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By David Mingus
Reporting for JoniMitchell.com
Precisely on cue the bright, perfectly round moon was strategically hung low in the clear skies of South Florida. It would be in Joni's direct line of vision as she looked out on her adoring fans at the Mars Music Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. And as she cautioned long ago, "beware of the power of moons!" We were ready.
The lights went down, Vince Mendoza walked onto the stage and our enthusiasm grew. The orchestra embraced us with a classical selection of mood provoking chorales which fueled our excitement and anticipation. We were now very ready.
Then, just as the orchestral introduction concluded a roar went up from the crowd and Joni walked on stage. Before the applause subsided, the conductor dropped his baton and we were in the presence of Joni Mitchell singing "Your My Thrill." And what a thrill it was!
Joni was vibrant. She graced the stage in a magnificent kimona-style gown made of an elegant fabric of tightly pleated silk. Its deep turquoise color was sharply contrasted by a tied belt and lining in brilliant green. Joni's long golden hair was luminous. When the spots shown on her she radiated beauty, love and excitement. As she raised her arms to sing I was overwhelmed with emotion. The Earth Mother of my youth is still evolving. At that moment, the turquoise in her gown represented the oceans and the greens the many continents over which she's taken me. I was in awe.
Joni welcomed "Miami" (a faux pas she later corrected) and said she was taking us "on a trip which we have all taken at least once -- some maybe several times." We were to experience "the art of romantic love beginning with the smitten stage where the pheromones go into the receptors and you've had it." A perfect introduction to "At Last."
Her well publicized set list was seasoned with asides to her romantic love theme. "Comes Love," "You've Changed," and "Answer Me My Love" were sung from a prospective of insight and experience.
She chuckled after "Answer Me My Love" and said, "when pleading doesn't work, you head to the bar!"
"A case of you" was welcomed with much applause. She then introduced us to the "generosity" of love with "Don't Go To Strangers."
Those moments between songs when Joni talks to the audience are very special. She shared a Florida moment recalling an experience in the mid-60s when she and Chuck Mitchell (they were married at the time) performed in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. She referred to Mitchell as being a Svengali-type guy. She said that even on their wedding day Chuck's mother spoke of her eldest saying that the first waffle, like the first born, should be used to warm up the pan and then thrown out! Anyway, after a performance one warm Saturday night she and Chuck were at odds and she decided to walk home. She was a vision in gold -- a gold lamey mini dress (which she made herself), gold stockings, gold shoes, and golden hair. After about an hour walking she found herself in a boisterous, black neighborhood. As she approached the partying crowd became very quiet. Finally, she heard someone on the balcony say in a deep voice "Just let it go by, just let it go by!" She demonstrated that learning the art of romantic love comes at a price.
"Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Don't Worry About Me" preceded the intermission.
She returned to the stage transformed in a stunning metallic gray gown. Its unusual design was reminiscent of the 30s. When she sang "Stormy Weather" even Lena Horne would have been moved. And "I Wish I Were In Love Again" would have made old blue eyes water.
A fan asked her where her guitar was. She replied that she was without instruments this time, "Just a chirp with a band." And when she was offered a guitar she quipped, "I bought a bra and burned my guitar."
I knew her set list so I knew what was coming next. I felt a lump in my throat and many past loves flashed through my mind as she began singing "Both Sides Now." She brought the house down. A fitting conclusion to her journey through the art of love.
Joni introduced Larry Klein as her ex-husband, Russian-on-prozac, musical director. They performed her classic "Be Cool," firing musical volleys back and forth across the stage.
I loved her statement that "most of my heroes were more alarming than charming." She spoke of Van Gogh and of Beethoven. She told the story of the unknown Ludwig agreeing to write a song because he needed the money even though he wasn't proud of the work. She explained that it became a big hit and "he was made famous by the worst piece of shit he ever wrote." She laughed and said she guessed it was an example of where art meets business. An apt segway to "Judgment of the Moon and Stars (Ludwig's Tune)." I have always regarded this piece as one of her most musically profound. Its orchestration, which she wrote in 1972, is a testament to her early musical ability.
Joni performed a swinging rendition of "Hejira," my all-time favorite, number one, Joni song; and a hauntingly beautiful rendition of "For the Roses," a timeless tale of commercialism in the music industry. Her final selection was Marvin Gaye's "Troubled Man."
And then, after introductions of a few of the participants on the stage, it was over.
I've read other reviews of her concerts thus far in the tour. We all are experts when it comes to opinion. So here's mine. I found her voice to be clearer during her concert than on her CD - certainly up to her own lofty standards. However, so much of her performance was dependent upon what I considered an 'okay' orchestra.
During the concert Joni mentioned, rather tongue-in-check, that like Chuck Berry she's got a band in every town. Unlike Chuck Berry, Joni's music cannot simply be read. It must be studied and its nuances understood before it can be performed. Until she travels with a 70 piece orchestra, Joni's audiences must accept the good and bad of local accompaniment. Having worn out several "Both Sides Now" CDs, I know what Joni expects of her orchestra. You could sense her frustration (and ours) when the group fell short of expectation.
