is...

The organizers of the festival allowed about 30-45 minutes between performers. After Lou left the platform, there was a steady flow of attendees who drifted to the stage front. By the time I got to the front myself, there were easily 5,000 people pressing forward - 16 year old girls trying to smoke with a yet-to-be-acquired cool attitude, older folks like myself silent in anticipation who have been listening to Joni for twenty five years, aged hippies and flower children, folks just there to be there. The four members of her backup came on (including Larry Klein, I believe). People began to clap, then call out her name, then chant her name. Every time we caught a glimpse of Joni off-stage, the crowd became religious in cheering her. And, at last, she was announced and Joni came to stage center. She wore an olive green silky suit, very flowing. And a hat. A bowler, almost. She seemed to me to look pale - I used my binoculars to see that, as far as I could tell, she wore no makeup but lipstick. And then she said, "Well, it took me almost thirty years, but I finally made it!" Then, she smiled, and I tell you, she radiated!

I'm not the one to list her set; I got too involved in seeing her up there. She was very comfortable and at ease, very glad to be there. At one point in her first song, the grey clouds actually parted and the sun broke through for a while. I do remember that she did a Billie Holiday tune, Gershwin's "Summertime" in a very bluesy manner - in fact, the whole set was very bluesy.

Joni did "Just like this Train" (Court and Spark) and "Big Yellow Taxi" (Ladies of the Canyon). She did "Sex Kills." She also did several songs from her upcoming album also. Before she performed "The Magdalene Laundries" (Turbulent Indigo), she introduced it with the explanation of the story; of course, it made the song very emotional and powerful.

And Joni closed with - need I tell you? - the one piece that she could not have left the stage without: a lilting, rather melancholy solo rendition of "Woodstock".

Joni has a perpetual dilemma: she cannot satisfy her fans. It's impossible. We all want her to play everything! To go back and play, in order, every album and all its tracks. And you know that that is something Joni is never going to do: her famous remark that goes something like, "Do people say to Van Gogh, 'Paint Starry Night' again?" And we had no familiarity with her new material. But she was so at ease and at one with her audience, that I, for one, left the crush of the crowd at the stage saying, "O.K., that was FANTASTIC. Now, I can go home". And I did.

(From:msnyder@interactive.net)-The anticipation was nearly too much to bear: I had long ago resigned myself to the fact that I would die without seeing and hearing the master artist Joni Mitchell live in performance, yet here I was standing about 20 or 30 feet away from center stage at Bethel, waiting for the woman to bring on the noise! I refused to allow myself to be distracted by the scene around me (to look back and see that massive natural amphitheater once again filled with people was pretty amazing, but I wanted to be focused on the important matter at hand).

The crowd that had surged forward for Joni's set had lots of heavy fans in it, the first time I've ever been in such a crowd of Mitchell-files. (In the past Joni was a shared pleasure with only a few close friends.) Chants of "Jo-NI, Jo-NI" began shortly before she arrived on stage, heightening the general ecstasy of the moment when woman of the day finally appeared.

I spotted her backstage through my binoculars with her entourage about a minute before she came on. She defined the word effervescent: dressed in a loose brown outfit with a hat on, she was smiling, dancing around a bit, and, of course, smoking! Her positive, spunky aura was contagious, and I found myself cackling with excitement.

As Joni walked, no, STRUTTED and SASHAYED on to the stage, fag still in hand, we all erupted with screams, just barely hearing her humorous statement "It took me 30 years to get here!" She snapped a quick picture of the crowd with a disposable camera and got to work.

I didn't expect her opener to be "Hejira", and was highly impressed by Larry Klein's understated bass work; certainly it must be difficult to sub for Jaco Pastorius, especially on that tune! I didn't immediately recognize "Comes Love", though I've heard the song played by various jazz musicians through the years; I've just never heard it sung. How wonderful for my first vocal version of it to be Joni's! I cannot state enough how spirited and happy Joni looked and sounded. She and the band just seemed elated to be there and performed her material with gusto.

During the third tune, "Facelift", I scanned the backstage area and scoped Don Freed, Kilauren, and Marlin! I could see Kilauren's resemblance to Joni better in person than in the photos I've seen of her,. She played with Marlin for much of the set, but for a few minutes, the daughter stood at stage right and took some photos of the mother.

Joni blew me away with "Summertime", choosing to set up a dark vamp and utilizing Mark Isham (with his harmon-muted trumpet) as her stand-in for Miles. With her aged and smoked voice, she now reminds me of later Billie Holiday, but a bit happier.

As the set progressed through "Crazy Cries", "No Apologies", "Sex Kills" and "Magdalene Laundries", I proudly noted that unlike most of the other performers that day, Joni was concentrating on recent material, and I almost hoped she wouldn't play "Woodstock," for purely musical reasons. Her recent tunes are so far beyond where she was in 1969 that I thought the contrast would be just too incongruous.

The most kick-ass tunes of the day were "Black Crow" and "Slouching Towards Bethlehem." "Slouching" especially brought the band to a peak, and was propelled and goosed by Brian Blade, who played most of the gig with a huge smile on his face, and all of it without socks on. "Moon at the Window," made a nice interlude between "Crow" and "Bethlehem", but I missed having the sound of a real acoustic guitar there (I don't deny that Joni's job is made much easier by the VG8, but certain tunes demand the real deal).

The last part of the set was oldies (pre-1976) time, and after a spirited "Just Like This Train", Joni went into "Big Yellow Taxi," which, like most of her older tunes, is now done at least 2 semi-tones down from its original key. This wasn't really bad news, though, because it helped Joni set up a hilarious moment. Just before the last verse, she said "this verse was written by Bob Dylan," and proceeded to do a great imitation of Dylan's raspy bark on "Laaaate last niiiight I hearrrrrd the screeeeeen door slaaaam!" (She sang the verse again in her own voice, thankfully.)

Although I had read that Joni had been covering Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" at recent shows, it was something else entirely to hear it done in front of me. She mentioned in the recent interview in Mojo that she wants to do a record of covers, and by God she really should! "Trouble Man," "Comes Love" and "Summertime" were three highlights of this gig, proving her prowess at interpreting various types of tunes.

In the end, of course, it would have been impossible for her not to sing "Woodstock," but at least she did it in the way I prefer to hear it done, the style on "Shadows and Light". My main disappointment in the show was the absence of "Harry's House." I didn't at first think about length of the set, but after reading Wally's description of the gig, I realized that most of the artists that day performed longer than Joni did. But as I said to begin with, I'm lucky to have seen her at all, in amazing form, in excellent sound, with a fantastic band, on a great day, in a pretty amazing location! My last image of her was strutting off the stage, dragging on her ciggie, then hugging Don Freed and Kilauren, in a great mood, looking like life and creativity embodied.

Matt Snyder

(From:Poutmouse@aol.com)-This was a thrill of a lifetime for me. I've been a huge fan of joni's for 30 years! I have never seen her live and took the plunge and schlepped to Woodstock with my husband. We got there at 9:00am and rushed down to the front of the stage. We were maybe 50 feet away. We spread our blanket and protected our small piece of priceless realestate. We were sucsessful in keeping away tall people and anyone else who infringed on our space untill Lou Reed played, then the "kids" became impossible to keep away. We yelled, pitched fits and tried to reason- afterall we claimed our territory early so we'd have a great view. I brought my camera and a 210 telephoto lense (against the rules). I didn't care- nothing was going to keep me away my idol. I thought well these young kids will probably leave after Lou Reed- they won't even know who joni is---- well I was wrong!!!! As the roadies changed the stage the crowd intensified... I was devasated. I thought I'll never see her now. The bobbing heads and waving arms in front of me. It was finally time . I spotted her back stage and squeeled and jumped and screamed just like the bobbing headed teanagers who had infringed on my "space". She was spectacular!!! She swayed and sang with her ever present cigarette and I was mesmerized. I clicked and clicked away with my camera at full zoom. She's in her jazzy blues stage right now and I can't wait to get her new album that she played a few songs from. I just about flipped when she said she was going to close her set. I could'nt believe it. 30 years of waiting and all I got was a lousy 75 minutes of her life, 50 feet away with a bunch of bobbing heads in front of me. When she smiled the crowd screamed with excitement. When she moved in her special joni sway the crowd went wild. She is the essence of the word "COOL" and everyone knew it -young and old alike. A few more of her old standards would have been wonderful to hear, like Blue or Blue Boy or Blue Motel Room. Actually I didn't mean to choose everything with the word blue but they happen to be my favorites. joni's "portraits of a disappointment" . I was glad to hear Woodstock though. Big Yellow Taxi and Moon At The Window. I guess I can never get enough.

Thanks for the Web Page.
debbi grogan

(From:MDZB09A@prodigy.com)-I had the amazing experience to see Joni Mitchell in concert yesterday, Saturday August 15th. I came to the concert prepared with a huge sign that said, "Joni, Can I Give You A Hug?" My friends thought it was the stupidest thing they ever saw, but I didn't care. It was a shot. We left my house at 5:30 am and arrived at the concert at 9:30am. Surprisingly, there were not that many people there. I figured I would have no problem getting up to the front of the stage when Joni came on. Well, it ended up that there were mobs of people up front by the time Richie Havens had started playing. I knew what I had to do. In order for Joni to see my sign I had to get up really close right when Lou Reed went on. I did too. I was probably 10 - 15 feet from the stage, squished in a tiny little space.

I stood in that space for about 4 hours. I stood all throughout Lou Reed and then waited for Joni to come out. People started chanting, "Joni, Joni.." while her equipment was being set up. Finally, I saw my first glimpse of her offstage. And then, she came out. I waved my sign frantically and started to cry. To tell you the truth I don't even remember what her first song was, I was so flustered. Then, during her second song, Summertime, it happened. She went to her coat pocket, pulled out a cigarette and puffed away. Then, she noticed my sign. She put her arms outstretched and made a hugging motion. Everyone around me started freaking out and saying, "She noticed you, I can't believe it." It was then that my already amazing view of Joni, became more amazing. I couldn't believe it. Joni was not only an amazing artist, songwriter, singer, and musician, but she also has a huge heart. After every song I held up that sign. And at the end she pointed and winked at me.

On the way back up the hill I had people taking my picture with the sign, and people saying, " Now that I read your sign it makes sense why she made the hugging motion." I was thouroughly happy. Joni Mitchell didn' just make my day, or my week, or even my year... She made my LIFE!

Jean

(From:JAN201@aol.com)-First of all, I must say that it was really fun meeting everyone! It added a lot to the whole experience. What an amazing, incredible, glorious day it was!! My husband, Phil, and I bought two of the wildly overpriced ponchos as insurance against the rain and, what do you know, it worked! So thank us for the dryness! Did anyone notice that during Joni's set the sky went blue for the first and only time that day? What does this mean? I'll tell you, I was close to tears during her first song, she's so totally cool and in control. At first I thought that maybe her voice cracked, but then I realized that her voice don't do nothin' that she don't want it to do! I couldn't help comparing this show to the first one I saw in 1969. Sure, she had that sweet angel soprano then (and I'm glad to have a bootleg recording of that show!) but now her voice has such depth and richness and sensuality. And in those days she seemed terrified between songs. Now she obviously enjoys herself, seems so comfortable with the crowd, the music, with her own body. She comes across as a paragon of sagacity, an elder blessing us with gifts from heaven. The whole day so far exceeded my very high expectations. I'm so grateful that I was there, that Phil was with me, that I met so many lovely people, and that it didn't rain! My love to all the great JMDLers I met, I'm sorry that I didn't have a chance to meet everyone that was there. The day sped by. Phil said on the way back to the Bates Motel where we stayed that her set seemed short. I agreed but told him that she could have played for three days straight and on the forth day we would complain that it was too short!

Wally, you really were missed, but we were thinking of you!

Peace & Love-
Jan

(From:kwong@netscape.net)-My gratitude to the jmdlers who got there so early to save the rest of us a spot. I never dreamt I would be that close to joni. The one thing that was a pleasant surprise for me was the hugh number of joni fans....there were thousands and thousands of screaming joni fans around me.

Joni and the band were simply amazing, I started getting teary eyed during the first few notes of Hejira. The new songs are superb, and the covers were a lot of fun, joni obviously enjoyed them as much as the crowd. I thought the set was way too short, Lou's seemed much longer. I am not sure if it seemed short because I was so mesmerized. Brian Blade was a perfect bandmate for joni. Her voice sounded really terrific, better than she ever did, and especially on Just Like This Train and Trouble Man. Trouble Man was done with a LOT of soul, Marvin would have been proud. She looked wonderful, radiant and very comfortable playing to such a hugh crowd. I wish I could remember more from the concert, but I am still in a state of shock, the whole event seemed to fly by in minutes.

I was very touched when a young lady on crutches made it all the way from the back of the crowd to the stage to present flowers to joni.

My only regret, nothing from Blue. I was not expecting it, but was praying that she would change her mind and play something from Blue. It is such a critical piece of work. Joni, if you happen to read this before your Oct/Nov tour, please reconsider. We are not asking you to paint starry night again, just exhibit it for us one more time, please.

Kai Wong

(From:millers@albany.net)-Dear Wally-

I was one of the lucky ones to be present for Joni's debut performance at the former farm of Max Yasgur on Saturday, August 15th. In fact, Joni is the only reason I was present. This was the fourth occasion that I've had tickets to be with Joni, but it was my first time in her presence because the earlier three shows (going back over the past 15 years or so) in this greater upstate NY/New England area were cancelled. Happily, she more than made up for the long dry spell around these parts by sharing heaping helpings of her soul-stirring self with a considerable number of appreciative fans.

While your "real audio/video" account of the show matter-of-factly states that Joni performed a 76 minute, 15 song set, I assure you that the first hand experience was a timeless, dreamlike trip into the realm of suspended animation (even in the absence of controlled substances), featuring vibrant renderings of works past, present and future. If you had asked me how long she played, and the specific sequence of songs, I'd have been hard pressed to provide you answers. While there's clearly a place for facts and figures in this world of ours, IMHO a review of this performance is not one of them.

Did you happen to catch the magical moment after Joni's ice-breaking song (Hejira) when she mimed a big hug to a fan waving a sign with a message in her direction? That one little gesture spoke volumes of the true interactive nature of this event. Similarly, I've seldom seen such immense respect shine from the faces of an artist's fellow band mates as was evident while they sat watching the show of Joni's singular talents throughout "Moon at the Window." Had I only heard, and not seen, this particular work performed I would never have believed it if you told me that she was not accompanied by a bassist during that song -- absolutely amazing. This fact came as quite a revelation to me as I always imagined certain dimensions of Joni's unique sound were attributable to the stalwart bassists that have accompanied her over the years, however, seeing is believing. In this regard, it seems that the abstract illustration of Joni near the top of your "Day in the Garden" web page is especially appropriate.

