Comments on this appearance
You can comment using your Facebook profile, or by registering and logging in through this website. Registered comments are indexed and are a permanent part of the website - Facebook comments are not indexed, and may eventually disappear.
» Register and log in to be the first to add a permanent comment.
By Bob Muller, Reporting for JoniMitchell.com
Hello, Joni Mitchell fans everywhere! Bob Muller here, from Greenville, SC, filing his report on the most excellent Joni Mitchell concert from Chastain Park in Atlanta, GA:
The good weather that's been following Joni so far on the tour continued Friday night. Those of us who have lived below the Mason-Dixon line know that this time of year can bring some hot sticky nights and even some thunderstorms with the humidity. But the powers that be were having none of that, it was a beautiful night in Atlanta, the sun ducking for cover behind clouds and offering up a nice breeze to keep it comfortable.
I had never been to Chastain Park, and really found it to be quite lovely. A totally open amphitheatre surrounded by tall Magnolias and Oaks provided a set of natural beauty, and set the scene for the incredible beauty that Joni was about to bring our way.
The show was scheduled to start at 8, but for whatever reasons didn't get underway until around 8:45. This presented no problems, however - the crowd was soaking up the ambiance and many had tables with food, wine, and elegant candleabra.
The orchestra warmed up with a pleasant piece, I wasn't sure what it was but it was suggested that perhaps it was a Stravinsky. I thought it could have been Wagner as well, but they played it with skill and grace and perched us all precariously on the edge of our seats, knowing that Joni was ready to make her entrance. When she did, she received her first standing ovation of the night, a symbol of the gratitude we Joni fans have for the truth & beauty she's filled all our lives with over the years.
Of course, as we all know by now, the set list is just that - set. There were no surprises as far as the songs performed, but the night was still full of excitement. She started right in with "You're My Thrill", then quickly commented that she wasn't going to be playing anything, but that she had come to sing. "Let this be a beutiful and romantic journey through the past for all of us" she said to the crowd.
With "At Last", the stage was given a light smoky setting, to visually present us with an image of Joni playing a cross between a jazz-club chanteuse and a big band singer on the bandstand. Freed of an instrument other than her voice, Joni was able to dive in to her set and invest herself fully emotionally, she would often close her eyes and allow herself to get lost in the classics that she is staking new claim to.
"For many years I've been called a folksinger, but tonight my 'roots' are showing", she said, and garnered a nice laugh from the audience before launching into "Comes Love", which really swung! The orchestra really kicked up the tempo here as opposed to the way she sang it on BSN. And we were treated to the first of the several incredible trumpet solos offered up by Miles' prodigy Wallace Roney.
"Just when everything is going very well", Joni says, pointing her thumb down, "Ewwwrrrrrr" (the sound of a plane taking a dive), and right into "You've Changed", which was quite lovely particularly when she sang "You've forgotten the words 'I love you'", and shared some interplay with saxophonist Bob Sheppard.
"So you have a few choices, begging is one of them", Joni says introducing "Answer Me, My Love". She also described how she would sing this song when she was a little girl saying "sad songs on the way to school...sad, but beautiful"...and beautiful it was.
"So then you head to the bar"....and when the orchestra played the recognizable melody of "A Case of You", the audience came alive. Highlighted by Joni's emotional singing and a lilting soprano sax solo, the audience was spell bound, and Joni's expression after the song was deathly serious, until she glanced at Conducter/Arranger, and winked and then broke into an infectious grin. Joni owned the night, and she knew it. A truly glorious moment.
At this point I'd like to also comment on the highly effective lighting used for the concert. Lovely contrasting pastels were used to separate orchestra sections and Joni. For "Don't Go To Strangers", for instance, at one point the orchestra was split by Blue, Yellow & Red lighting, and at the end of the song Joni was bathed in a yellow glow while the orchestra was bathed in blue. Small detail, but it really added to the visual enjoyment of the concert, I thought.