A bit about the venue. I thought the Mars Music Amphitheatre was too 'casual' a venue for Joni's production. Yes, the seating was covered so we weren't exactly camped out, but people seemed inclined to wear shorts with sandals. There weren't enough tuxes in the house to outfit a shotgun wedding. Not even a tie in the orchestra; they wore white shirts and black pants!
The Mars' staff was dressed in shorts and sport shirts, and were none too friendly. Security was downright rude when escorting photographers from the stage after their allotted time.
There were two large banks of speakers stacked on both sides of the stage -- my seat was in front of the one on the right . . . Often the orchestra was too loud. I realize that during some shows the object is to get the sound up to the top of the hill behind us. The sound man apparently didn't realize that only the covered seating was occupied.
There was no program. I would have liked to known more about the orchestra and the evening's events. Frankly, I like reading all I can about Joni and would have cherished the souvenir.
Since my youth I have been privileged to attend Joni's concerts on at least five occasions. She has never disappointed. Indeed, her performances just get better.
I drove home to the west coast of Florida after the show under the bright light of the full moon. It was as if someone had forgotten to turn off her spotlight at the end of the concert. I am still reveling in its glow.
I would like to thank Jim, Wally's memory, and my friends at the homepage for the opportunity to photograph Joni and to submit this report.
By Pearl Weisberg, reporting for JoniMitchell.com
What a wonderful evening with Joni!!
In the covered open air amphitheater, the Florida night was dry and breezy, and the near full moon hovered through the palm trees behind the audience.
The set list was the same as described at the previous shows. It started with a orchestra piece unfamiliar to me but my friend thought it might be Debussy. Afterwards, Joni stolled out, unannounced, and started right in with "Your My Thrill". The orchestra was full and lush and the sound was fine. She seemed very happy to be up there singing. I love her wonderful sway and expressive hand movements!
The outfits she wore to this show were the best yet!! She seems to have an entire wardrobe of what I think is Issey Miyake. The first one was a very vivid turquoise full length dress with a long cape, the inside of which was a an equally vivid green. The fabric was a vertically crinkled silk crepe. The front of the dress had a cropped-length top over the bodice, and below that, the dress had 4 layers that folded upwards. There was a green fabric belt above her waist. It was in sort of a kimono style.
I barely got the see them, but a pair a white crinkly pants peeked out a couple of inches below the bottom of the dress. She was wearing white sandals. (I barely saw them because her feet were always behind the speakers, out of my view.) At one point she pushed the cape back over her shoulders, which exposed short green sleeves. What was really lovely about the dress was how the cape billowed in the breeze. While she sang, she occasionally held the ends of the cape in her hands and moved it around. At one point she even wrapped it around her clutching her hands to her chest. Very effective. Her jewelry was all gold, and she wore it sparingly. (Gold chain necklace, bracelet, a couple of rings and small dangly earrings).
She spoke of the arc of a romance in Both Sides Now. She talked about her concert days in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables, Florida which got a very positive reaction. The stories have already been described so I won't repeat them. She san the entire "Both Sides Now" album. People were calling out songs for her to sing. I think the biggest response was to "A Case of You." For the most part, the audience was either enraptured by her music or being polite.
I loved her response when someone asked her to play guitar. She said she didn't bring any instuments. He said he brought one and she said, "I forgot how to play, I bought a bra and burned my guitar."
After intermission Joni really WOWED me with what she wore. This might be hard to describe but here goes. She had on a shiny dark gray, very definite accordian-pleated dress. Very avante-garde! (orJudy Jetson!) Something you might see on a Japanese runway model with very wacky hair. The front and back had a V-neck. The dress gracefully flowed from her shoulders and then flipped out into a bell shape around the knees, (as if supported by wire, but it might be a very stiff fold). Then it narrows again towards the ankles. Beneath that, the white pants were again peeking out. I didn't see if she changed her shoes or not. She rolled the sleeves up a couple of times. The bell part of the dress moved in opposition to her. It was very wild and actually very flattering. It looked like it was fun to wear. It sure was fun to look at. It even seemed to change color in the different lighting. Can you tell I loved this one too? (Wonder how to hang it in the closet or pack it?
Joni really grooved in the second half. I am always moved by her new version of Both Sides Now. As much as she enjoys singing the standards, she seemed much more energized singing her own words. She told the story about Beethoven and how he felt he got popular with the worst piece of shit that he wrote. (Mmm, sounds familiar.) I loved when she sang "Judgment of the Moon and Stars", "Hejira", "For the Roses" and "Be Cool" too. I can't wait to here the reworked versions of these earlier works and others on her next CD. The orchestra was a bit overpowering though. My friend said she couldn't hear the words on these. I heard them clearly, but then, I knew the words by heart. I would also love to hear these with less accompaniment.