Another enlightening aspect of Joni's performance was gaining exposure to some of the stories behind some of the songs. These ran the gamut from tiny vignettes imparted during the performance of a song, like when she pointed out a particular verse of "Big Yellow Taxi" that Dylan contributed ("late last night I heard the screen door slam...") and then sang that verse ala Dylan, to much more comprehensive background sketches of the context for other songs, like "The Magdalene Laundries." While the meaning of this later song had hit me like a 2x4 on first listening long ago, I noticed that several folks around me seemed to be thrust headlong into a new understanding with the prodding of Joni's explicit elaboration. Likewise, Joni struck just the right balance in juxtaposing the "then" and the "now" of the place we were gathered in, and the respective times surrounding it, as a preface to her encore, solo performance of "Woodstock." Hopefully, the essence of that message was already unmistakably conveyed through her inclusion of the likes of "Sex Kills" and "Slouching toward Bethlehem." (Of course, even the inclusion of a profound personal favorite like "Centerpiece/Harry's House" would not have penetrated certain members of this crowd).

As you might expect, great expectations accompanied me on my first journey to be in the presence of Joni. In fact, it's as if I had a "reservation" going back some fifteen years to the first of three cancelled performances I had tickets for. Suffice it to say that Joni's performance transcended all of my expectations, and I left the former farm of Yasgur feeling thoroughly satisfied, grateful and blessed.

Sincerely,
Paul Miller
S. Bethlehem, NY

(From:Sarah.Storch@tudor.com)-Before departing from New Canaan CT for Bethel, I perused my floor and, stacked comfortably, one on top of another, were two albums, one, Joni's Clouds and the other, one of Sarah Vaughn's first albums. Having been a devoted lover of Joni's irreplaceable talent for 31 years, I never had the honor or seeing her perform. Saturday left me moved to tears, as 20 feet or so from stage, I sensed her priceless spirit which she has so generously shared with millions for decades. My mother was an avid Ella and Sarah Vaughn fan and we used to pretend we were singing 'scat' , a form of singing unique to jazz. When I saw and heard Joni lose herself in Summertime, I was able to fully appreciate the expansiveness of her talent. Joni's evolving style does not live by the expected guidelines of popular music as it presents itself today. She continues to capture the true essence of timelessness in her poetry and melody. To watch her rejuvenate a song such as Trouble Man while still exerting the same depth of emotion as she sang Woodstock opened me up to understand her true genius and talent. She is a beautiful soul, a work in progress, who has brought immeasurable joy and hope to my life. To her I will be eternally grateful.

God bless you Joni

(From:Veena7@aol.com)-MAGICAL!!!!!!!!! A Perfect day!

(From:Calthapal@aol.com)-Wally,

I'm sending you white healing light. I hope this finds you well.

I drove to the concert alone. No one I knew would come with me. Their loss, I had a fantastic time; and the crowd was great. Although, some women I met there were hoping Joni would play her old stuff from "Ladies of the Canyon". I told them it was very unlikely that she would. I said that Joni is so far beyond that time. She is a tremendously productive artist, and that such an artist is focused upon the now of what they're doing. Not, what they already did.

Predictably, she played Big Yellow Taxi and Woodstock. She's very respectful to her audience. I especially liked "Moon At The Window" from Wild Things Run Fast", because it's always been one of my favorite jazzy pieces of hers.

I especially like the new direction Joni has taken in her musical approach, and am anticipating her new release. Performing "Summertime" was a special treat, and her presentation of Woodstock was very good. Her voice now has a sultry sound, which is very sophisticated. Yes, she's a very "sophisticated lady".

As a whole, my sole purpose in going to this concert was to see Joni Mitchell perform. More so than just reliving "Woodstock". Joni Mitchell added the right touch of class. Ritchie Havens, Lou Reed and all the other performers were great, but my heart belongs to Joni's set. It was fabulous!! I bow to the light in her. :-)

Liz Vreeland
Coastal, New Jersey

(From:RDale@erisco.com)-After a positively desultory, sullen and intrusive set, Lou Reed finally exited the stage on Saturday around 3:45PM...fourty-five minutes after his supposed finish time. I only say this because it seemed so short a time that Joni actually got to play her set.

And what a set it was: typical Mitchell! Beginning with "Hejira", she moved effortlessly into "Comes Love", "Hapiness is the Best Facelift" and "Summertime" by the Gershwins. It was, to say the least, one of the most entertaining and light-hearted Joni's I've ever seen. She was confident, loose, swagering, swaying and smoking...and the crowd adored her! The only drawback was that Klein's bass was amped up a bit too much in the mix so at times it was hard to hear Joni and her chords. But for the most part, she has pulled together a tight little ensemble which matches the complexities of her mood and music perfectly.

Other highlights included a solo "Just Like This Train" and a moody, atmospheric "The Magdalene Laundries", complete with a biting intro by Joni. "Slouching Toward Bethlehem" was also very convincing especially given the new 'live' arrangement. Of course, most of the crowd came to hear "Woodstock" (the theme song as Joni put it) and she was so lovely singing it: sad, a little mournful, tinged with regret. She was able to pull the crowd through various mood swings just by the sheer power of her voice, guitar and masterful stage presence.

"A Day in the Garden" validated what we have known all along: Joni Mitchell is one of the most original, endearing and enduring artists of our generation!

(From:netgirl@ctos.com)-Hello to fellow Gardeners & Listers!!

First I want to say what a genuine treat it was to meet and party with Lori Fye from San Antonio, Suze Cameron and her hubby Nate from Michigan, Sue McNamara, Brian Gross from south Jersey, Amy and Patty from Michigan and Ohio, Robbert from Holland, Kay Ashley, Don Fluke and his friend Gene, Mendi and her pals Mary and Joe, Jan and hubby Phil, Deb Messling and her boyfriend Fred Walzenfree (!), Heather, Brian and his wife Mrs. Chilihead (!), Simon, and Kai Wong -- my only regret of the entire weekend was not spending more time with all of you, AND missing all of Pete Townsend's set, and... well, perhaps not finding something a bit less "rustic" than the Starlite Marina and Lodge! It was meeting all of you and sharing our Joni-love that really made this whole experience such a wonderful event and memory!

Arrived late Thursday night and hooked up with Lori at LaGuardia, the first in a series of happy and synchronicitous moments... Met the very hospitable and easy-going Suze and Nate the following day at the Starlite. Together we made our recon mission of the former Yasgur farm on Friday afternoon. Heard the the tail-end of Don Henley, and most of Stevie, until the rain chased us away. I'm glad I can say that I got rained on at old Woodstock! Later that day, met the vivacious Amy and Patty, then the loving Jan and Phil, all of them also staying at the sanitationally-challenged Starlite (!). Partied in the parking lot with Joni blaring from the Amy-Patty Party Van. At one point as I was walking toward the music and the happy JMDL Gardeners, I was struck with the awesome sensation that we were all there with the common purpose of seeing Joni because of our strong and long love for her and her music, a feeling that, even a few years ago, I couldn't imagine embracing!

After imbibing and laughing, and running around videotaping people with the shaky-cam (!), we awoke early the following morning and made it to the festival gate at 7AM, plenty of time to stake out the prime left-center-front of the stage. As we unpacked some contraband (water, cameras, etc.), we unfurled Suze's AWESOME poster (JMDL [heart] JONI), and just before Joni's set, we got the permission of the surly-looking security guys in the pit to tape it to the front of the fence in front of the stage so that Joni could see it -- imagine our laughter and cheering when Joni strode out on stage with a camera to take our picture in front of it!! THANKS, SUZE!!! Melanie and Donovan were fine, but I really got my mind blown by Richie Havens -- he's the same as he ever was -- it may as well have been 1969!

Most of what you've read in earlier reports says things about Joni's set that I can't add to with any eloquence or volume. I was lucky enough to be standing a mere fifty feet away from her, my view unobstructed -- a mainline to Joni. I could see every expression, hear every PERFECT note (and I do mean perfect!). It was pure bliss. I was awestruck, and then not so surprised -- it was everything I'd hoped to experience and more. I was very glad to hear some of the tunes that others had heard at the Wash./LA concerts, and more glad to see Joni's incredible band. Larry Klein: when he wasn't looking on with total love and admiration at Joni weaving her magic, he was jamming wildly with the beaming Brian Blade -- what a duo! Greg Liesz added mezmerising accompaniment on lap steel and electric guitar very soberly and professionally. Mark Isham, another highly accomplished veteran, blew out some tender howls on trumpet from behind his Foster Grants, and as cool as his demeanor was, I could see him smile every so often at all the cheers and shouts of love coming Joni's way. Thanks to those more clear-headed individuals who have recounted the set list -- I was rocking out in my little bit of heaven. It was sheer rapture.

Jan's right -- although Joni's set seemed somewhat short (Lou Reed jacked up the jam at the farm by playing a very long and sizzling set) -- we could have listened for hours and still have asked for more. There were a few moments when the very idea that I was standing in The Farm and about to see/was seeing/had just seen Joni, as well as Melanie, Donovan, Richie Havens, Lou, and Pete Townsend... it struck me full force -- it was truly epic and astounding. I'M SO GLAD I WENT!!!

Thanks again to Don "Captain Tailgate" Fluke, Mendi and her JMDL blanket (!) and her pal Joey with the digital camera, Brian Gross and his Joni yearbook (and a tasty preview of Tape Tree #7), SueMac for snapping the photos and being our press rep, Robbert for gifting me with a Joni boot-CD of her '94 Toronto concert (soon to be made available to Simon and Brian), Spy-man Simon (quiet, and with reason!), Frank Tortorici from "Addicted to Noise" for reaching out to Gardeners for interview material, Suze for her wonderful banner, and EVERYONE for making it such a great and memorable time. Special thanks to Lori, Suze and Nate, and Brian for driving around vehicle-free me! Thank you again to Les for setting us up with the Garden list, Wally for being our General, and to the stern-looking security guy who, with total cool and professionalism, agreed to take some of my JMDL Gardener tags backstage to Joni and the band! (I have no doubt she received them!)

So many details to remember, but so many boxes to unpack, so thanks for reading!

Much love to all,
Kate in CO xoxoxox


(From:DwntwnVnus@aol.com)-That was one of the best experiences of my life! THE CONCERT WAS GREAT! All of the other performers were ok, but Joni was great!!! For most of the concert, my boyfriend and I were far from the stage, but when it was time for her to perform, we snuck our way up to the front. It was amazing! I was so close to her, I could see her earings!! We were about 20 feet from her, it was so cool! I even got eye contact and a smile from her!!! It was great!! She looked so good, and very happy to be there. She did wonderful, playing every song beautifully!! The only bad thing is that the concert was too short. She should have played longer, the crowd would have loved it. It was obvious to me that the majority of the audience came to see Joni more than anyone else. I hope she realizes that and plays more events like this in the future!!!!!!

(From:dsmith@rny.com)-I too, am one of those people who have known and loved Joni through her music since Song to a Seagull first appeared many moons ago. Having played her albums to death, knowing every inflection, every chord, every lyric, when I found out that she was going to perform only 3 hours away from my home I couldn't believe it! Before I died, I was going to see my love with my own eyes, breathe the same air as her, watch her move, see her live!! Standing there 70 feet from the stage, waiting for her to come out, I asked a young lady to pinch me, I couldn't believe it was happening. I was so ecxited and yet scared. The whole thing was slipping into a surrealistic void. What if seeing her broke the spell? You know what I mean? What if, after all these years of worship, she walked out on stage and was too real, too human, a bit goofy, not so pretty, her live delivery not up to my expectations? Then all was lost... all those dreamy years gone! I would certainly be the sire of sorrows!!

Needless to say, through her short set, my new friend in front of me had to pinch me at least 10 times. When she started singing Hejira I started crying. When she lit a cig., I lit one too. A young yuppie girl next to me (being mauled by her older buffoon boy friend who was yapping loudly about what he wanted to eat) asked me for one and upon seeing my wet cheeks exclaimed "You're crying ? how SWEET!" I choked out "I love her!!" I couldn't believe my reaction, my outrage that they could talk through that sacred song. How could ANYBODY talk about food at such a sacred moment in my life!!!

I don't remember much about the concert except I was mesmerized by her voice, her smile, her sexy, jazzy movements and style. I did feel cheated that I had to hear new material that I wasn't familiar with and wanted to her ANYTHING known.

Now I know that she is real. Not some 'body' out there like all the rest that rise to the forefront of our consciousness as special people known only through modern technology from afar.

(From:david_fairall@troweprice.com)-Just returned from a great weekend in NYC, which included a magical experience in Bethel on Saturday, and I immediately logged onto the Joni site to check out the reviews!! I'd have to say our experience mirrors many of those posted, and sentiments echo most of those expressed. It was memorable day, to see Joni and her terrific band at this venue, one that we won't soon forget. We drove from Baltimore to NYC on Friday night, and hit the road early in the morning arriving at Yasgur's farm around 9:15.

We jockeyed for position and staked our claim to a great spot, with excellent sightlines, just at the crest of the first hill, to the left of the sound booth. From this vantage point we could see clearly, and more importantly, hear everything. It seemed Joni would never get on as we endured Melanie and Donovan, (or was that really Mike Myers doing a parody of Donovan), loved Ritchie Havens, and survived the interminable Lou Reed, (I agree... what was he doing there!). Finally we were rewarded by a musically rich performance by Joni and her band, emphasizing new material from the upcoming album, that exceeded our lofty expectations. We were surprised by the emotional catharsis we experienced, (being lifelong Joni fans), upon hearing the opening strains of Hejira. Wow!!! I truly believe some of this new music is her best work, as she continues to impress and awe us with her musical growth, and especially her guitar playing. Larry Klein and Brian Blade are a fantastic rhythm section, and the inclusion of Greg Liesz, and Mark Isham provided wonderful colors to a expansive musical palate. I couldn't resist turning around a few times to soak in the ambience of the huge crowd in this historic natural amphitheater and reveling in the fact that Joni had finally arrived at the site of an event she chronicled brilliantly with "Woodstock". Her comments at the introduction of the encore, "I guess I couldn't get out of here without doing the theme song", were poignant, as the event's very name was derived from her masterpiece anthem of that generation. I'm hopeful that this won't be the last time we get to see her perform, but don't think anything can compare with the magical combination of Joni and the rolling hills of Yasgur's farm.

(From:scam1@freeway.net)-I have finally been able to absorb Saturday's concert to the point where I can write about it, so here goes...

Being on this list has given me the perspective that Joni is a person. I remember at Julie's bash in April, Bev, she of the fishpond and writer's contest fame, said that she would almost rather not meet Joni for fear of the image being shattered (not her exact words here folks, but you get my drift). Since that time I have though long and hard about this statement, especially after Pearl and Kakki got to meet Joni and the dream appeared not so distant.

Guess what I wanted to convey about the Garden is that we were so close to Joni that you could see the tar stains from smoking on her teeth. This image will always stick with me. She is a person. She revealed her humanity by acknowledging our presence with the snapshot of us. She showed it by miming the hug to the woman with the sign. Her genuine pleasure in the performance was punctuated by the large smile that spread across her face as she reentered the stage for her encore. She had heard our chants of jo-NI and was responding.

Amy said that she would pay to hear Joni recite the alphabet. This thought has some merit since in another life Joni must have been a storyteller. When you listen to taped interviews of her she is mesmerizing. The story of how Night Ride Home (which I sorely missed hearing at the Garden) came about is just as satisfying as the song itself. Joni, you could go on a lecture tour and fill halls with your stories. If you ever have to lay down your guitar for whatever the reason, please consider this option.