Joni then commented about trying to please the "hardened criminals" at the record company and also getting her father to listen to her new record. She performed "Sometimes I'm Happy", and again I thought the tempo was much friskier than I was used to. I found it hard to stop swaying in my seat as I watched Joni sway and wave her hands, surrendering herself to her reportoire. "Don't Worry About Me" began accapella, and by now the humid Georgia night was starting to show on Joni. She had a very sexy glow, and needed to drink some water to keep her pipes in top shape. She then announced the intermission, and the house lights came up.
Joni appeared soon after a brief intermission, barely giving us a chance to absorb the magnificence of the first half of the concert. Her outfit again was different, a rose-colored blouse and long skirt combo replacing the olive-colored suit she had started with.
Of course, she picked up where she had left off, and "Stormy Weather" was another crowd pleaser. Listening to it reminded me of the version she sang at the Stormy Weather benefit and thinking that she was really reveling in her newfound role as a modern-day interpreter of these standards.
Joni & the orchestra swung hard once more with an uptempo "I Wish I Were in Love Again", with Peter Erskine cutting loose and really driving the rhythm of the song. Joni must've had her doubts regarding the lyrics as she held a lyric sheet for this one, then defiantly flinging it behind her after she knew she had it nailed.
She launched into "Both Sides Now", and even though I expected it, the tears in this reviewer's eyes began to flow. Joni really pours herself into this one, and she obviously feeds on the appreciation showered on her by the crowd. The second standing ovation of the night followed as Joni wrapped up the "Both Sides Now" portion of the show and announced that she was now going to present her "I Hate Show Business" section of the show by presenting new arrangements of her original songs. Again, no surprises here other than even though I knew the songs, the presentations were all new to my ears, and very exhilerating.
"Be Cool" lended itself very well to the arrangement, in particular the horn section was very strong. Kudos to master arranger Vince Mendoza. And when Joni sings "50/50, Fire and Iccccccce", with a hiss, it makes the performance even 'cooler'. Again, Wallace Raney contributed a standout trumpet solo.
She brilliantly segued with a discussion of artists who were charming & alarming, listing Miles Davis, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Beethoven. She told the story of Beethoven and the music box and then presented "Judgement of the Moon and Stars", and she really invested herself vocally on this one. It was as if old Ludwig was standing in front of her and she was singing to him with every ounce of conviction she had. The arrangement was challenging but I found it to be quite accessible. I also was amazed that the orchestras are able to execute these difficult pieces so ably - I was very impressed with this group of talented musicians.
Out walked Larry Klein, and Joni announced "It's the Russian" (she had referred to him earlier with the now-familiar title "Russian on Prozac"). Larry and company then broke into "Hejira", and he was totally incredible! filling each phrase with what seemed like dozens of notes, he accented the different rhythmic structure that has been established for this song. Vocally, Joni really was wailing, adding some scatting "whoaaaaa" after the "waltzing on a bridal girl" & "between the foreceps and the stone" lyrics. At the song's end, she was bathed in a surreal purple light that combined with the lyrical and ethereal magic of this song to send chills all over my skin. Again, a mental photograph I will cherish forever.
The audience of course was shouting out requests for Joni, including "Itsy Bitsy Spider"...that would surely have been interesting, but alas, it was not to be. She laughed at the requests, turned to the orchestra and said "Can you imagine - OK boys, improvise" which gave her a nice chuckle.
Her performance of "For The Roses" was again very challenging, causing many members of the crowd to look at one another, and only the best fans were able to determine which song she was doing. While I enjoyed the song, I thought it was perhaps TOO much of a challenge to present with an orchestra that only had a limited rehearsal time. Perhaps Joni felt the challenge as well, for she stumbled a bit on the line "In thirties evening gowns", but laughed it all away and recovered in fine form.
She left the stage briefly, then returned to encore with what she called "Marvin Gaye's 'I hate show business' song", and kicked off Trouble Man, again featuring dead-on sax work by Bob Sheppard. The orchestra really cut loose on this one, and the audience was on its feet for the final standing ovation to close the show.