She introduced her ex-husband and bass player Larry Klein. They always seem share a kiss on stage. Very sweet.
Her encore was a rousing rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man." She scooted off the stage right after that. Wish she would stay for a minute and soak up the applause.
Another treasured Joni evening for me. Hope you enjoyed the detailed dress descriptions.
So much Joni!!
Reports from the Internet Community
Under the full moon of a balmy Florida night, I experienced my first Joni concert. After a 20 minute delay and an impressive preamble performed by the local orchestra she appeared and took my breath away.
You could see her gain confidence as the night progressed. The audience, quiet at first soon was soon whooping, shouting, and whistling after each set. Joni went from explaining how each song fit into the "life cycle" of love to bantering with the crowd. And we loved her.
All too soon, after singing several songs from other albums and having her ex, Larry Kline, aptly accompany her on guitar, she left us. Somehow, I just gotta see her again!
Gary Meeker, Lt Col, USAF
After 2 hrs...could stay no longer. Sure she covered the new Both sides now effort, was impressive. However......After that, more of the same. Big local orchastra troupe, but no REAL Joni!
No piano,no guitar,no dalcemer(sp)..no real Joni on her own. Could feel it throught the folks around me...and my feeling also!
Damm, waited and looked fowarded to this concert for months...All she needed to do was something a little more personal....would have taken her perhaps 1/2 hr!
Joni appeared on stage under the settling evening and rising full moon a little after 8pm. She made a striking appearance in her emerald gown with lime belt and cape. And then she sang.
She progressed through the "relationship arc" of songs off her "Both Sides Now" release. The set list matched those mentioned in the California concerts. Her voice is a wonderful instrument, and she used it to wow us. I was particularly struck with "Comes Love" in the first set. Several members of the crowd were anxious for older material, and Joni got an extra response from all to "A Case of You". For the second half of the night, Joni came on stage in a black, vertically pleated dress that expanded out at the knees, and gathered back in at her ankles. Unique!
"Hejira" and "For the Roses" got the biggest reaction of the night from the assemblage.
Joni was happy to banter with the crowd, telling a hilarious story of her wanderings after a Joan and Chuck Mitchell gig in the Coconut Grove area to help explain a reference to the Miami area. One approved guest brought up some peach coloured roses during the first half of the evening - they were taken backstage by a stage hand during intermission.
When one boisterous fan "requested" her to play guitar, Joni joked back "I've got a bra now - and burned my guitar". :) Another fan worked his way up to the footlights extending a hand which Joni happily scooted over and shook before he was escorted back by a security guard.
All in all, the concert was a memorable presentation from an amazing artist. Joni filled the night's canvas with the most personal of brushes - her voice.
Thanks Joni :)
I'm still floating from last night! I'd been waiting my whole life to see Joni live. "At Last"! The Boca Pops Orchestra was her "back up band". "I feel like Chuck Berry...I can have a band in every town!" Joni quipped. After the orchestra performed a short overture, Joni came out. She was wearing a blue/green kimono type crepe material dress...very interesting looking. She performed "Both Sides Now" from beginning to end. After "Don't Go To Strangers" she told us a story from her days performing in South Florida. She was singing with her first husband, Chuck, in Coral Gables and they had a spat during the evening. She decided she'd walk home to Coconut Grove. She described what she wore that night:gold shoes,gold stockings, a gold mini dress she'd made herself, and of course, her long gold hair. She said she found herself walking through a noisy black neighborhood that got very quiet as she approached it. In the quiet she heard a voice from a second story porch say "Just let it go by. Just let it go by." Must have been a sight!
There was a short intermission after "Don't Worry About Me". She came back wearing a very unusual black dress...very sculptural...a bit The Jetsons era styling...Someone yelled out "Where's your guitar?" "I'm just the singer tonight" Joni replyed. "What? You brought me a guitar? Well, I bought a bra and burned my guitar!" All said in good spirits. After completing the "Both Sides Now" cycle, she performed some old songs. Oh my heart! "Be Cool" was first. Then with the introduction "All my heros are more alarming than charming" and a short story about Beethovan she performed "Judgment of the Moon and Stars(Ludwig's Tune)". It was fantastic! Larry Klein ("My ex-husband...a Russian on Prozac!") came out and played bass to "Hejira". Tears rolling down my cheeks. Then "For The Roses"...I was so happy! SOOOO Beautiful!!!! She ended the evening with Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man"...It rocked and swung...Man we were just getting warmed up! But after introducing her core band the evening was over. A wonderful romantic evening filled with a full moon, balmy steady breezes and the most wonderful music coming from the most wonderful singer on this earth!