Something truly paradoxical happened to me Saturday at about 4:00 P.M.. As I waited for the crowds to disperse after Lou Reed so I could get a closer spot for Joni, the opposite happened. While the selfish part of me was quite upset, I gloried in the fact that the crowd absolutely swelled before Joni appeared. Men with flowers, women with signs, groups other than ours with banners. Something else transpired too. The fans for Lou Reed were rowdy, chanting LOUUUUU before songs were complete. No such occurrence for Joni's performance. Everyone around me was rapt in the music, giving the respect that her art deserves.

You may notice that I have written nothing about how she sounded or the way she was dressed. I will leave that to the experts. I would have paid the entire ticket price to hear her and the band's tight 70 something minute set only, it was that good. What I really wanted to comment on was something that Joni said during her introduction to Woodstock. "One of the hippie values I still adhere to is the Rainbow Coalition," she said. Oh how this stuck to me as I looked around at our group with tears in my eyes. Young, old, African American, Asian, Caucasian, thin, fat, left wing, right wing, from Hoboken to Holland, Colorado to Ft. Lauderdale, we embody the spirit that Joni referred to.

Thank you to everyone from the Joni Mitchell Discussion List (JMDL) for making this Day in the Garden very special. Thank you Joni for giving a performance I will remember for a lifetime. Last but not least, thank you Wally for taking the time to create this homepage that has provided me the opportunity to know so much more about Ms. Mitchell's art and given me the chance to share that love with other fans. Get well and God bless.

(From:VGerhard@harcourtbrace.com)-I certainly can't add much to the reviews already given, but it was a thrill just to be in the same place as Joni. I do have one story that I'm sure you all will find as amusing as I did. A 40-something woman on the blanket next to me at the top of the hill asked to use my binoculars. She gave them back to me and said that she was a huge fan of Joni's, that when she was 15 or 16, she and all her friends idolized Joni, and when her album Tapestry came out, they played it over and over and knew every single word. I didn't bother correcting her, I just let her go on. Then later she asked me what that one big hit off the Tapestry album was (she tried to give me a storyline for the song). I told her I'd have to think about it, but I added that Blue was a popular one, hoping to jog her memory. She didn't seem to know Blue. But she at least seemed to be enjoying the show. My friend and I wondered if Joni would break out Smackwater Jack.

(From:ttc15718@taconic.net)-All I can say is, "Now I can exhale...I've finally seen the most gifted writer, poet, musician, ARTIST, of our time. Her performance was incredible. She is truly the best, and I feel blessed that I could be there".

"Thanks, Joni, for putting my inner-most thoughts and feelings into the most beautiful poetry and music ever written. You're a genius and I love you!"

And thank you, Wally. Take care...peace and love be with you.

Joanne Daniels -- Eastern, Upstate New York

(From:spoon@csi.com)----Well, unlike most of the people who wrote in about the concert, I did not go to this concert after years of loving the music of Joni Mitchell. As an often naive eighteen year old college freshmen, I wasn't all too familiar with the artist, and it is likely that if the name was told to me a few months ago I wouldn't have recognized it(sacrilege I'm sure), but I am pleased to state; now I understand. It went down like this. The girl I am now dating, the beautiful Ms. Lara Fondow, is an avid Joni fan. By far her favorite artist of any sort is Joni Mitchell. She has a formidable vinyl collection, with a notable amount of Joni records; not bad for a young college student. Anyway, after only a few months of seeing this girl on a few occasions, it became insanely clear how important the music of Joni Mitchell was to this her. I respected that, but being a young rock star of a different genre myself, I did not understand. One night a month and a half or so ago, she mentioned that the next album of Joni's that she wanted was her original release "Joni Mitchell". I assured her that I would find it for her, on Vinyl. She didn't believe I would. As a side-note I did find it and order it, but when it came in the mail it had been destroyed by the postal service. EXTREMELY sad site to see. VERY rare album on vinyl. But most importantly in searching on the Internet I ran into this very site. I was amazed when I read that Joni Mitchell was playing a concert. I knew this was something very special, because it's not every day that Joni play's a concert. I dug a little deeper and decided that it was imperative that this girl experience this. I swear I had heard her say before that she could die happy if she saw Joni Mitchell. I had to give her her dream. The only hitch...æ The concert was in New York (of course) and we live in Wisconsin... I searched for any cost effective method, but to no avail. The only feasible way for two poor students to make it was.... "Go Greyhound!". I called her that day and by the night we had tickets ordered, bus route planned, and we were set to go. She cried as I read her the confirmation numbers for our ticketmaster reservation. I currently have no dreams that I can fulfill on my own accord, so I pride myself on being able to fulfill others dreams. To see Joni in concert was definitely this girl's dream.I would make it happen. Soon we were closing in on the date and she took the opportunity to educate me about Joni. Also one night I read the lyrics from most every album she has. I really connected with a lot of them, which surprised me. They were just words, but they spoke to ME. That was weird. That was Joni. The song "All I Want" is the story of my life. I, amazingly for me, was getting excited to see Joni Mitchell; previously unknown, in concert. When we got on a bus in Green Bay Wisconsin at about noon we knew we would be on that bus for a day, literally. It ended up taking 30 hours, no lie, to get to Monticello, NY. From there we were lucky to find a shuttle from the bus station to the site. We arrived on Friday at around 6:00. When the bus stopped going through the amazingly quiet roads in Bethel, we arrived at the site, and were stunned. It was real. The thirty hour bus trip was done, and we were there. We got a campsite at Woodstock on the Lake Campgrounds. It's quite beautiful and seeing as we had no form of transportation other than our feet, it was very close, about a mile walking distance. It was insanely close to the site, and it was unbelievable that we got the last site. I swear this trip was meant to be. We found the way to the campgrounds and on the way it started raining. It wouldn't be woodstock without rain, right? Well it wasn't nice when you had approximately one hundred pounds of gear in a camping pack on your back, with both hands filled with sleeping bags and duffel bags with clothes. We forged ahead though, the music of Don Henley, easily heard from our campsite, helped us continue. We finally arrived at the site and checked in at the dry Office. As we enter the attendant asks, "Did you guys walk" and we said yes, he asked, "Well where are you from?" and we told him Wisconsin, and said "You walked from Wisconsin?" Though it felt like we had the truth was almost harder. The 30 hour bus ride took the life out of us and put permanent cricks in our necks, but we kept going, just a little more of a hike to our campsite. It was "Crappie 5" and after going from 27,25,23... we finally got to five and we got a burst of adrenaline to set up our tent. Soon the small bump of dry space that we would call "home" for the next few days, was finished being erected. We put our stuff inside and as soon as we got out of the rain, it stopped. Very odd. We then went to sleep. The day ahead required our best. We had no alarm clock, just a will to wake up. Somehow my counterpart amazingly awoke at 6:30 AM. Perfect timing for our start to our day. Must have been Women's Intuition again. Thank God for it. We did our things to get ready and left the site at about 8:15. We arrived at the gates at about 8:30 and they let us in; gates were supposed to be opening at 9:00. But that was fine. We set out our blanket about 50 feet from the stage, just to the left of center. We were pleasantly surprised to get so close. We sat and soon the music began. After watching some microphone checking by Donovan, the official event began with Melanie. She was good. I didn't connect with her too much. Then Donovan played, and he was very cool. Then Richie Havens played, and he rocked. Then Lou Reed played, and we decided our best bet was to move up for Lou Reed so that when all the punks there for Lou left we could easily move in for Joni. The plan worked smashingly. We ended up about 5 rows of people back and about 3 people left of center. About 15 feet from Joni herself. As we waited there we were very anxious to see her.æ When we saw a glimpse of her through the backstage it almost killed my friend. She like freaked out and she squeezed my hand so tight. But soon I realized I was squeezing back. I was overcome by the energy of the crowd and I too was beginning to understand. When she walked on stage I was just amazed at her presence. She was definitely the act that people were there to see. As she played people didn't dance or do much of anything but watch in awe at what she was. As she played I bent over and whispered to my lady friend, "This IS real". It all seemed so surreal to me, it must have seemed impossible to her. Then Joni played more and more. I was beginning to understand more and more. When you are that close to the stage the artist can't help but look at you, and every time she looked at me, I got chills that started all the way down in my ankles and went up to my neck. I still do just thinking about it. I'm sure anybody who was close to the stage knows what I mean. It was very intense for me, and understandably it was a little too intense for my friend. She almost passed out, and she had to sit on the ground for a while. Her skin, normally the color of the beautiful pink butterfly dress she wore for the occasion, had turned a pale yellow. She was going to lose it. I held her tight to let her know I was there. A most generous women behind us gave her a Hi-C which was the boost she needed to get her through. I also found a water bottle discarded on the ground which I splashed on her forehead. Soon her face restored some color and I helped her get up. She made it through the rest of the concert happily and still amazed. I was glad, because I don't know what I was supposed to do had she passed out. If she did and I left her there it would be mean, but if I helped (dragged) her back to the medical tent she would kill me later for missing part of the show. Luckily we made it through. Joni really made an impact on me that day. I was totally amazed at her presence. And the music was excellent. I believe she was smoking "Newports", but maybe someone could help me on this one. I didn't get a great look at the box when she slyly pulled a smoke out of her pocket just before rolling up her sleeves for "Summertime". It was soooo cooool... Oh and the whole time she played she kept getting and giving looks to Larry Klein. It was very cute. After that we ate and Pete Townsend played. He was good, but he was no Joni. At the end of the day I understood what the big deal was. Joni is one of those artists that all people can get something out of her work. "Cactus Tree" brought a new understanding to the girl I went to the show with and her tendencies with relationships. And "All I want" describes what I want in the relationship. So, the real question now is... We got along great through all 60 hours of bussing and all three days of camping, but can a "Cactus Tree" really love an "All I Want"? So far so Good, and I'll keep you posted...

-Paul Baumgaertner -

(From:soundlab@idsi.net)-I thought Joni's performance was beautiful, amazing, breath-taking!! It was a dream come true for me. I grew up with her music and at 29, I love her still. Some folks here in NY felt like she was entirely too "into her own thing" and found this to be her downfall. Personally, that was exactly what made her so beautiful and impressive to me. Here is a lady who has seen enough, felt enough and become enough of herself that doing her own thing comes naturally and smoothly. She was there for her fans, the people who love her and support her. Standing there, barefoot on the grass, I was able to really see how much she truely loves those of us who have been devoted to her all these years.

Diana

(From:neil.tracey@virgin.net)-Well they all said I was mad, the only person who really understood was my ex-wife. She said I just had to do it. Wales to Woodstock and back in 3 days! When I saw it on the web a few weeks ago I nearly passed out. Joni...and playing at Woodstock ! After 20 years I was going to get the chance to see my female idol, the greatest female singer/songwriter in the world, noƒ. probably just THE greatest solo artist in the world. I spent the day on the phone and the Web, getting tickets, checking flight schedules and finding hotels in NYC .

Friday August 14th , London Heathrow Airport to JFK New York, arrived in the city about 6pm , desperately trying to stay awake until about 11pm, my body was telling me "hey..its 4am in England !!"

Terrible night's sleep, scared to death about oversleeping and missing my Shortline bus up to the site.

Eventually arrived at the site at about 10.30am, getting off the bus and seeing the place that I'd seen so often in the News and films was wonderful, it was almost a pilgrimage. I enjoyed Richie Havens & Lou Reed but couldn't wait for them to finish. Over the hours of their sets I'd managed to slowly work my way to front of the crowd on the left of the stage where the artists came on. The atmosphere was wonderful , people were amazed that I'd flown in from England just to see Joni, but they understood !

When she walked onto the stage I was struggling to hold in the tears, but then "Hejira"...I lost it. I'll admit it, I'm a 40 year old man and I cried all through the first numberƒnot big sobbing tears but just the emotion of seeing her since I fell in love with Hejira in 1978, it was too much. 1978, that's when I first heard "Hejira" and have been devoted ever since.

I won't comment on each number, we were there and know just how sublime a performance it was. She looked great and sounded fantastic. I said to another fan I met, that if my plane went down on the way home to the UK , I'd probably die happy ! Sunday morning 6am, at JFK again, home at 1am Monday morning in Wales, very tired but very happy.

Thanks to all the Americans I met that day who made me very welcome. Thanks to Joni for a truly wonderful performance and making it a weekend that I shall never forget.

Joni..if you do log on and read this...you have a huge following in Britain...don't forget about us!

Neil Tracey.

(From:Chilihead2@aol.com)-
Saturday August 15th, 1998:
A Day of Fine Gardening
The Chili Review

I have been home recovering from a back operation involving titanium, bonefusions and bills that but for insurance would have buried me like an avalanche. When everyone was out on the West Coast enjoying the shows I hadjust gotten out of the hospital and there was simply no way I could go. So,when I heard about the Garden (just 2 weeks before the show) and Lori F of the JMDL having extra tickets, there was NOTHING that was going to keep Mrs.Chili and me from going to the garden.

Gardening has always been a part of my life. Not fancy bourgeois gardening. My grandparents were just old Yankees who gardened big time. Corn, lima beans,tomatoes, stringbeans by the bushel. One of my earliest memories is being twofeet tall and running through a corn field. They may just as well have been Sequoias. I can't say exactly when I heard Joni's song that beckons us to the garden but when I did hear it, I understood instantly the need to get back in the garden. The garden of Eden, or just any garden. The need to let green moss grow around you like an old tree. The need for sun and water and clean air. The need to be naked in the rain and laugh all the way at thunderstorms and hurricanes.

Debbie (Mrs. Chilihead) and I live and garden two hours from Woodstock. People living in the Northeast are experiencing a great year for gardening in 1998. Hot weather makes hot chilies. The tomatoes are big and ripe and juicy as summer in the young blood. So when Joni and her band decided to plant themselves in that old hippie garden it became a fine year for gardening indeed!

The 1967 VW camper couldnÍt make it. So at 5:30 AM we took the Jeep and headedfrom New Fairfield to Woodstock. A journey from one hill country to another and as we crossed the Hudson, I pictured Joni flying over it like a blackcrow. It's one majestic river to skate away on!

When we got to Bethel at about 7:30, we came upon our own child of God. Her name was Mary. She was walking along the road. She had her face pierced and we took her on board. Her boyfriend had dropped her off. Seems her mother was going to be at the show but she wasn't sure. I said , "So you sure couldn't have been at the original Woodstock." She smiled a shy smile and asked "Were you guys?". Hummm? I guess I look mature for my age?? Oh well, I guess it's been all that gardening, the weathered look. Yeah that's right. Oh well, Happiness is the best face lift and certainly much cheaper than the surgical alternative.

Mrs. Chili (Ms. Chili whichever you prefer) and I, had never before met any JMDLers; however, they were not hard to find as we approached the Garden gate.Siquomb shirts sprouted like mushrooms after a rain. At 7:30 AM, the JMDLers and people in general were upbeat and ready for a day of Fine Gardening. At the Garden gate we met her royal highness the Queen Amy, her friend Patty (as sweet as a peppermint Patty!), Ron and Deb, Lori and Kate from CO and more. Names are not my forte. I remember peoples' hearts. And let me tell you, theJMDLers I met in the garden were a bunch of very good hearted gardeners who I felt that I had known all of my life. But what else would you expect of Jonipeople? (Sadly, our Wally was missing and everyone was asking about him).