WELL ON MAY 17,2000 I FINALLY SAW JONI FOR THE FIRST TIME IN WEST PALM BEACH.I WAS JUST FLOATING AS JONI GAVE A PERFORMANCE THAT WAS JUST BREATHTAKING.I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO SIT IN THE FRONT ROW AT THIS SHOW.THE WEATHER WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR A OUTDOOR SHOW..SHE DID TWO SETS.THE COMPLETE BOTH SIDES NOW WORK,PLUS BE COOL,FOR THE ROSES,HEJIRA AND TROUBLE MAN,THE MARVIN GAYE SONG.I ACTUALLY GOT JONI TO SAY SOMETHING TO ME. BEFORE SHE INTRODUCED THE LAST SONG,I YELLED TO HER-TROUBLE MAN-SHE SAID-YEAH THAT'S IT! I HAD READ THE WEBSITE REVIEWS THE NIGHT BEFORE AND KNEW WHAT THE LAST SONG WOULD BE. AS THE BEATLES SAID A LONG TIME AGO.......A SPLENDED TIME IS GUARANTEED FOR ALL. THERE ARE ONLY A FEW DATES LEFT TO SEE JONI DON'T MISS IT.ONE FOR THE AGES!!!
Well, I'm sure that most of the people who attend Joni's concerts after all these years are huge fans, so I'm not going to go into the impact Joni's music has had on my life. Let me just say, that as a musician and recording engineer, she has been a huge influence on my life.
I hate to be the one to post a negative review, but I was so disappointed at the West Palm Beach performance. It started with some forgivable mistakes (starting 25 minutes late, welcoming the audience by saying "Hello Miami"- a goof for which she later apologized, and introducing "At Last" AFTER she had already performed it.) It really deteriorated from there. The orchestra drowned her out, especially the drums. Her mic had way to much treble. All was forgiven when she sang "Case of You" like an angel.
Joni's limited range does not bother me. I don't know many pop singers who have the range they had 30 years ago, so I will not make any comments about her ability. I think she is a fine singer. Her awkwardness on stage was endearing. Her discomfort with her material was not.
The high points of the evening, were when Joni was herself, and spoke off the cuff. She told a story about being in Florida in 1965. And when someone in the audience asked her to pick up her guitar she said, "I don't know if I still know how (to play). I bought a bra and burned my guitar." Great stuff. Why didn't she do more of that? I'm sure she's got a lot of great stories to tell.
I felt the premise of the whole "Romantic Love" theme, was very thin. I don't even think Joni bought it. And the arrangements of the songs, while very nice on the recording, do not translate very well to live performance. Too many times, Joni was left standing in the dark waiting for the orchestra to finish. A different performer could make that work, but the way Joni just backs away from the mic and waits, doesn't work. The songs just fizzle out. If she stayed with the song, stayed in the moment while she wasn't singing, it be so much more....
I was really shocked when Joni brought out a lyric sheet to sing "I wish I were in love again." What was that about? Just seeing her up there with a cheat sheet was so disillusioning. It's perfectly acceptable for a singer to use music on stage, but use a music stand! Standing up there with a big old white piece of paper was just -- unprofessional! I felt like I was watching a rehearsal. (An $80 a seat rehearsal-no less) I felt like she didn't respect the audience enough to know the material before she stepped on stage. And once, the song right before, "Trouble Man," she walked off the stage before the song was even finished. Not to mention "Trouble Man" for which she also had a cheat sheet and still made a major flub by starting the bridge four bars too early. Not such a major goof with a five piece combo, but try getting a 70-piece orchestra to follow you!!!
I'm not sure what was going on last night. But I'm certain that Joni did not consider it a "good show." It was not. Many audience members left after the intermission. That is a shame, because the best part was when Joni sang her own material.
I'm sure many other die-hard fans may disagree with my review. Part of Joni's charm has always been her lack of polish, her raw energy on stage. I agree wholeheartedly. However, I think that in this new medium, she needs to examine a different approach. Too many people already do this material -- better.
I still love Joni, and laud her for doing the material SHE wants to do. She doesn't care that her fans want to hear her early stuff. She is satisfying herself. But this performance made me wonder if Larry Klein is still holding a grudge against his ex-wife. He certainly did not do her any justice with his musical direction. It appears to me, she didn't have any.
I still think the show was worth seeing. I'm not sorry I drove 3.5 hours each way to see her. But it is a little sobering when you learn your heroes are only human.
Joni is absolutely beautiful, the sound with the orchestra in the amphitheatre was fantastic like nothing I've ever heard before. She didn't pick a guitar up not once but her fingers were playing the whole time. The night was breezy and warm the wind would catch her dress and it flowed all around her. I couldn't believe that I was in the second row, so close I could almost reach out and touch her. If she is coming to your area I would strongly suggest that you get tickets and go see her. People in Fla. came from all around the state to see the show it is worth the drive.............
No one could be a more ardent fan of Joni Mitchell than I, and I have seen her several times in concert over the last 30-plus years. Having read Michael Paz's review, however, it seems we saw two completely different performances.
Although Ms. M. did pepper her performance with several light-hearted commentaries (my favorite, in response to someone pleading with her to use her guitar: "I don't do that any more; I bought a bra and burned my guitar!"), her straight-forward renderings of the songs from the "Both Sides Now" effort, though every much as wonderful as they are on the recording, lacked any true signs of inspired performance. And as classy as the song choices are, I confess her particular view of the "arc of love" spends precious little time on any of the joys or light-heartedness that love (especially new love) can bring. Apparently, in her view and experience, from the moment the chemistry ignites between two people, it's all downhill from there, which lends itself to not all that much diversity in this cycle of songs, which is not helped by the insistent hand of the arranger. And I must comment at this point about the overture, which was long, monotonous and totally without relevance.
However, when Joni finishes the cycle and proceeds to throw in a selection of songs from her oeuvre that have the common thread of songs about performing, the orchestra is so overblown as to virtually drown her out.
Joni Mitchell has never been exactly a model of fashion, nor am I necessarily one to focus on anything as extraneous as a performer's choice in what they wear. However, her particular choices I found to be so disastrous as to be positively distracting. Her first outfit, though unflattering in every way, was not truly offensive, but merely fell short of what it could have been; her choice for the second half of the program was so horrendous, that it, indeed, was worthy of note. I do not have the words to describe it, but it made me wonder if there is no one in her life that cares enough about her or has the guts enough to point out that it truly is the single most unflattering, ugly-to-the-point-of-mean, design ever worn on a stage. Something long and flowing would not only have been well-suited for the type of music in this concert, it would have gone a long way to hide what her choices only accentuated.
Her exit from the stage was hasty and awkward, underlining her general discomfort in performing in front of large crowds. As for Mr. Paz's observation that the absence of an instrument seemed to free her in a positive way, I did not perceive that at all; she has no earthly clue what to do with her hands when not involved in playing an instrument.
Do not get me wrong; as far as I'm concerned, any opportunity to see Joni Mitchell live is an event worth attending, and, with this recording and tour she has established herself as not merely a purveyor of her own material, but a vocalist of the first rank, capable of interpreting classic, vintage songs with peerless elegance and style. I cannot, however, say that this was a satisfying concert by any stretch of the imagination. I got home and put on "Miles of Aisles" to remind me of what she is capable as a performer.
Awesome, awesome concert. I'm still floating. She was intimate, warm... gave us so much of herself. Thanks for your wonderful website. I found you today, for the first time, and have spent 4 hours immersed. The website is a great gift.
The night was awesome! cool, brezzy and a full moon which shined into joni's face.
started about 8:45 and she came out in a celery colored dress. the orchestra was outstanding. i was about 25 rows back and still i had the binoculars glued to my eyes. i was familiar with "both sides now" tape and have been listening to it faithfully to make sure i knew the songs at the concert. she was right on track and then added a little marvin gaye tunes. I loved it!! but i have to say i was embrassed to be a floridian for people where shouting at joni to get her guitar or sing some of her oldies. she made the comment " i bought a bra and burned my guitar". little while later she said "i brought myself and my orchestra". people were still wanting the oldies. after the intermission she sang two songs using sheet music and the people seem to be offended. I didn't care, i was there for joni. People where still making comments to her, yet between songs she would tell a short story. she also joked that the orchestra idea and song selection was made by her ex. Larry to blame him.
after the introduction of certain people in the orchestra she said "I'm out of here".
and that was it! no oncore, the lights came on bright and people got up and left without the standard clapping for a last song. And joni did not say--good night, thanks, just "I'm out of here". what was that all about? i was embrassed to be in the crowd of people. if people listened to the cd/tape they would have know the oldies were still there just different tempo. I felt that joni gave the miami crowd the finger.
i can't say that i blame her yet it was a side i have not seen and was really shaken up by the exit. what was her take on this, someone interview her and post it on her home page. i am truly upset and need to know if my observation is on target .
if i could apologize for the idiots behavior i would but i was not one of them. i truly loved the music and i am afraid that joni will not be back this way again.
When legendary singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell took center stage at Wednesday night's performance at the MARS Music Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL., concert-goers were able to witness the indomitable pioneering spirit of an artist who constantly explores and conquers new musical realms.
Through the evening, with style, grace and classic Joni wit, Mitchell presented a unique program to highlight her recent "Both Sides Now" release. With the accompanying grandeur of a full-scale orchestra (comprised of both local musicians and Mitchell's own choice musical entourage, including Mitchell's ex-husband, guitarist Larry Klein), the audience, which covered a range from cooing babies to the retired senior set, was treated to an evening of time-honored, standard love songs brought to light with Mitchell's own soulful interpretations.
Herein, with music reminiscent of an earlier time - an era featuring big bands, hot jazz clubs, and the black & white film noir genre, the wise adage of "everything old is new again" undoubtedly rang true. Mitchell's smoky vocal inflections and sultry artistic stylings clearly led the way for the program's second half, whereby the artist offered up a handful of her own select signature tunes, reworked and redefined to compliment the spirit of the showcase.
Like a modern day O'Keeffe, Mitchell transcends artistic boundaries. As an older and wiser performer, with vocals richer and deeper, she seemed in prime form charmingly reveling in the grand scale of the evening. As a woman of heart, mind, and soulful intention, the enigmatic artist gave us a night to remember.