Kate from CO made these wonderful tags with the inscription "JMDL Gardeners" along with pictures of some characters gardening in sepia tones. They hung off our necks with jute twine and helped to bond our tribe of JMDL gardeners for the day; like a temporary tattoo. Thank you MS. Kate!

The gate opened early. before 9. The tribe of gardeners sprinted like it was the gardening Olympics down hill to the stage. I hobbled up and we are VERY CLOSE. "Can't wait for Joni", "Can you believe how close we are?", "This is beyond my wildest expectations". These words appear and disappear over and over like smoke from a cigarette.

Debbie (Mrs. Chilihead) and I go to buy some stuff from the dozens of vendors set up in white canvas topped pavillions. We buy a disposable camera. We buy a teddy bear made out of hemp with a statement on its tag explaining how we can save trees if we use hemp to make paper. We pass a purveyoress of tyedyed apparel. I like a T-shirt. She explains that it has a hole in it and is going for $15 not $30. She is a very pretty young twenty something with skin as clear as Joni"s on her For the Roses cover. I have a white shirt on. Part of my corporate uniform. My hair is short. I remember when I had it halfway down my back. "I'm an undercover hippie", I confide to her. She smileswith her flawless face and Joni cheek bones, "Oh, good , I thought you were a narc.". We laugh. There are many vendors. One is selling peace signs which he claims to be made from the original ï69 Concert fencing. They are $25. On we go. There is a bumper sticker that reads, "Cheap people suck!". I really like that one and regret later not buying it. There are books. They've got the beat. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Snyder. Books on Acid Art: A history of the artists who embellished LSD. There is a T-shirt that plays off the "GotMilk" Ads, it says, "Fuck Milk, Got Pot?". We are laughing and other people are laughing too. I see the red eye badge of the "Cannabis Club" here and there among the crowd. They are sure of themselves and happy instead of paranoid like the members I meet in other places like the A & P. We meet up with Amy and Patty at the "Official" T-shirt booth. We are trying to decide should we buy a T-shirt now or wait until later? Amy has heard that the vendors pass among the crowd selling the T-shirts at half price.

The food vendors are in a separate but identical white canvassed tent with high pointy peaks. There is only one vendor that appeals to me. "Catskill Morning Farms" has what appears to be the freshest yuppie fare. Goat cheese. Cookies. Focaccia. Peaches and apples. Mrs. Chili buys a chocolate chip cookie for $1.50.

When we get back to the stage we pass around my little FAT notebook as an impromptu JMDL guestbook. I draw a sun with a face at the top of a page. "Official JMDL guestbook: You were (were is crossed out with a big x and replaced with are). You ARE there! Gardeners please sign in...." And the gardeners who signed in are as follows. Please bear in mind there were many more JMDlers and many more BIG Joni Fans who just weren't lucky enough to find the JMDL but maybe someday will. And the Gardeners:

Queen Amy and Sweet Peppermint Patty (Amy"s friend who now believes in Siquomb) The Great, The Very Great Kate from CO! YEEHAW! Silent Simon, the essence of cool, all seeing and hearing-- Mendi who reminds us "Remember to live life large when you can!" Heather who advises "Live and let live---Simple and sweet" and also added a "No smoking" illustration Mr. Brian G a gentleman, who asked JMDLers to sign their names by their favorite Joni song in the Lyrics book

"Well you do what you gotta do, even if that means flying in from Holland to see her. Really wonderful meeting all of you ! Love Robert" Kay A who wrote, "So great to meet you JMDLers in the garden and to hear Joni 29 years late which is just in time for me as I am 29!" Jan who came with her husband Phil and wrote "For three nights I've been too excited to sleep. Tonight I'll finally get some rest!" Gene and Don The hosts of the after concert party at the RV. Don wrote he's "been with Joni for 30 years." and finally Kai who made his way down to our not so secret place. My apologies for not mentioning all of us, next time, and I hope that's very soon, I hope we can get everyone to sign the guestbook.

And now it's showtime folks!

Melanie. That's right the Melanie of "I've got a brand new pair of roller skates fame" is on stage with her three children. Two daughters one a bottled blond and the other a brunette are backing up their Mom with sweet faces and sweet harmonies. Her son, Beau who Melanie tells us is 17, plays acoustic guitar very well. He is muscular and handsome. Mrs. Chilihead thinks he's very cute. I am not jealous, I am just 20 years wiser! Melanie beams pride like a sunflower. She is wearing a patchwork hippy chic dress which makes me think of something an earthmother would wear when hugging her children. She is sexy and pretty.

Melanie fills in her life for us with her songs and her talk between songs. A large man with a pony tail and greying hair, is identified as her husband and a record producer. Melanie sings a song about her life in Florida. About suntans, wrinkles, collecting seashells and turning them into lamps for herfriends. She tells us that she has been invited to host the Anniversary ofAmnesty International and she calls it the highlight of her career. We sing "Look what they've done to my song Mom". Remember that one? Many do including the french lyrics, too!

When Melanie ends her set, a woman begins to distribute some toys "for free" to the children sitting near us. An eighties materialism suddenly manifests itself in the garden and we are nearly trampelled by adults who are trying to get "theirs". Mrs. Chili aka as Debbie, and I want one, but retain our dignity. We later find that an area has been set up for the kids ofconcert goers to play in and these toys are called "Zoob dudes", a type of LEGGO for the nineties.

We make our way back to the stage waiting for Richie Havens. Debbie writes in the official journal that "there is lots of pot smoking and tye die at this point".

What becomes apparent from the beginning is that Richie Havens is first and foremost a storyteller. He would make a good trial lawyer. He is intense and precise. Loud and Clear. Strong and Centered. He says a lot of things twice without boring you but just making sure that you're with him. I remember an interview over a decade ago with Howard Stern. Howard commented to Richie that he was "all over the place" with advertising. Richie said, "no" that it wasn't him doing the vocals for ads, he said there was another guy who sounded just like him.

For those of us who were there and the cyber concert goers, we saw that Richie Havens doesn't play, he works out. His purple kaftan was dripping wet midway into the set. He told a humorous story about Aliens, telling us that they were among us. He said they were little people who call you "Daddy" and tell you which containers to put your recyclables in. He advised us strongly,waiving a finger, to "make friends now!"

Richie's band consisted of a guitarist who did a loud rendition of Jimi's (as in Hendrix) "Star Spangled Banner" and a conga drummer. My general impression of the sound was that it was strong, spiritual, lunchtime music for hungry gardeners. Richie finished with "Freedom". I heard someone in back of me say, "He sounds like he did 30 years ago. That's what I like about him."

After Richie's set, we decided not to venture out for fear of losing our prime garden real estate. This was the equivalent of Maui Oceanfront with a view! People began to encroach on our turf. The Amazon women, Patty, Mrs. Chili and Amy defended the turf and sharpened their spears. I saw someone with a T-shirt that said "We must kill the beast." It was a mock petroglyph of warriors spearing a television.

Lou Reed came with the largest entourage so far. They were dressed in black. They were loud. They were the bad boys. They played. They rocked. They played and played and played. I moved my head and body to the music, I was not in the garden, I was at club in New York with cigarettes and people brushing past me with their drinks. I heard some disparaging comments about Mr. Reed. The Joni people wanted their Joni now. Mr. Reed did not play "Wildside" and I wondered why? Was it the politically incorrect lyrical content, the lack of the necessary back up vocalists? He did, however, play a lot of other tunes. I am sure that to some it seemed as though he played ALL of his other tunes.

Waiting for Joni. The wait for Joni was winding down. It was like the countdown to the lift off to some wonderful and new spacecraft. The cyberjoniphiles were waiting there with us; not in the garden but still very much a part of it. We adopted several people sitting next to us by offering them badges and welcoming them to our tribe. Tick Tock. Our hearts were beating an anxious rythm. We could see people behind the stage through the scrim. Where was our Joni? Was that her daughter? Her grandson?

JONI. JO-NI! JO-NI! This was the mantra that rose up from the faithful. Thousands of them. We were being compressed. Our territory was shrinking. Joni's people were filling in every vacant space like the blocks of Manhattan. Some had signs. The JMDL sign was hanging directly in front on the fence that separated us from the stage. It was getting hot. I had already taken off my shirt during Lou Reed's set but now I wished had some cold water. I am sure that if it were 30 years ago, we would all have been wearing a lot less! It got hotter. It was very humid and electric just like the air just before a thunderstorm. The thunder, the mantra, continued. The first bolt of lightning,the band, took the stage. Joni waited. The tease I always knew she would be. Then Joni like a second lightning flash, took the stage. More thunder from the crowd.

She began with "Hejira". Her voice jazzy and smoke tinged and our Joni was looking fine, just like a movie queen. At 55, still the beautiful diva we know her to be. She had on a comfortable outfit, sort of ñdesigner safariî. It was dark hunter green, loose and billowing. She had sandals on her self described "big feet", one of our common traits. Adjusted people with big feet just resign themselves to it and laugh about it.

As Joni moved through her songs, her jazz style continued sultry and sizzling like the weather. She paints her songs with fine brushes for detail and then she liberally squeezes the blue, making broad strokes on the canvas.

In the second song, "Comes Love", Mark Isham's trumpet solo was sweet and lonely. At one point in the song, I blew a kiss to Joni and we made eye contact. She looked over at us JMDLers and said, "Thank you". Or at least this is how I remember it. Her songs were intoxicating like good California wine.

Joni's sense of humour is still there. She gave us a taste of Taming the Tiger with, "Happiness is the Best Facelift". Her smile, a sincere smile, was constant throughout the show. She was clearly happy and I hope when I get to be her age, that I look as good as she does. Her generation is redefining what it's like to be fifty or sixty or even seventy something. It's not old anymore.

By the fourth song, "Summertime", a wind blew in and took off some of the humidity. It became instantly more comfortable. Again very very jazzy. Joni interpreted this song cigarette in hand and waving her arms slowly. She was flying. Joni's cigarette smoking is almost like a Hollywood movie, she makes it look sexy. She looks like she really enjoys it. Nicotine has been demonized especially in recent years, and rightfully so. But that night I accepted Joni's smoking as part of her, as part of what makes her Joni and makes her art, and hell, what gives that smoky color to her songs. To my side, I saw a young man in the audience, holding up his cigarette and smoking right along with her. They were sharing cigarettes from a distance. I am sure he'll remember that smoke for a long time.

After "Summertime", it became a Zen moment for me. The band all dressed in green or black or both. The crowd wrapped in Joni's music like a spell. Then "Crazy Cries of Love", "No Apologies" and "Sex Kills". I had just become an Aids volunteer when I first heard ñSex Killsî. Hearing it that night still brought goosebumps to my skin. "Sex sells everything" and I think of all the ads showing half naked young people selling fragrances and clothes and then "Sex Kills" and I see the people I know with Aids or at risk. This song drifted and cut through the garden with an edge like a razor.

Through much of the concert, I was standing next to Robert (from Holland) and Sue McNamara. Mrs. Chili, Amy, Patty, Kay, Don and Gene were directly in front. Sue quickly learned what kind of Joni fan I was. I knew about half the songs. I have all the albums, but I am a selective listener to some. Blue is my sacred songbook. Hejira my navigational map. On some albums I just listen to one or two songs over and over and over, to name a few: "Job's Sad Song","Dog Eat Dog" and "Come in from the Cold" and now the "Magdalene Laundries".Before Joni sang this song, she explained that the Magdalene Laundries existed up until 1972 in Ireland and Britain as prisons for women who were pregnant or unmarried. They were modern day workhouses; the women sent there were slaves to the nuns until their deaths released them. Someone from the crowd yelled, "Thank you Joni". Tears were sliding down my face by the end of the song. This song is about victims. A tear jerker pure and simple in Joni's inimitable style, drawing out your emotions without being schmaltzy. The very next day, I got out my Turbulent Indigo and listened to that song about 10 times.

Sue shouted to the stage, "You're a genius Joni". Someone else shouted, "Your lyrics are my Bible."

Of course, what garden is without it's "Black Crow?" For those hip enough to notice it, Joni subtley turned into her self chosen symbol right on the stage and began to fly out over the garden above the heads of the crowd. A real Don Juan moment. The song hangs on her lips like cigarette smoke and she blows it out at exactly the right time.

Next came "Moon at the Window" which Sue informs me is off of Wild Things RunFast. Ok, I admit there are one or two albums I don't have, but lucky me, I get to "discover" them now! I tell Sue,"I really am a Big Jonifan--honest!". Sue breaks into that easy smile of hers that makes you feel like you've known her all your life, "I know you are...who else would sort through all that (JMDL) mail?"

Joni slides from one song into the next. She is making eye contact with the audience and smiling but she is not talking to us between songs. Seems this evening she is preferring to talk to us through her music, which is just fine with me. While she doesn't do any Blue songs, she does some Court and Spark. The train ride begins. Sue turns to me and says again with her smile, "Just like this Train". I laugh and say, "I DO know this one!"

"Big Yellow Taxi", perhaps her best known song sung by her, is expected and delights the crowd. I think about the 36 years I have been alive and how Suburbia has eaten the coast and the farmland of my Connecticut. I really hope it stops soon. Just big ugly houses everywhere. I want woods and trees for my kids and kids of all ages. I really hope this song inspires people to give land to land preservation. I think about the farmland that is still left and the pristine coastline still remaining. This song has a serious message, but it is light and funny. Joni does a Dylan impression and the crowd laughs.

Joni introduces the band: Brian Blade on drums, Mark Isham on trumpet, Larry Klein on bass, Greg Liez on steel guitar. The next to last song is "TroubleMan", a Marvin Gaye tune that I am unfamiliar with but with the applause at the beginning it seems many gardeners are. She is swinging. Holding onto the words, blowing them into the crowd. The crowd is wild.

Joni and the band leave the stage. The JO-NI mantra starts up again. LOUD. LOUDER. EVEN LOUDER. JO-NI, JO-NEE, JO-NEEE! Joni comes back smiling. She says, "I can't leave without playing the theme song." She tells us we are a beautiful audience. She says that she missed the "first one". She talks abouther generation. Joni is one year younger than my mother. Joni says, "My generation was given a pocket of liberty. We were a minority (the hippies)." She explains that they got a chance to experience minority prejudice. She says that she is still a member of the Rainbow Coalition. She also says, "There is no such thing as free love these days."

The theme song is over. History is made. Joni has made it to Woodstock after 29 years. She has made it back to the garden. Many JMDLers have made their own Hejira to this place from all over the country and even farther. I say goodbye to the people who are staying: Amy, Patty, Heather, Simon, Kate, Deb and Ron and more people whose names I do not remember but whose faces I will not forget. I introduce myself to Mendi. We walk back up the hill. The Townsend gardeners are moving in to claim our real estate. Debbie and I are with Kay, Robert, Gene, Don, and Brian G. We stop to buy a souvenir for Pearl who could not make it. Don and Gene have brought an RV decorated with a huge yellow sign with the blue letters: "JMDL". People stop and talk. They want to know what JMDL stands for? We sign Brian G's Joni book by our favorite song, "The LastTime I saw Richard". We came for conversation and it was very very good. The people at that party had a lot of style and big hearts. Tom R was there and we got a chance to get a copy of his jazz CD. After a couple of cold drinks, Debbie (Mrs. Chili) and I head back through the mountains to the Northwest Hills of Connecticut.