Just got back from the east coast of Florida, and it was a *wonderful* experience seeing Joni in concert again. I'm not going to review the entire concert since the west coasters did such a fine job. There were no surprises at this concert (except NO programs). She did the same set list as in the LA and SF concerts. Unfortunately we didn't have the pleasure of Herbie Hancock and Mark Isham, but I thought trumpet player Wallace Roney did an excellent job. The local symphony orchestra did a fairly good job too, especially with such little rehearsal time.
I had been checking Ticket Masters every so often, so it was no surprise for me that there wasn't a great turn out for the concert. I think that a larger city or a weekend night would have drawn larger crowds. Although the seats I purchased were on the 10th row left of stage, we were able to move closer to the center as the concert began. In fact there were plenty of empty seats in the rows in front of us. I'm not sure if sitting close to the stage was the best way to get the full effect of the orchestra, but I was thrilled to sit close enough to Joni to see all of her expressions.
I thought Joni seemed at ease for the most part of the concert. She looked radiant and I thought her voice was crisp and clear throughout the entire performance. I think she was enjoying herself, and the audience seemed to be very appreciative. For those audience members who were disappointed, I don't think they had a clue as to what the "Both Sides Now" tour was about. At one point someone in the audience shouted for her to play the guitar. Joni said "I've left all my instruments honey. I'm just a singer, a chirp with the band." Everyone laughed and then Joni noticed someone in the audience who brought a guitar. Joni said "Oh you have your guitar. I forget how to play it. So I bought a bra and burned my guitar." The audience went wild with laughter. She also got a few laughs when she talked about her gigs in Miami in the 60's and the problems she was having with her husband Chuck Mitchell. She said "even his own Mother said on our wedding day (of him) the first waffle (he was the first born) should be used to warm up the pan and thrown out!"
I really enjoyed the new orchestral arrangement of some added Joni tunes. "Hejira" with the slight samba beat was my favorite with Larry Klein cookin on bass guitar, but "Ludwig's Tune" was equally fantastic. I thought "For The Roses" started off a bit sluggish, but it quickly gained my appreciation as the orchestra got settled. I'm really looking forward to hearing that one again! "Be Cool" and "Trouble Man" were wonderful too, and I just can't wait to see what else she adds to the next album.
The entire evening was a night that this Joni fan won't forget. Joni Mitchell is brilliant whether she is singing her own songs or the standards from long ago!
Ft. Myers, FL
All the while swirling within us
Our lunacy writing itself upon another's page
If we could see that perhaps love would be possible
But it is such a damned old habit with us
On my terms
Defined and choreographed into our multimedia brains
And occasionally we consider
Occasionally we realize
She is alone up there
And it is really us
Changing with the river soul of the time
Refusing to see our subtle links
To some place other
God how often I have felt the sickness of the crowd
Watching people mix
Latching and unlatching at will
With all the sincerity and interest of a three year old
The more you talk about your expectations
For her to unravel your discontent
I must ask
Why did you go to see her if music isn't something you can surrender your ego to?
Thanks for the great web site. Like many I have been an avid Joni Mitchell fan since the early '70s and have lived through many trials and tribulations with the support and comfort of the words and music of Joni Mitchell.
I was at the West Palm Beach concert. It struck me how Joni has evolved and aged so well. In all the music, lyrics of the cover songs and her revised old tunes, I heard the sounds and words of all her work. A culmination of her efforts, expressed in her maturity.
Her Both Sides now concert is like the pallet she uses to mix her paints for her paintings. All the colors of all the paintings she has ever done are there on the pallet. Look closely and you will see them there. In her words and music.
Seeing Joni also reminded me of the hand sewn quilt I inherited from my mother. There are bits and pieces of very familiar materials, left over pieces of hand sewn curtains, aprons, summer dresses, and shirts. All these items had been useful and meaningful in their prime. Now the bits and scraps that remain after all these years have been sewn together to keep me warm and comforted as I reflect on the events and challenges which have come and gone.
I heard the combination of all her past works in the tunes and words of her Both Sides now concert. The Moon came up full and bright as the concert began. It was truly a wonderful experience.
Please let Ms. Mitchell know how much she is loved and appreciated.