This week, I am in our garden. It is late summer. The gladioli are in bloom. They are purple, yellow, and red. My mother comes over to help can stringbeans and peaches. Debbie digs the garlic handed down by her Sicilian grandfather. The kitchen smells of pesto and ratatouille. This August is hot and tropical. I am reminded of Alphonse Mucha's depiction of summer in his 1897 calendar, she is a beautiful pregnant woman with a sunflower. I have a secret place in my garden. I go there and listen to Joni music and think about that green place in our hearts that calls us back again and again to hear the songs of the Earth and the harvest and The Garden.

-Brian Mansfield

(From:rubberdude@email.msn.com)-i have dreamed a million times over seeing joni in concert. as soon as i discovered the tour i ran to the ticket office and bought my ticket for sunday night. we decided to go early just to be near the dreamy voice. saturday night we're walking with a couple friends who had tickets to the concert entrance. a man leaving hands a ticket stub to my friend and we decide that now i had to find a ticket for myself. earlier one of our ticketed friends was harassed by an ex boyfreind who happened to be a scalper and he saw me walking around. do you need a ticket he asked me. yes. yes i do. he hands me a ticket and tells me to tell his ex that he's a nice guy. i said i would tell her whatever the hell he wanted and me and my free ticket went skipping through the gates. unfortunately the before mentioned ticket stub that had been handed to my partner in crime didn't get her in and as those of us who had already passed through the gates stood around in bewilderment the head of staff came over to us holding a ticket and said you look like you need this more than anybody else. here, he said handing the ticket to me, go get your friend. and, he added, this is a 14th row ticket. have fun. once down in the 14th row my friend found a stub for me and we both enjoyed the best night of our lives watching a dream come true just feet away from us. and man did she sound good!

Patrick Sullivan

(From:steelequip@pgh.net)-I attended the show with 5 of my 50 something pals who were in our group of 12 or so from Pittsburgh who in 1969 made the first event. Having been a Joni lover since the beginning, and having seen her last in Pittsburgh in 1974 or so, I was ecstatic at the opportunity to see Joni again and to be back in the Garden.

Joni has to be the most sensual female on the planet. The way she moves absolutely kills me.

As reported by others, the show was terrific. Joni's voice was dead on, powerful, perfectly inflected, and just sexy as hell. I was five or six rows back from the stage, surrounded by all you Joni lovers.

I am amazed at the missing info avail here on Joni.

Thanks.

Dev Lemster


A Day In The Garden was a three day event featuring Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Pete Townshend, Ziggy Marley, Ten Years After, Lou Reed, Richie Havens, Donovan, and others. It was broadcast live via the Internet by Infoseek.


JMDL Member Comments

Kate Tarasenko: Hello to fellow Gardeners & Listers!!

First I want to say what a genuine treat it was to meet and party with Lori Fye from San Antonio, Suze Cameron and her hubby Nate from Michigan, Sue McNamara, Brian Gross from south Jersey, Amy and Patty from Michigan and Ohio, Robbert from Holland, Kay Ashley, Don Fluke and his friend Gene, Mendi and her pals Mary and Joe, Jan and hubby Phil, Deb Messling and her boyfriend Fred Walzenfree (!), Heather, Brian and his wife Mrs. Chilihead (!), Simon, and Kai Wong -- my only regret of the entire weekend was not spending more time with all of you, AND missing all of Pete Townsend's set, and... well, perhaps not finding something a bit less "rustic" than the Starlite Marina and Lodge! It was meeting all of you and sharing our Joni-love that really made this whole experience such a wonderful event and memory!

Arrived late Thursday night and hooked up with Lori at LaGuardia, the first in a series of happy and synchronicitous moments... Met the very hospitable and easy-going Suze and Nate the following day at the Starlite. Together we made our recon mission of the former Yasgur farm on Friday afternoon. Heard the the tail-end of Don Henley, and most of Stevie, until the rain chased us away. I'm glad I can say that I got rained on at old Woodstock! Later that day, met the vivacious Amy and Patty, then the loving Jan and Phil, all of them also staying at the sanitationally-challenged Starlite (!). Partied in the parking lot with Joni blaring from the Amy-Patty Party Van. At one point as I was walking toward the music and the happy JMDL Gardeners, I was struck with the awesome sensation that we were all there with the common purpose of seeing Joni because of our strong and long love for her and her music, a feeling that, even a few years ago, I couldn't imagine embracing!

After imbibing and laughing, and running around videotaping people with the shaky-cam (!), we awoke early the following morning and made it to the festival gate at 7AM, plenty of time to stake out the prime left-center-front of the stage. As we unpacked some contraband (water, cameras, etc.), we unfurled Suze's AWESOME poster (JMDL [heart] JONI), and just before Joni's set, we got the permission of the surly-looking security guys in the pit to tape it to the front of the fence in front of the stage so that Joni could see it -- imagine our laughter and cheering when Joni strode out on stage with a camera to take our picture in front of it!! THANKS, SUZE!!! Melanie and Donovan were fine, but I really got my mind blown by Richie Havens -- he's the same as he ever was -- it may as well have been 1969!

Most of what you've read in earlier reports says things about Joni's set that I can't add to with any eloquence or volume. I was lucky enough to be standing a mere fifty feet away from her, my view unobstructed -- a mainline to Joni. I could see every expression, hear every PERFECT note (and I do mean perfect!). It was pure bliss. I was awestruck, and then not so surprised -- it was everything I'd hoped to experience and more. I was very glad to hear some of the tunes that others had heard at the Wash./LA concerts, and more glad to see Joni's incredible band. Larry Klein: when he wasn't looking on with total love and admiration at Joni weaving her magic, he was jamming wildly with the beaming Brian Blade -- what a duo! Greg Liesz added mezmerising accompaniment on lap steel and electric guitar very soberly and professionally. Mark Isham, another highly accomplished veteran, blew out some tender howls on trumpet from behind his Foster Grants, and as cool as his demeanor was, I could see him smile every so often at all the cheers and shouts of love coming Joni's way. Thanks to those more clear-headed individuals who have recounted the set list -- I was rocking out in my little bit of heaven. It was sheer rapture.

Jan's right -- although Joni's set seemed somewhat short (Lou Reed jacked up the jam at the farm by playing a very long and sizzling set) -- we could have listened for hours and still have asked for more. There were a few moments when the very idea that I was standing in The Farm and about to see/was seeing/had just seen Joni, as well as Melanie, Donovan, Richie Havens, Lou, and Pete Townsend... it struck me full force -- it was truly epic and astounding. I'M SO GLAD I WENT!!!

Thanks again to Don "Captain Tailgate" Fluke, Mendi and her JMDL blanket (!) and her pal Joey with the digital camera, Brian Gross and his Joni yearbook (and a tasty preview of Tape Tree #7), SueMac for snapping the photos and being our press rep, Robbert for gifting me with a Joni boot-CD of her '94 Toronto concert (soon to be made available to Simon and Brian), Spy-man Simon (quiet, and with reason!), Frank Tortorici from "Addicted to Noise" for reaching out to Gardeners for interview material, Suze for her wonderful banner, and EVERYONE for making it such a great and memorable time. Special thanks to Lori, Suze and Nate, and Brian for driving around vehicle-free me! Thank you again to Les for setting us up with the Garden list, Wally for being our General, and to the stern-looking security guy who, with total cool and professionalism, agreed to take some of my JMDL Gardener tags backstage to Joni and the band! (I have no doubt she received them!)

So many details to remember, but so many boxes to unpack, so thanks to the List for reading!


Kenny Grant: I'm ... watching the "webcast" and have a few thoughts of my own on Real Audio (no offense to Tunajon or anyone else who's enjoying this):

First, they should change the name to Real BAD Audio. Any fan of Real Audio was also probably a great fan of transistor radio. Oh, I don't think we can blame the poor sound quality on my $180 speakers either. Theoretically, these offer me an enhanced experience compared to those listening with standard speakers.

As for the video, the 2.5" by 1.75" window is a total insult to anyone who is familiar with the technical innovation known as the television. The lack of synch just adds insult to injury.

And the fact that a full 20 or 30 or 40 minutes can elapse without the "webcast" being interrupted by "net congestion" should not be hailed as an achievement. If ABC or CBS or HBO had regular, predictable interruptions in their broadcasts they would all be out of business.

I can't stand all this "wowie, this is so cool, what will they think of next" sh*t when it comes to PCs and the internet. This technology is NOT READY for public consumption, PERIOD. It is far more primitive and inferior to existing methods of broadcast, and I for one am PISSED that someone decided to give the broadcast rights to a micky mouse company like Infoseek instead of a company that knows something about the business of broadcasting and has the technological ability to pull it off properly.

I'm not even sure that this "webcast" qualifies for the "better-than-nothing" category.

As for listening to Joni this way, I think I'd experience her with more clarity if I threw Blue into my CD, put on This Flight Tonight, and put "bye baby, baby goodbye, ooh, ooh, love is blind" into continuous loop...


Kakki: Oh Kenny, and here I was just thinking of how us watching it on the tiny, blurred screen is like the early days of infant TV where people huddled around a bitty screen thinking it was the most amazing thing since sliced bread. I also thought optimistically that a year from now they'll probably have it totally perfected. Guess I'm Bill Gates' favorite kind of customer!

Tommorow as Joni performs I will be unvoidably away from home and computer (grrrr). Can someone please tell me if the broadcast will be archived for replay later?


Gr8fulDave: Ken, just be glad you don't have webtv in this instance. No picture and Realshittyaudio.

New slogan: RealAudio® - Making your $5000.00 PC sound like a cheap AM radio!


Tunajon: WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
randow thoughts:
great horn player
decent audio quality
joni's the most beautiful woman in the world!!!!
JMDL banner just before just like this train
was great
I cried
I'm a sap.........
she's gotta tour!
fantastic set!


Kingpin: I just watched it all, thanks to my technical adviser, Terry! Kenny is right though; quality stinks but it's better than not having it at all. A couple of surprises in the set list which is always welcome. I still think a couple of piano tunes need to be included in her sets, dammit! :)


Mark Scott: Well it was rough but I just listened to most of and saw a tiny bit of Joni at the Garden. I'm really envious of the people who got to see and hear it live. It's sounds like they were giving Joni great support! Way to go, JMDLers!

What I could hear of 'Summertime' sounded awesome! Joni is developing into quite the jazz singer! 'Comes Love' was great too and she sure sounded soulful on 'Trouble Man'. What was the song after 'Crazy Cries of Love'? Is it from TTT? Something about the general gave no apology. Anyway, even though my connection kept cutting out and not much video made it through, it was great to get a taste of the show as it was happening. Long live Siquomb!


Ken Slarty: Was that something else or what.! Even with the dinky little video and the so so sound I was blown away. As the original Woodstock was an historic event I think this was also very important because of the live video and audio over the web. Something akin to when the Beatles did the first live world wide satellite broadcast where they sang All you Need Is Love. Loved "Nothing can be done" (if that's what it's called) it gave Joni a real opportunity to show what she still can do with her voice and she looked like she was having a great time. The big poster from the JMDL with the big heart showed up fine though unfortunately I couldn't make out any faces. And boy the crowd was really with her from what I could hear.


Michael Yarbrough: Joni's Vocal Performance was the highlight of the show, from what I could virtually tell. "Comes Love," "Magdalene Laundries," and "Slouching Towards Bethelehem" sounded like the highlights to me. I have never heard her voice so well-colored, so emotive. And that was with streaming audio. Can't wait to hear the t*pe tr*e.


Kenny Grant: Well the crowd at the Garden was HOWLING!!!

How loud? REALLY LOUD!

I'm proud of the JMDLRs who attended the concert live (the CHEERING section), who were LOUDER than the fans of any other artist so far!

Thanks, guys and girls, and thanks JONI (and band) for a great set and stupendous sound (despite the technical shortcomings of a webcast.)


Alan Poff: I just joined this discussion group last week. After my first post last week I received, literally, dozens of welcome letters from people all over the place. Thank you, this is really a warm, caring, and interesting group of people. I guess it shouldn't surprise me, considering the shared interest that brings us be interested in each other's thoughts in the first place. What a wonderful use of technology this is.

And speaking of appropriate uses of technology... in this case a counter-example; I just finished watching and listening to the Webcast of Joni at the garden (is she one of the most beautiful souls on this planet, or what?), and while I have to agree with Wally that "It's certainly better than seeing or hearing nothing," I am definitely with Kenny and gdave in my lack of respect for this technology. When I think of all the gigabytes of bandwidth that are being wasted, pushing 100 channels of SHIT to everyone on the local TV cable, while the one media event I'm interested in is only available over my modem... sigh... when is someone going to offer a combined TV/web service based on pull technology? You could still channel surf; just scan the available programming; and the quality and speed would be mind blowing! Oh well, someday... Since the cable TV people are making lots-o-money now, it probably won't happen until enough people have direct access to fiber. (Still, if any of you are rich media execs; there's a business opportunity there! Most families currently pay over $100 a month for phone + TV + web access, when it's all just bandwidth and access to programming.)


Brian Mansfield: What a time! What a day in Joni history! My wife, Debbie and I, met some of our fellow JMDLers for the first time today at Yasgur's farm. Joni finally got there and so did we. Let's just say JONI WAS SULTRY, SIZZLING AND THE DIVA AND GODDESS WE KNOW HER TO BE. ( Took some notes, I will be collaborating with Sue to get an article out for the home page.)

By the way if any of you gardeners picked up a green and tan cotton jacket that you don't remember bringing, can you send it my way?

We had an impromptu official jmdler guest book, but if you were there today, can you send me your name and address. I will send you a special bookmark to commemorate our day!

Special thanks to Don and Gene for their hospitality and after concert RV reception! Also, to the great lady who made the tags we wore (sorry I don't remember your name, but I sure remember you!)

Too Blissed out to write anymore.
Love you guyz! Thanks for a wonderful day.


Michael Paz: Just had to send a note before going to bed. The show today was incredible and the system almost behaved its self. I only missed three songs. All in all, it looked to me like she had a great time and did not seem nervous or anything. I wish I could have been there live. Unfortunately I could not catch a glimpse of any of our brothers and sisters out there, but I could here you. Safe trip home to all and hey Joni why don't you make this concert thing a habit, New Orleans is lovely in the fall and hey we could do dinner at Maximo's.


Brian Mansfield: It was wonderful to read the posts from the people who listened and watched over the web yesterday. It was like the countdown to a liftoff of some new and wonderful space vehicle.

I am still so filled with emotion from yesterday's show. We were SOOoooo close. I blew her a kiss and she looked over at us JMDLers, made direct eye contact, and said thank-you.

WHAT A DAY!!!! WHAT A LADY!!!


Deb Messling: Be proud, but be aware that the JMDL section was a tiny fraction of those cheering. After Lou Reed's set, I expected the crowd around me to thin out, but instead people rushed to the front to position themselves for Joni. There were many signs (ours the best of course, thanks to Sue Cameron!), a guy with roses, and general warm and fuzzy vibes. One of the signs said, "CAN I GIVE YOU A HUG?" and Joni responded by hugging the air. So cute!!

I hope Joni got the message that she is loved and appeciated.

Some sketchy observations:

Can you spell GORGEOUS? Joni, with your bone structure, it's easy for *you* to say "happiness is the best facelift." I've never been this close to Joni before, and it was such a treat to see every facial expression and gesture with such clarity.