Barbara E. Little
I feel an urge to write after having read some of the other reviews. I won't go into details about the physical layout of the concert, as I think all of the reviews help to paint a pretty accurate picture. Rather, I want to express the more ethereal side of my experience. My introduction to Joni Mitchell came about in the very early part of 1970 when my best friend introduced me to Blue and For the Roses. We wore them out. In the mid eighties, I found Wild Things Run Fast in a bargain bin, and renewed my love for Joni. My collection of her works is well worn and near complete. I listened to BSN only three times before the concert, but I knew without a doubt that this would be the performance of the current tour. I'd never seen Joni Mitchell in concert prior to this, and I felt as though my life would be complete after having done so. I bought tickets, but when I arrived at the site, a gentleman upgraded my tickets for a fee, and my boyfriend and I found ourselves in the third row. This was the beginning of a magical night. Even though She didn't perform the songs that some of the concert goers felt were somehow their "right" to hear, I was thrilled at the sheer mastery with which she performed the songs that she did. Take it from a life long fan who never had the chance to see her musical idol perform before, we were in the presence of greatness, and "we're not worthy" to demand anything from one so gifted. If I was wealthy, I'd have followed this concert tour to every venue. Maybe the folks who had a less than enjoyable evening were too far back to appreciate the loving way she responded to everyone. Being so close to her helped me see how truly gracious she is. She treated the audience as well as the musicians, and her ex-husband with grace. Long Live Joni Mitchell!
I just couldn't keep my eyes on Joni. I'm still trying to figure it out. When she said,"Hello Miami!" she took me there but I was still in West Palm Beach. I thought, "Well, she must mean something by that." My eyes would try to watch her, look at her, like I had used my ears for so many years to hear her. I could not keep my eyes on her. I felt that I didn't want to rob her or drain her by taking too much for myself. I sensed that she was already drained (although she didn't look it) by something, or more probable, someone; the "Russian on prozac?" I don't know...the whine-screw fans...? "Play Carrie...Where's your guitar?" pull, puLL, PULL...POP! It seems as if she were especially sensitive this Wednesday evening, full moon now waning and Joni,"not too comfortable," I thought. She looked so beautiful in her gowns, I had wondered if she designed them herself. God knows she could! and sew them too! As usual I felt her pain but it was live this time, not a re-run of feeling, and I couldn't call a shot. I was lost to be found in the same spot on the ground as Joni. I couldn't even eat. Maybe that's why I couldn't drewal or stare at her like I had fantasized about for thirty years...she was hurting and had sooo much to give. Or maybe I'm just seeing too much into this.
Someone on-line with similar feelings as mine concluded to summons an interview and find out from Joni what was up at West Palm besides the moon? Some other on-line people say the local orchestra was somewhat of a problem, and sound. I don't know, I thought the lighting sucked. Other on-line ones sent un-loving one-liners about their unfufillment and their disappointments in seeing Joni. THAT'S probably why I couldn't keep my eyes on her, these service worshipers sucking her down like a tissue in the toilet of a jet plane!
I'm ANGRY that a lot of people were exiting their seats DURING HER PERFORMANCE! to go get fucking hotdogs togo, and hot beer in cups, coming back now to shit down, SIT DOWN! and I'm trying to just listen to Joni and the orchestra. OH! and people were carrying on conversations with each other DURING HER PERFORMANCE!!! RUDE! RUDE! CRUDE! PRUDES! GIVE "EM ALL A GAG RAG!
GIVE "EM ALL A LUDE!
I'm very disappointed in the audience as well as some so-called fans. I was blown away by the disrespect of it all.
Mars Music Amphitheater policies made me feel like I was at a sports event. Security couldn't wait to pounce on the pass photographers to remove them physically away from the stage. So rude, these people from Mars. They cut off some other brave soul who went up to the stage to touch Joni. She responded tout-e suite to her fan but security removed this person immediately while simoultaneously keeping the aisles clear for more hot-dog traffic and more hot beer!
(As I am sitting here writing this a news flash just came in on the T.V. "A teacher has been shot and killed by a student in West Palm Beach." What the hell's going on down there? Our whole state, a burned out sparkler with a red-hot tip...HELLO MIAMI!!!! ELIAN ALIEN and the convenience of hot, dry weather and forest fires for developers and pulp mills. Arson, I mean our son is a waffle...let go of my eggo!!!)
The "bigger beasts," the political city of West Palm Beach felt negative to me somehow that night of the seventeenth. Possibly Joni felt some shit somewhere too! I'm glad she got the hell "outta there!" I hope the rest of the tour is grand for her.
My opinion of An Evening With Joni Mitchell at the Mars Music Amphitheater, West Palm Beach, Florida, is this...She was there, and she was real, and true to her feelings. In spite of everything she gave her heart again to Art. (She could have just trimmed her toenails, ate pizza and told stories for two and a half hours on stage and I would have still been MORE than thrilled.) She was perfect. Whatever Joni is doing, I believe it's ordained by God, and I can even hear Him saying,"JUST LET IT GO, JUST LET IT GO ON BY!"
JMDL Member Comments
OK...was delighted to see joni again... none of us our getting any younger, but please.... pick up a guitar. Was oh so dissapointed!!! We all appreciated the fact that you wan't to promote your most recent effort, however we all missed the real you... you know, the you that gave us that special feeling...that something! Left the concert after hearing Joni explain to every one that she brought no guitar, no piano, no dalcemar (sp)...and was only the singer in this local troupe. I don't know what else to say....except, Dammm....wish she would have considerd her life-long fans!