Cutest moment: she pulled out a disposable camera and snapped a picture of the crowd.

She appeared warm and relaxed, albeit not as chatty as at some shows. She gave the standard intro to "Magdalene Laundries."

I was very impressed that she did not pander to feelings of nostalgia and Woodstock-era self-congratulation. She called the Woodstock event "a pocket of liberty" and said that the sixties generation got a chance to experience living as a minority in this culture. (To my ears, she seemed about to say that we didn't retain the lesson, but maybe that's my ears). She said that the main value she retained from Woodstock was the idea of the Rainbow Coalition (huge cheers).

Favorite performances: I loved them all, but I was unexpectedly delighted with "Trouble Man." Smoking! Also really liked "Slouching," "Sex Kills," and "Black Crow." Guess I was in the mood for loud.

The overall Experience: how delightful to meet so many JMDLers. We are a well-mannered, intelligent, and extremely good-looking bunch, are we not??

I heard a lot of disparaging talk about Visa/MasterCard, expensive food, and too many rules, but at my age I appreciated the efficient organization of the festival. For all that, I happened to sit in front of a couple of druggie burnouts always on the verge of collapsing on me. When they lit up a cigarette I thought for sure my hair was gonna catch fire. Such is life.


Heather: HELLO!!!!!!

What a day for this old teenager ;-) !!!!

Singing - "The first time a saw Joni there were 30,000 strong!" (approx.) Whew!

She was radiant! She was escorted on stage on the arm of Brian Blade. They were both beaming! She was wearing a tan canvas camp hat (I want one). She had on a chocolate colored outfit with the jacketed over part having a black vertical stripe through it. She took that off almost immediately and rolled up her elbow length sleeves up over her shoulders because it was so hot and muggy. The crowd cheered! Joni gave a campy little up pull on her blouse as a playful tease! She has a great sense of humor. Her outfit was accented by a jade colored beaded necklace that was loosely tied in a knot and jade colored dangle earrings. The pants of her outfit were a madrid style (loose and up over the ankle) and she was wearing brown, open-backed flat, sandals with a leather piece that comes between her toes. All earth tones! Simply lovely! Her nails were painted a dark mauve color. She had on a beautiful silver bracelet on her left hand with a gold ring on her middle finger and (what's this!) it appeared to be a diamond on her ring finger. Set in silver (?) white gold (?) it was hard to tell. Sue Cameron and I were discussing this. It may have been an opal. It was so shinny! Hopefully, one of the other JMDLers wrote down the set list (Deb?). She performed: Hejira (opened), Crazy Cries of Love, The Magdalene Laundries, Black Crow, Sex Kills, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Facelift, Just Like This Train, Big Yellow Taxi and she encored with Woodstock to which the crowd was very pleased! Those are NOT in order and I know I left out a few. It is from memory, though. One that I can assure you, this JMDLer will NEVER forget! The JMDL was well represented: Amy, Brian & his wife, Brian Gross, Deb, Kate, Sue Mc, Kai, Simon, Robert, Sue & Nate (thanks for the wonderful sign!), Don & Gene, Mendi, Lori (where were you?). If I left anyone out, please forgive me. I'm still very tired. After traffic and all I didn't get home till 3:00 am.

Joni has alot of fans. As put by Deb in an earlier post, I too was surprised by the rush of people to the front for Joni. This was sooo great to see! She has to see that we all love her!

Larry Kline, when not playing, was always just off to the side with this big grin on his face - just smiling at Joni. He knew she was just thoroughly enjoying this concert.

I'll write more later as my old gray matter remembers more. I'm going to have some breakfast now.

Oh what a day yesterday was for me! It felt so surreal!

PS - Melanie was good, Donovan was good, Ritchie Havens was excellent, Lou Reed stunk (never performed "wild side" and Pete Townsend wasn't very good from what I could hear (all my humble opinion)


Sue McNamara: I'm still on cloud 9 but I would like to just run off a quick note to all my fellow gardeners and the list that I had a phenomenal experience yesterday, and although the ultimate dream did not come true (I did not meet Joni personally) being in the press line right in front of the stage was more than I ever hoped for and I wept openly during her first three songs!

I'm sorry I was not able to meet up with the gardeners after Pete Townshends set but as Brian can attest to I twisted my ankle three times walking in at 9:00 a.m. and by the time I met up with my brother in the middle of Pete's set my ankle looked like a balloon! I decided not to navigate the crowd back to the front row and after the concert drove back home. I wanted to get a shot of all of us in front of the Woodstock memorial but the day was just a whirlwind. I loved meeting all of you and LET THE JONI CONTENT COMMENCE!! I will be writing my full report this afternoon and also I am going to get my four rolls of film from Joni's set developed.

PEACE AND LOVE!!! JONI MITCHELL NEVER LIES!!

My eternal thanks to Frank Tortorici for being my media press pal and showing me the ropes. I had a great time, Frank!!


Mendi: Joni sprinkled star dust all over the entire performance at The Garden. The audience soaked it up and collectively gave back volumes of love in return. All of us were happily surprised by the volume of people who closed in around us when it was time for Joni to take the stage. It was body to body touching. All of a sudden out in this large expanse there was hardly any air to breathe. What air was left was warm to hot as people attempted to fill even the tiniest of real-estate that was or was not claimed by people or possessions. It's true that with other performers the crowd would press in a bit. But with no stretch of the imagination it became sardine time for Joni's set. The JMDL was up front and center. It was GREAT to see that we were not alone in our love for Joni. We would start a chant of "Joni! Joni!" those around us picked it up with heartfelt intensity. Many around us had signs expressing their love and gratitude. In my next post I will speak more about the JMDL'ers and that special connection, for now.... Joni.

JONI - I was at the Gorge and I thought it was truly special. I put The Garden right up there and in some ways better. Why? Many reasons, IMHO.

1) Joni's voice was on, on, on. Sue C. made a statement after the concert, at Don's camper where some of us gathered, that had a lot of merit. Her comment suggested that Joni could put her guitar down and jazz you with her vocals in real style. She knew what she wanted to do with her voice and she did it.

2) Her voice was sure and full of confidence, she sang and moved with ATTITUDE.

3) At the Gorge you could sense that the band was helping her to ride the waves. There was nothing bad about that. I have some endearing memories of some of those moments.

At the Garden the band knew that Joni was full center and centered. Joni needed them to play great and they did. But she didn't need them to be confidence boosters. She had it and showed it off.

4) The audience was there to hear, to be reconnected or enlightened, to enjoy and be a part of what was being offered. It cant be over state, a large part of the audience was there to hear Joni. even if some had not kept up with her over the years. Joni had to feel the love.

5) The strong representation of the JMDL. Good people with good hearts and a real love of Joni and her music. To have so many of us there to share this special time with was the icing on the cake of great music that Joni prepared and served with such class.

It was a joy to be a part of. I'm still hazed out but feeling great. To all that I had the pleasure to meet and reconnect with from the JMDL, the biggest of hugs.

It was a GREAT DAY IN THE GARDEN.


Jan Huling: First of all, I must say that it was really fun meeting everyone! It added a lot to the whole experience. What an amazing, incredible, glorious day it was!! My husband, Phil, and I bought two of the wildly overpriced ponchos as insurance against the rain and, what do you know, it worked! So thank us for the dryness! Did anyone notice that during Joni's set the sky went blue for the first and only time that day? What does this mean?

I'll tell you, I was close to tears during her first song, she's so totally cool and in control. At first I thought that maybe her voice cracked, but then I realized that her voice don't do nothin' that she don't want it to do! I couldn't help comparing this show to the first one I saw in 1969. Sure, she had that sweet angel soprano then (and I'm glad to have a bootleg recording of that show!) but now her voice has such depth and richness and sensuality. And in those days she seemed terrified between songs. Now she obviously enjoys herself, seems so comfortable with the crowd, the music, with her own body. She comes across as a paragon of sagacity, an elder blessing us with gifts from heaven.

The whole day so far exceeded my very high expectations. I'm so grateful that I was there, that Phil was with me, that I met so many lovely people, and that it didn't rain!

My love to all the great JMDLers I met, I'm sorry that I didn't have a chance to meet everyone that was there. The day sped by. Phil said on the way back to the Bates Motel where we stayed that her set seemed short. I agreed but told him that she could have played for three days straight and on the forth day we would complain that it was too short!

Wally, you really were missed, but we were thinking of you!


Kai Wong: My gratitude to the jmdlers who got there so early to save the rest of us a spot. I never dreamt I would be that close to joni. The one thing that was a pleasant surprise for me was the hugh number of joni fans....there were thousands and thousands of screaming joni fans around me.

Joni and the band were simply amazing, I started getting teary eyed during the first few notes of Hejira. The new songs are superb, and the covers were a lot of fun, joni obviously enjoyed them as much as the crowd. I thought the set was way too short, Lou's seemed much longer. I am not sure if it seemed short because I was so mesmerized. Brian Blade was a perfect bandmate for joni. Her voice sounded really terrific, better than she ever did, and especially on Just Like This Train and Trouble Man. Trouble Man was done with a LOT of soul, Marvin would have been proud. She looked wonderful, radiant and very comfortable playing to such a hugh crowd. I wish I could remember more from the concert, but I am still in a state of shock, the whole event seemed to fly by in minutes.

I was very touched when a young lady on crutches made it all the way from the back of the crowd to the stage to present flowers to joni.

My only regret, nothing from Blue. I was not expecting it, but was praying that she would change her mind and play something from Blue. It is such a critical piece of work. Joni, if you happen to read this before your Oct/Nov tour, please reconsider. We are not asking you to paint starry night again, just exhibit it for us one more time, please.


Heather: BTW - there were many people during the concert that were asking about all of us JMDLers. We had our beautiful shirts on 9T's and denim), Kate made nice JMDL/garden badges for us, Sue C.'s fantastic banner to Joni. I think there are many Joni fans who are not online or just didn't know about us. We did a good job (I think) advertising the JMDL. Don & Gene had a really big JMDL banner on the outside of the RV that they drove up from NJ (Don - did you get that thing out of there ok? ;-) The RV was statically parked facing people as they were leaving "the garden". The banner had a bright yellow background with JMDL in big blue letters. In size - it covered the front of the RV!! A bunch of us were groovin' to Joni's DJRD and MOA outside the RV after the show ended. People would stop and ask us what we were all about. That was cool.

We are the JMDL and we love Joni - artist, poet, musician!


Amy: Woke up and it's my birthday morning and the first thing that I knew... there were happy birthday greetings... from lovely folks like you.....

This has been a week-long celebration and the best present I ever gave myself was a trip to the garden. I cannot express the happiness and good karma I have been feeling ever since the event. I sat out on our porch with my dear hubby Tom and tried to explain, define, interpret and give meaning to a period of time in my life that would do justice to my feelings...I am still searching for the right combination of words, and the fellow gardeners have done a beautiful job of describing our heartfelt and mutual joni- love.

I began my trip not far from Sue and Nate Cameron's home in Northern Michigan....we were at our humble little cottage for a week of vacation. I left my family on Wednesday evening to begin the first solo leg of my trip to the garden. I arrived home with enough time to check the digest and pick up our mail with the 2 siquomb t-shirst that I had ordered...(just in the nick of time...thanks, MG) On Thursday I began the journey to Ohio to pick up my dear friend Patty, a non-lister and as of then, not a huge Joni-fan. (gasp!) We left her home in Ohio and we were off, stopping overnight in PA., and then off to New York with a few antique and flea market pit stops along the way. We entered Monticello and having missed our turn to the lovely Starlight Motel, decided to run on up to the site and get a feel for where it was and what the drive time would be for the big event. It was about then that it hit me..I am actually in New York and in less than 24 hours, I would be seeing our Joan live and in person. And I should clarify that this was my first Joni concert...and what a way to begin what I hope is a long line of musical events with some of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

We found the hotel, found our new friends (Kate, Suze, Nate, Jan and Phil) and managed to party in the parking lot till the wee hours and the next thing I knew, I was awake it was the next day and it was THE DAY...the day I have thought about, dreamed about, obsessed about...we rallied around, packed the packs and off we went. One of the highlights was meeting up with folks outside the entrance gate and putting faces to screen names...seeing Don and his friend Gene, then Chilihead and his lovely wife Debbie, Simon, Lori, Deb....then the gates were open, they didn't look too closely inside my bag (whew!) and we were on that sacred ground. I must admit, I didn't look at much as we started streaming down the hill on our way to a front row seat...there would be time for vendors and food kiosks later...right now, all I wanted was a piece of Woodstock real estate to call my own for the next 12 hours....a piece of ground that I ended up defending rather stubbornly the remainder of the day. (Mrs. Chilihead, Patty and I were being quite territorial!) We only left the spot once, to check out the vendors, food, drink and porta-potties...note to myself..do not wear overalls with long straps to future events with outdoor plumbing--'nuff said...)

In terms of the music, I was pleasantly surprised with Melanie's set...her band and back-up singers consisted of her family, one son and two daughters, which I thought was groovy...and she really enjoyed herself onstage. Donovan was pretty good, watched all of his set, missed the first of Richie Haven, but was thrilled to be back in my spot for the remainder of his music. Those of us who heard the last song he sang were mesmorized, at least I was...very powerful tune, but do not know the name of it...help me out fellow listers. Then Lou Reed came on, the security guys put in their earplugs, he was rockin and loud but really, all I could think about was be done, be done, joni is next, joni is next!! The crowd was swelling and airspace was getting tight but we prevailed over our little patch of ground...then some really nice folks next to Don and Gene, against the fence mentioned that they would scoot down so some of us could crowd into their space at the fence. Let me just say that this was the icing on the cake...nothing between me and the queen...except a couple of security guards and photographers...made eye contact with Sue Mc at that point, she looked so great down in the pit snappin' shots of all of us...the look on her face was pure gold. I was next to Kay and practically on top of Jan, thank god she's shorter than I, Kate, Patty, Don Gene all to my left...when they announced her name, my throat tightened like I had swallowed a grapefruit, the tears sprang to my eyes and all the noise and confusion around me vanished as I focused on this incredible woman...she was everything I had hoped for and more. I will leave all the musical details to the other listers...I couldn't even begin to describe these precious moments. She played and sang like an angel...pure and sweet sounds that floated out into the air like magic.

After Joni, we hung around for most of Pete Townsend but moved a bit further up the hill, as my body and mind needed a little breather from the crush of people who were there for joni. Townsend was great, and I also regret leaving too early...it sounds like the finale was great, and I remember thinking, gee, I wonder what all those microphones at the back of his set are for...duh! But to be honest, I was already back at the RV having a cold beer with all the jmdler's, so my regrets are minimal...I absolulety loved spending time with all you folks. We were at the RV with Don, (thanks don, you are the king of recreational vehicles!) Gene, Sue and Nate, Kate, Mendi , Mary (thanks for the advil, you saved the day) Joe (fellow rock finder and souvenier seeker), Simon, Brian (generous in many ways), Heather (cookie lover like me)....and some of us had come and gone before we got there, so I missed seeing a few...I only wish we had more time together, but the time we had will be a treasure forever. One of those memories that you can pull up on a really blue day and instantly feel better. What a gift I gave to myself.

And so I will close this first posting to the list with my gratitude and good feelings going out to all of you...it was more than special, and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. The moment I remember on the way home was, my friend Patty looked over at me and says, "you have done it, I'm converted...joni is siquomb, isn't she?....my response, yes, she is.


Roger Walker: Greetings Gardeners & JMDL folks! Woodstock, A Day In The Garden. WOW! What a weekend!

Faith renewed!

Some 29 years ago, I hitch-hiked to this crazy thing called Woodstock, in Bethel, NY. It was a magical weekend. People were smiling, sharing, communing and caring. Some of us went for just the music and the party. And we certainly got what we had hoped for. For others, life got weird! It no longer felt right to simply "talk the talk". We had become a force to reckon with. A half a million strong.. and that was only those who were able to have been a part of it! There were millions of us! We were reminded that our speaking-out was an obligation. We had things to accomplish. Things needed to be re-worked. We had become credible in a trippy kind of way!

For some, the event molded and shaped our individual and collective futures. Activists, each in our own way... ...but activists nevertheless.

Last Friday and Saturday I got to go home again.

My reasons for attending were two: to see Joni and to get a 'read' on the current Woodstock Nation. Incredible is the only was to describe both!

I was worried that the '98 version would not hold up to the event back when I was a kid. It was such a magical thing. I was fearing that the excesses of these times, the greed and self-serving nature of our culture would again win-out and doom this event to being no more than a concert. Things don't really change, right? (...."Is it possible to care and yet, not care".....) Probably nothing bad would happen anyway.

Ah, but happily, I was wrong.

Joni and the boys were everything that I had hope for and you folks truly made this event a wonderful and fulfilling experience for me! Faith renewed!

When my brother-in-law and I decided to attend we were hoping that we'd meet like-minded folks. We were so-o hopeful that the magic would again be there. And sure enough, as soon as I saw your denim shirts and dropped over to chat... well.. it became a very special event. Again.

Meeting JMDLer's gave me a feeling that is indescribable! I felt like I was that kid again... hopeful, confident.

It was YOU who made the weekend very special for me. Folks hooking-up for the first time.. putting faces to virtual signatures. God, that was so-o cool! Things don't really change.... Smiling, sharing, communing and caring once again. The conversations that I was fortunate to have with many of you are still keeping this 'ol smile painted on my face! It's GREAT! Commonality in music *and* in life... Faith renewed!

As much as I didn't want to compare the two events... I couldn't help myself. There were a couple of times that I left the front row and walked up the hill to the back, to look around and reminisce. I thought alot about the things in my life that had changed in the past 29 years. Births, deaths, friends, relationships, history. It was overwhelming. Emotionally intense. Feelings were all over the place....

There were people that I wanted so much to be there.. one in particular, a friend, Marty, who passed away in January. He was my best friend. We grew together for these last 29 years

and suddenly one day... he was gone.

I found myself wishing so-o hard that he was back there with me to enjoy the talents of a woman who we had admired for so many years. To meet so many kind folks, like we had done so many years ago. I sure didn't plan it that way but I was pretty melancholy at times.

But then I met you guys. It was like... it was perfect! You became Marty. He *was* there. I saw him in your eyes. I heard him when you spoke. Happy. Funny. Positive. Intellectual. Caring. He wasn't gone... He just looked different. Now I finally get it... we live in and through each other. When we choose to be... We are one! So when you think about what you "got" at your weekend on the hill, please remember too what you "gave". In 1998, like in '69, there were great folks and great vibes. Things *will* continue to get better.. I know because I met many of you! Were the hope and dreams of the kids of '69 just that? Did we accomplish what we so dearly wanted to do? Did we change the world? Well.. yes. Granted, the changes are slow in coming.. but yes! We are (again) the future. And yes, we really do care... still. Thank goodness!

There will be those who write that the folks at A Day In The Garden were not at all like the kids there in '69. To some degrere they're right. Apathy is a tough thing to get past sometimes.. but I am feeling really good about things. The Woodstock Nation lives! There's a new generation of kids out there and they're gonna do a whole lot of good things. I now know that you and I are anxious to work with them! There IS much good coming our way. We are stardust..... Faith renewed!

You have challenged me to again assess who I am and what I ought to be about. Activism Renewed at 47! Cool! Thanks for that.


Donald Fluke: I can't find any more words to describe Joni's performance, than has already been said. She did give me that warm, fuzzy feeling.

I would just like to add some impressions that happened to me.

As the gates opened, my backpack was searched, and my camera overlooked, I ran down the pasture at Yasgur's to stake out our front row area. All the while running down that hillside, I was so excited, tears rolling down my cheeks, that soon it was going to happen.

I am just so proud and enthused to be a part of the JMDL. What a wonderful, friendly, sincere bunch you all are. I hope Joni will make these moments happen again and again.

When Lou Reed left the stage, the excitement in the crowd grew. Joni is next. Security tightened. Several people behind me had flowers for Joni, but security would not allow us to give them to her. At one point one the the security people said it was ok to give them to her. But...in the end it was not permitted. Sue Mc. tried also but was refused.

Joni came out and the crowd loved her. She really was received well. The JMDL's enthusiasm leached into the crowd around us.

As I changed the film in my camera, ready to shoot my next roll, is when Joni pulled out her camera, panned the crowd and photographed the JMDL'ers. Yes, Joni took our picture as we all stood behind Sue's banner. From my good vantage point Joni recognized us and was proud of us. She knows she can count on us, and I believe she looks for us when she performs. We did cheer the loudest.

Some of us left after Joni to meet back at the RV. Probably a dozen people stopped at the RV to ask questions. Some were lurkers on the list, others were former listers, some knew of us, others had no idea, but the best-------- One guy said that he had followed the list for a while, and he had been able to sneak a video camera into the Garden. He taped some of Joni's performance. I am trying to obtain a copy of this.

Looks like we may have our next Video Tree !!!


Medric Faulkner: It was truly a great day for me. My only regret was that I was unable to make contact with my fellow list members. A delayed plane out of Houston put us at our hotel room in Manhattan at 3:00 AM Saturday morning but we were at The Port Authority to get the bus by 7:45. Erroneous information from my travel agent and the fact that we were out-of-towners caused us to miss the 8:15 bus so we had to settle for the 10:15 which put us at the concert at 1:00. I could see the group but I was unable to get to you from my vantage point at stage right.I cheered and clapped along with you anyway and I was proud of the fact that the level of enthusiasm could leave no doubt that Joni's music is much loved and appreciated. This was my fourth time to see her. Each performance was great. For me, this was the most special. I thought she was in top form and that she chose and ordered the selections with the same care that she prepares her albums. Isn't it amazing the growth she continues to have as an artist. I think she's just hitting her stride. It isn't necessary for me that she have a "hit." All her songs are hits to me. But I can certainly see much potential for her reaching a wider audience with the new album. Each selection that I have heard should have mass appeal and I plan to do my part with requests to the local radio stations. My 22 year old Goddaughter attended this performance and the one at jazzfest in '95 completely unfamiliar with her work. I am encouraged that at young person such as she can become a fan when she has only been exposed to what popular radio is. Our entire conversation on the five hour flight home centered on emotions evoked by individual songs. Her love for the deeply sad Magdalene Launderies lets me know that there is hope for the world with her generation. Finally, I thought it very poignant when the flocks of geese or maybe swans flew behind Joni going home to roost for the night as she sang Woodstock. Was it maybe nature's way of giving her a blessing for a job so well done for so long.


Sue Cameron: I have finally been able to absorb Saturday's concert to the point where I can write about it, so here goes...

Being on this list has given me the perspective that Joni is a person. I remember at Julie's bash in April, Bev, she of the fishpond and writer's contest fame, said that she would almost rather not meet Joni for fear of the image being shattered (not her exact words here folks, but you get my drift). Since that time I have though long and hard about this statement, especially after Pearl and Kakki got to meet Joni and the dream appeared not so distant.

Guess what I wanted to convey about the Garden is that we were so close to Joni that you could see the tar stains from smoking on her teeth. This image will always stick with me. She is a person. She revealed her humanity by acknowledging our presence with the snapshot of us. She showed it by miming the hug to the woman with the sign. Her genuine pleasure in the performance was punctuated by the large smile that spread across her face as she reentered the stage for her encore. She had heard our chants of jo-NI and was responding.

Amy said that she would pay to hear Joni recite the alphabet. This thought has some merit since in another life Joni must have been a storyteller. When you listen to taped interviews of her she is mesmerizing. The story of how Night Ride Home (which I sorely missed hearing at the Garden) came about is just as satisfying as the song itself. Joni, you could go on a lecture tour and fill halls with your stories. If you ever have to lay down your guitar for whatever the reason, please consider this option. Something truly paradoxical happened to me Saturday at about 4:00 P.M.. As I waited for the crowds to disperse after Lou Reed so I could get a closer spot for Joni, the opposite happened. While the selfish part of me was quite upset, I gloried in the fact that the crowd absolutely swelled before Joni appeared. Men with flowers, women with signs, groups other than ours with banners. Something else transpired too. The fans for Lou Reed were rowdy, chanting LOUUUUU before songs were complete. No such occurrence for Joni's performance. Everyone around me was rapt in the music, giving the respect that her art deserves.

You may notice that I have written nothing about how she sounded or the way she was dressed. I will leave that to the experts. I would have paid the entire ticket price to hear her and the band's tight 70 something minute set only, it was that good. What I really wanted to comment on was something that Joni said during her introduction to Woodstock. "One of the hippie values I still adhere to is the Rainbow Coalition," she said. Oh how this stuck to me as I looked around at our group with tears in my eyes. Young, old, African American, Asian, Caucasian, thin, fat, left wing, right wing, from Hoboken to Holland, Colorado to Ft. Lauderdale, we embody the spirit that Joni referred to.

Thank you to everyone from the Joni Mitchell Discussion List (JMDL) for making this Day in the Garden very special. Thank you Joni for giving a performance I will remember for a lifetime. Last but not least, thank you Wally for taking the time to create this homepage that has provided me the opportunity to know so much more about Ms. Mitchell's art and given me the chance to share that love with other fans. Get well and God bless.


Robbert: Greetings from Holland! Well, I made it back home after what has been an amazing trip to America.

I have had the time of my life, seeing 4 Bruce Hornsby shows, Emmylou Harris, Nathalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan at Lilith Fair, Donovan, Richie Havens, Lou Reed, and of course, the main reason for this trip, Joni....

I can't tell you all enough how much I loved seeing her from so close, hearing her and the band perform these 15 songs with so much passion - it was an incredible afternoon and I am still on cloud nine, refusing to come down... it's hard to organize my feelings and put them to paper, so I guess I shouldn't try.

If people ask me why I enjoy her music so much, I always answer that she makes me very happy and very sad the same time. Well, on August the 15th, she made me more than happy for 77 minutes long - or should I say 77 minutes short? Yes, it was too short, but these 77 minutes I will treasure for the rest of my life. I had tears in my eyes and shivers down my spine right from the beginning until the moment she walked off stage with that unbelievable cool swing this woman has...

Joni, it was a long journey, having to fly in from Holland, and it set me back considerably, but expect me to be there again as soon as you will step onto a stage in the near future - you were absolutely amazing!!

I would like to say "thank you!" to all the wonderful people I have met on this trip - Amy and Patty, Jan, Kai, Brian, Chillihead and mrs Chillihead, Lori, and all the others who's names I can't immediately recall, but most of all a big thank you and a big hug goes to Kate, for having organized it all so well, and to Kay, for being such a nice person - I really enjoyed travelling from Port Authority to Bethel with you, and I look forward to that dinner once I return to New York! Thanx also to the entire group of people for having kept such a fantastic spot for me - again, I still cannot believe having seen our Joan from so close! You people are all the best, and I had the time of my life!!!


The Chili Review: A Day of Fine Gardening

I have been home recovering from a back operation involving titanium ,bone fusions and bills that but for insurance would have buried me like an avalanche. When everyone was out on the West Coast enjoying the shows I had just gotten out of the hospital and there was simply no way I could go. So, when I heard about the Garden (just 2 weeks before the show) and Lori F of the JMDL having extra tickets, there was NOTHING that was going to keep Mrs. Chili and me from going to the garden.

Gardening has always been a part of my life. Not fancy bourgeois gardening. My grandparents were just old Yankees who gardened big time. Corn, lima beans, tomatoes, stringbeans by the bushel. One of my earliest memories is being two feet tall and running through a corn field. They may just as well have been Sequoias. I can’t say exactly when I heard Joni’s song that beckons us to the garden but when I did hear it, I understood instantly the need to get back in the garden. The garden of Eden, or just any garden. The need to let green moss grow around you like an old tree. The need for sun and water and clean air. The need to be naked in the rain and laugh all the way at thunderstorms and hurricanes.

Debbie (Mrs. Chilihead) and I live and garden two hours from Woodstock. People living in the Northeast are experiencing a great year for gardening in 1998. Hot weather makes hot chilies. The tomatoes are big and ripe and juicy as summer in the young blood. So when Joni and her band decided to plant themselves in that old hippie garden it became a fine year for gardening indeed!

The 1967 VW camper couldn't make it. So at 5:30 AM we took the Jeep and headed from New Fairfield to Woodstock. A journey from one hill country to another and as we crossed the Hudson, I pictured Joni flying over it like a black crow. It’s one majestic river to skate away on!

When we got to Bethel at about 7:30, we came upon our own child of God. Her name was Mary. She was walking along the road. She had her face pierced and we took her on board. Her boyfriend had dropped her off. Seems her mother was going to be at the show but she wasn’t sure. I said , “So you sure couldn’t have been at the original Woodstock.” She smiled a shy smile and asked “Were you guys?”. Hummm? I guess I look mature for my age?? Oh well, I guess it’s been all that gardening, the weathered look. Yeah that’s right. Oh well, Happiness is the best face lift and certainly much cheaper than the surgical alternative.

Mrs. Chili (Ms. Chili whichever you prefer) and I , had never before met any JMDLers; however, they were not hard to find as we approached the Garden gate. Siquomb shirts sprouted like mushrooms after a rain. At 7:30 AM, the JMDLers and people in general were upbeat and ready for a day of Fine Gardening. At the Garden gate we met her royal highness the Queen Amy, her friend Patty ( as sweet as a peppermint Patty!), Ron and Deb, Lori and Kate from CO and more. Names are not my forte. I remember peoples’ hearts. And let me tell you, the JMDLers I met in the garden were a bunch of very good hearted gardeners who I felt that I had known all of my life. But what else would you expect of Joni people? (Sadly, our Wally was missing and everyone was asking about him). Kate from CO made these wonderful tags with the inscription “JMDL Gardeners” along with pictures of some characters gardening in sepia tones. They hung off our necks with jute twine and helped to bond our tribe of JMDL gardeners for the day; like a temporary tattoo. Thank you MS. Kate!

The gate opened early. before 9. The tribe of gardeners sprinted like it was the gardening Olympics down hill to the stage. I hobbled up and we are VERY CLOSE. “Can’t wait for Joni”, “Can you believe how close we are?”, “This is beyond my wildest expectations”. These words appear and disappear over and over like smoke from a cigarette.