Just got back from the east coast of Florida, and it was a *wonderful*
experience seeing Joni in concert again. I'm not going to review the entire
concert since the west coast JMDLer's did such a fine job. There were no
surprises at this concert (except NO programs). She did the same set list as
in the LA and SF concerts. Unfortunately we didn't have the pleasure of
Herbie Hancock and Mark Isham, but I thought the orchestra did a fine job.
I got to the Mars Music Amphitheater an hour and half ahead of time. Earlier
that morning I had called the venue and spoke with someone in charge of the
VIP boxes. He was real nice and offered me 2 passes to the VIP room. I heard
some of the performers will often wait in the VIP lounge prior to the
concert, and I thought there would be a chance of seeing Joni. No such luck!
Fellow JMDLer David Mingus and I waited in this area for quite some time and
no Joni! I finally left for the pavilion area to buy some T-shirts and a
signed litho (This venue was nice enough to provide the mailing tubes with
I had been checking Ticket Masters every so often, so it was no surprise for
me that there was a poor turn out for the concert. Although the seats I
purchased were on the 10th row left of stage, we were able to move closer to
the center as the concert began. In fact there were plenty of empty seats in
the rows in front of us. I'm not sure if sitting close to the stage was the
best way to get the full effect of the orchestra, but I was thrilled to sit
close enough to Joni to see her expressions.
Unlike the two previous concerts which were in cooler cities and venues, this
IS Florida in May. It as a clear night and the moon was one day short of
being full. There was a nice warm breeze, but still this was not a place to
get dressed up. I think only the main orchestra members were in tuxedos. Most
of them just wore white shirts and many without ties. I saw some of the
orchestra members wearing short sleeve shirts and some with their shirt tails
untucked. I even saw Joni push up the sleeves on her long flowing turquoise
dress a few times.
I thought Joni seemed at ease for the most part of the concert. She looked
radiant and I thought her voice was crisp and clear throughout the entire
performance. I think she was enjoying herself and the audience seemed to be
At one point someone in the audience shouted for her to play the guitar. Joni
said "I've left all my instruments honey. I'm just a singer, a chirp with the
band". Everyone laughed and then Joni noticed someone in the audience who
brought a guitar. Joni said " Oh you have your guitar. I forget how to play
it. So I bought a bra and burned my guitar." The audience went wild with
laughter. She also got a few laughs when she talked about her gigs in Miami
in the 60's and the problems she was having with her husband Chuck. She said
" even his own Mother said on our wedding day (of him) the first waffle (he
was the first born) should be used to warm up the pan and thrown out!"
I really enjoyed the new songs. "Hejira" with the slight samba beat was my
favorite, but "Ludwig's Tune" was equally fantastic. I thought "FTR" started
off a bit sluggish, but it quickly gained my appreciation. I'm really looking
forward to hearing that one again! "Be Cool" and "Trouble Man" were wonderful
and I just can't wait to see what else she adds to the new album.
You folks in Atlanta are in for a great treat! I only wish I had the time
and money to attend *all* of the remaining concerts.
I do want to add that it was a pleasure to finally meet fellow JMDLer Jerry
Notaro and new lister "Boston Jim" Leonard. It was great to see Pearl again
too! It was too bad that we didn't have any plans for a get together, but
I'll get to see some of you in New Orleans.
I'm exhausted and hungry!
Glad to be back home.
Thanks for representing the FLA contingent with your comprehensive review,
Jimmy. It was a wonderful show, and made me respect our JMDL writers in L.A.
and S.F. all the more. There wasn't much about the show that hadn't already
been described, very well, from the left coast.
I drove 4 hours each way (from Tampa to WPB, and back), returning home last
night at about 2:30 a.m. Then, it was very hard to fall asleep. I had to be
up at the usual time (pretty darn early), so I'm presently on fumes.
We really missed saying goodbye to you after the show, Jimmy. Addie and I
both enjoyed meeting you. We began walking to the car just after "For The
Roses," knowing we would hear "Trouble Man" on our way out. I hated to do
that because of not staying to say so long to you, but it probably saved us
a 1/2 hour or more in getting out of the parking lot, with that long drive
ahead. There were a lot of empty seats, to be sure, but still a whole lot of
Great show! The orchestrated version of "Hejira" made
it ALL worthwhile. I was nothing short of blown away
by it. I am REALLY hoping that it ends up on her next
Joni was funny! Someone asked her to get her guitar,
and she responded that she had left her instruments
behind and was just singing this time. "I bought a
bra and burned my guitar," she said! :) She also told
funny stories about Chuck and her last visit to the
Miami area (1965). The two of them got into a tiff at
their gig, so she decided to walk back to their hotel
and ended up in a black neighborhood. When she walked
by, in gold shoes and gold tights and a gold minidress
and with long gold hair, the boisterous area grew very
quiet, and she heard a black man's voice on a balcony
saying "Let it go by....Just let it go by."
There were no programs at this show, unfortunately. I
had hoped to grab a bunch and send them to our British
friends on the list!