Debbie (Mrs. Chilihead) and I go to buy some stuff from the dozens of vendors set up in white canvass topped pavillions. We buy a disposable camera. We buy a teddy bear made out of hemp with a statement on its tag explaining how we can save trees if we use hemp to make paper. We pass a purveyoress of tye dyed apparel. I like a T-shirt. She explains that it has a hole in it and is going for $15 not $30. She is a very pretty young twenty something with skin as clear as Joni’s on her “For the Roses” cover. I have a white shirt on. Part of my corporate uniform. My hair is short. I remember when I had it half way down my back. “I’m an undercover hippie”, I confide to her. She smiles with her flawless face and Joni cheek bones, “Oh, good , I thought you were a narc.”. We laugh. There are many vendors. One is selling peace signs which he claims to be are made from the original '69 Concert fencing. They are $25. On we go. There is a bumper sticker that reads, “Cheap people suck!”. I really like that one and regret later not buying it. There are books. They’ve got the beat. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Snyder. Books on Acid Art: A history of the artists who embellished LSD. There is a T-shirt that plays off the “Got Milk” Ads, it says, “Fuck Milk, Got Pot?”. We are laughing and other people are laughing too. I see the red eye badge of the “Cannabis Club” here and there among the crowd. They are sure of themselves and happy instead of paranoid like the members I meet in other places like the A & P. We meet up with Amy and Patty at the “Official” T-shirt booth. We are trying to decide should we buy a T-shirt now or wait until later? Amy has heard that the vendors pass among the crowd selling the T-shirts at half price.

The food vendors are in a separate but identical white canvassed tent with high pointy peaks. There is only one vendor that appeals to me. “Catskill Morning Farms” has what appears to be the freshest yuppie fare. Goat cheese. Cookies. Focaccia. Peaches and apples. Mrs. Chili buys a chocolate chip cookie for $1.50.

When we get back to the stage we pass around my little FAT notebook as an impromptu JMDL guestbook. I draw a sun with a face at the top of a page. “Official JMDL guestbook: You were (were is crossed out with a big x and replaced with are). You ARE there! Gardeners please sign in....” And the gardeners who signed in are as follows. Please bear in mind there were many more JMDlers and many more BIG Joni Fans who just weren’t lucky enough to find the JMDL but maybe someday will. And the Gardeners: Queen Amy and Sweet Peppermint Patty (Amy’s friend who now believes in Siquomb)

The Great, The Very Great Kate from CO! YEEHAW! Silent Simon, the essence of cool, all seeing and hearing-- Mendi who reminds us “Remember to live life large when you can!” Heather who advises “Live and let live---Simple and sweet” and also added a ‘smoking’ illustration

Mr. Brian G a gentleman, who asked JMDLers to sign their names by their favorite Joni song in the Lyrics book

“ Well you do what you gotta do, even if that means flying in from Holland to see her. Really wonderful meeting all of you ! Love Robert”

Kay A who wrote, “So great to meet you JMDLers in the garden and to hear Joni 29 years late which is just in time for me as I am 29!”

Jan who came with her husband Phil and wrote “For three nights I’ve been too excited to sleep. Tonight I’ll finally get some rest!”

Gene and Don The hosts of the after concert party at the RV. Don wrote he’s “been with Joni for 30 years.”

and finally Kai who made his way down to our not so secret place. My apologies for not mentioning all of us, next time, and I hope that’s very soon, I hope we can get everyone to sign the guestbook. And now it’s showtime folks!

Melanie. That’s right the Melanie of “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates fame” is on stage with her three children. Two daughters one a bottled blond and the other a brunette are backing up their Mom with sweet faces and sweet harmonies. Her son, Beau who Melanie tells us is 17, plays acoustic guitar very well. He is muscular and handsome. Mrs. Chilihead thinks he’s very cute. I am not jealous, I am just 20 years wiser!

Melanie beams pride like a sunflower. She is wearing a patchwork hippy chic dress which makes me think of something an earthmother would wear when hugging her children. She is sexy and pretty.

Melanie fills in her life for us with her songs and her talk between songs. A large man with a pony tail and greying hair, is identified as her husband and a record producer. Melanie sings a song about her life in Florida. About suntans, wrinkles, collecting seashells and turning them into lamps for her friends. She tells us that she has been invited to host the Anniversary of Amnesty International and she calls it the highlight of her career. We sing “Look what they’ve done to my song Mom”. Remember that one? Many do including the french lyrics, too!

When Melanie ends her set, a woman begins to distribute some toys “for free” to the children sitting near us. An eighties materialism suddenly manifests itself in the garden and we are nearly trampelled by adults who are trying to get “theirs”. Mrs. Chili aka as Debbie, and I want one, but retain our dignity. We later find that an area has been set up for the kids of concertgoers to play in and these toys are called “Zoobdudes”, a type of LEGGO for the nineties.

We make our way back to the stage waiting for Richie Havens. Debbie writes in the official journal that “there is lots of pot smoking and tye die at this point”.

What becomes apparent from the beginning is that Richie Havens is first and foremost a storyteller. He would make a good trial lawyer. He is intense and precise. Loud an Clear. Strong and Centered. He says a lot of things twice without boring you but just making sure that you’re with him. I remember an interview over a decade ago with Howard Stern. Howard commented to Richie that he was “all over the place” with advertising. Richie said, “no” that it wasn’t him doing the vocals for ads, he said there was another guy who sounded just like him.

For those of us who were there and the cyberconcert goers, we saw that Richie Havens doesn’t play, he works out. His purple kaftan was dripping wet midway into the set. He told a humorous story about Aliens, telling us that they were among us. He said they were little people who call you “Daddy” and tell you which containers to put your recyclables in. He advised us strongly, waiving a finger, to “make friends now!”

Richie’s band consisted of a guitarist who did a loud rendition of Jimi’s (as in Hendrix) Star Spangled Banner and a conga drummer. My general impression of the sound was that it was strong, spiritual, lunchtime music for hungry gardeners. Richie finished with “Freedom”. I heard someone in back of me say, “He sounds like he did 30 years ago. That’s what I like about him.”

After Richie’s set, we decided not to venture out for fear of losing our prime garden real estate. This was the equivalent of Maui Oceanfront with a view! People began to encroach on our turf. The Amazon women, Patty, Mrs. Chili and Amy defended the turf and sharpened their spears. I saw someone with a T-shirt that said “We must kill the beast.” It was a mock petroglyph of warriors spearing a television.

Lou Reed came with the largest entourage so far. They were dressed in black. They were loud. They were the bad boys. They played. They rocked. They played and played and played. I moved my head and body to the music, I was not in the garden, I was at club in New York with cigarettes and people brushing past me with their drinks. I heard some disparaging comments about Mr. Reed. The Joni people wanted their Joni now. Mr. Reed did not play “Wildside”and I wondered why? Was it the politically incorrect lyrical content, the lack of the necessary back up vocalists? He did, however, play a lot of other tunes. I am sure that to some it seemed as though he played ALL of his other tunes. Waiting for Joni. The wait for Joni was winding down. It was like the countdown to the lift off to some wonderful and new spacecraft. The cyberjoniphiles were waiting there with us; not in the garden but still very much a part of it. We adopted several people sitting next to us by offering them badges and welcoming them to our tribe. Tick Tock. Our hearts were beating an anxious rythm. We could see people behind the stage through the scrim. Where was our Joni? Was that her daughter? Her grandson?

JONI. JO-NI! JO-NI! This was the mantra that rose up from the faithful. Thousands of them. We were being compressed. Our territory was shrinking. Joni’s people were filling in every vacant space like the blocks of Manhattan. Some had signs. The JMDL sign was hanging directly in front on the fence that separated us from the stage. It was getting hot. I had already taken off my shirt during Lou Reed’s set but now I wished had some cold water. I am sure that if it were 30 years ago, we would all have been wearing a lot less! It got hotter. It was very humid and electric just like the air just before a thunderstorm. The thunder, the mantra, continued. The first bolt of lightning, the band, took the stage. Joni waited. The tease I always knew she would be. Then Joni like a second lightning flash, took the stage. More thunder from the crowd.

She began with "Hejira". Her voice jazzy and smoke tinged and our Joni was looking like fine, just like a movie queen. At 55, still the beautiful diva we know her to be. She had on a comfortable outfit, sort of "designer safari". It was dark hunter green, loose and billowing. She had sandals on her self described ‘big feet’, one of our common traits. Adjusted people with big feet just resign themselves to it and laugh about it.

As Joni moved through her songs, her jazz style continued sultry and sizzling like the weather. She paints her songs with fine brushes for detail and then she liberally squeezes the blue, making broad strokes on the canvass.

In the second song, “Comes Love”, Mark Isham’s trumpet solo was sweet and lonely. At one point in the song, I blew a kiss to Joni and we made eye contact. She looked over at us JMDLers and said, “Thank you”. Or at least this is how I remember it. Her songs were intoxicating like good California wine.

Joni’s sense of humour is still there. She gave us a taste of Taming the Tiger with, “Happiness is the Best Facelift”. Her smile, a sincere smile, was constant throughout the show. She was clearly happy and I hope when I get to be her age, that I look as good as she does. Her generation is redefining what it’s like to be fifty or sixty or even seventy something. It’s not old anymore.

By the fourth song, “Summertime”, a wind blew in and took off some of the humidity. It became instantly more comfortable. Again very very jazzy. Joni interpreted this song cigarette in hand and waving her arms slowly. She was flying. Joni’s cigarette smoking is almost like a Hollywood movie, she makes it look sexy. She looks like she really enjoys it. Nicotine has been demonized especially in recent years, and rightfully so. But that night I accepted Joni’s smoking as part of her, as part of what makes her Joni and makes her art, and hell, what gives that smoky color to her songs. To my side, I saw a young man in the audience, holding up his cigarette and smoking right along with her. They were sharing cigarettes from a distance. I am sure he’ll remember that smoke for a long time.

After “Summertime”, it became a Zen moment for me. The band all dressed in green or black or both. The crowd wrapped in Joni’s music like a spell. Then “Crazy Cries of Love”, “No Apologies” and “Sex Kills”. I had just become an Aids volunteer when I first heard "Sex Kills". Hearing it that night still brought goosebumps to my skin. “Sex sells everything” and I think of all the ads showing half naked young people selling fragrances and clothes and then “Sex kills” and I see the people I know with Aids or at risk. This song drifted and cut through the garden with an edge like a razor.

Through much of the concert, I was standing next to Robert (from Holland) and Sue McNamara. Mrs. Chili, Amy, Patty, Kay, Don and Gene were directly in front. Sue quickly learned what kind of Joni fan I was. I knew about half the songs. I have all the albums, but I am a selective listener to some. Blue is my sacred songbook. Hejira my navigational map. On some albums I just listen to one or two songs over and over and over, to name a few: “Job’s Sad Song”, “Dog Eat Dog” and “Come in from the Cold” and now the “Magdalene Laundries”. Before Joni sang this song, she explained that the Magdalene Laundries existed up until 1972 in Ireland and Britain as prisons for women who were pregnant or unmarried. They were modern day workhouses; the women sent there were slaves to the nuns until their deaths released them. Someone from the crowd yelled, “Thank you Joni”. Tears were sliding down my face by the end of the song. This song is about victims. A tear jerker pure and simple in Joni’s inimitable style, drawing out your emotions without being schmaltzy. The very next day, I got out my “Turbulent Indigo” and listened to that song about 10 times. Sue shouted to the stage, “Your a genius Joni”. Someone else shouted, “Your lyrics are my Bible.”

Of course, what garden is without it’s Black Crow? For those hip enough to notice it, Joni subtley turned into her self chosen symbol right on the stage and began to fly out over the garden above the heads of the crowd. A real Don Juan moment. The song hangs on her lips like cigarette smoke and she blows it out at exactly the right time.

Next came “Moon at the Window” which Sue informs me is off of “Wild Things Run Fast”. Ok, I admit there are one or two albums I don’t have, but lucky me, I get to “discover” them now! I tell Sue, “I really am a Big Joni fan--honest!”. Sue breaks into that easy smile of hers that makes you feel like you’ve known her all your life, “I know you are...who else would sort through all that (JMDL) mail?”

Joni slides from one song into the next. She is making eye contact with the audience and smiling but she is not talking to us between songs. Seems this evening she is preferring to talk to us through her music, which is just fine with me. While she doesn’t do any Blue songs, she does some Court and Spark. The train ride begins. Sue turns to me and says again with her smile, “Just like this Train”. I laugh and say, “I DO know this one!”

“Big Yellow Taxi”, perhaps her best known song sung by her, is expected and delights the crowd. I think about the 36 years I have been alive and how Suburbia has eaten the coast and the farmland of my Connecticut. I really hope it stops soon. Just big ugly houses everywhere. I want woods and trees for my kids and kids of all ages. I really hope this song inspires people to give land to land preservation. I think about the farmland that is still left and the pristine coastline still remaining. This song has a serious message, but it is light and funny. Joni does a Dylan impression and the crowd laughs. Joni introduces the band: Brian Blade on drums, Mark Isham on trumpet, Larry Klein on bass, Greg Liez on steel guitar. The next to last song is “Trouble Man”, a Marvin Gaye tune that I am unfamiliar with but with the applause at the beginning it seems many gardeneners are. She is swinging. Holding onto the words, blowing them into the crowd. The crowd is wild.

Joni and the band leave the stage. The JO-NI mantra starts up again. LOUD. LOUDER. EVEN LOUDER. JO-NI, JO-NEE, JO-NEEE! Joni comes back smiling. She says, “I can’t leave without playing the theme song." She tells us we are a beautiful audience. She says that she missed the “first one”. She talks about her generation. Joni is one year younger than my mother. Joni says, “My generation was given a pocket of liberty. We were a minority (the hippies).” She explains that they got a chance to experience minority prejudice. She says that she is still a member of the Rainbow Coalition. She also says, “There is no such thing as free love these days.”

The theme song is over. History is made. Joni has made it to Woodstock after 29 years. She has made it back to the garden. Many JMDLers have made their own Hejira to this place from all over the country and even farther. I say good bye to the people who are staying: Amy, Patty, Heather, Simon, Kate, Deb and Ron and more people whose names I do not remember but whose faces I will not forget. I introduce myself to Mendi. We walk back up the hill. The Townshend gardeners are moving in to claim our real estate. Debbie and I are with Kay, Robert, Gene, Don, and Brian G. We stop to buy a souvenir for Pearl who could not make it. Don and Gene have brought an RV decorated with a huge yellow sign with the blue letters: “JMDL”. People stop and talk. They want to know what JMDL stands for? We sign Brian G’s Joni book by our favorite song, “The Last Time I saw Richard”. We came for conversation and it was very very good. The people at that party had a lot of style and big hearts. Tom R was there and we got a chance to get a copy of his jazz CD. After a couple of cold drinks, Debbie (Mrs. Chili) and I head back through the mountains to the Northwest Hills of Connecticut.

This week, I am in our garden. It is late summer. The gladioli are in bloom. They are purple, yellow, and red. My mother comes over to help can string beans and peaches. Debbie digs the garlic handed down by her Sicilian grandfather. The kitchen smells of pesto and ratatouille. This August is hot and tropical. I am reminded of Alphonse Mucha’s depiction of summer in his 1897 calendar, she is a beautiful pregnant woman with a sunflower. I have a secret place in my garden. I go there and listen to Joni music and think about that green place in our hearts that calls us back again and again to hear the songs of the Earth and the harvest and The Garden.