Joni introduced the players, thanked Atlanta for a wonderful night, and said she wished there had been more time for rehearsals. That's our Joni, ever the perfectionist! She also said she looked forward to coming back, and that may have been the best music to my ears all night! You can bet when she makes good on that promise, this reviewer will have his place in the stands!
REPORTS FROM THE INTERNET COMMUNITY
Seeing Joni perform in Atlanta was one of the best evenings of my life. I have been a devoted fan for over 20 years. Living in the south I have only had the opportunity to see her perform live a few times. Last night was mindblowing. She is so beautiful.She gracefully glided on stage and began to weave her magic. As she sang and the other musicians began to play, I felt my own spirit acutually begin to move and lift. My heart began to dance! It was truly beyond my expectations.
I enjoyed every moment of the show. Of course, her original music was my favorite. She seemed happy to be in Atlanta.
The orchestra, Peter Erskine, and Larry Klein were fabulous also.
Joni, if you ever read these letters, please, please, please come back to Atlanta soon. Thank you so much for coming here this time and last year. Your music has enriched my life!
Joni was outstanding! She is so in tune with this music and you can tell how much she enjoys singing these songs. I can't believe some of the fans comments that they were disappointed she did not play her "old stuff". I love the old stuff too, but this was a special treat that we may never get to see again. Thanks Joni for a wonderful evening!
I attended Joni's concert in Atlanta with the regional for Warner Brothers. We both had a feeling of impending disaster as the concert goers at Chastaine Park (in Atlanta) have a reputation for disregarding the performers and chatting full bore, obliterating the concert experience. Miracle of miracles! Joni grabbed the attention of the fans with the first notes of "You're My Thrill" and held them all the way through to her encores. It was a beautfiul concert and Joni filled her opening promise of taking us to the past in a way that makes the future seem so much more promising. It was a fantastic concert!
- Michael Kurtz
A evening with Joni...
My best friend and I grew up singing Joni Mitchell songs. When the opportunity to shell out $150.00 for two box seats at a under the stars concert last night in Atlanta came available we grabbed them. I was like a kid... excited and anxious to actually get to see our lifelong musical idle. We sang her songs out loud in the car and our expectations were very high. The orchestra was setting up... everyone buzzing with excitement. You could feel energy of the huge outdoor audience. 8pm was concert time. Joni walked out like a queen across the stage at 8:45pm. She told us she was not going to play anything.. she was just going to sing. The first few songs were not that familiar to us but we sat and listened. It was time for her intermission. Hoping that in her next set she would start to sing some of HER own songs. But no.... she sang her jazzy love songs that were standards from my mom's times... and I'm 49! I kept waiting for her to give the audience what they were craving for. JONI's music.. Perhaps a bit of something from Blue or Court and Spark.. maybe one from Ladies of the Canyon..??? NO... it was just not the Joni we knew and loved. It was a woman singing nicely but ...not with the range or style she had so perfectly enchanted us with many years ago. She sang "A case of You" which sounded nothing like it once did. Both Sides Now was lovely but again it wasn't with that bounce it had. I realize it was because she was backed up by a classical orchestra, but couldn't she understand how we craved for some of her originals? The concert ended and we headed slowly up the hill and stairs and back to our car. I was very disappointed in this concert. It not only was the most expensive show I've ever gone too but it was the most slow and uneventful one too. I know you probably won't print this on the web site. I don't care if you do or not. I wanted to share some of our feelings on an evening with the lady that needed only one name. Joni...
At times during this concert you could hear murmurs of people wanting the music they know and love even one man yelled.. "Joni pick it up" How can they put together this big of a concert without throwing us a bone. Just a few of HER standards would have helped this evening out so much. We were downright disappointed!
fans since the 60s...
i've been a fan since i was 12 years old. (i'm now 41) my older sister turned me on to joni's music and the first album i got was "for the roses".
the concert at chastain was such a wonderful thrill for me. while it was not what i had expected (musically), it was so very perfect. i LOVED the overture!! i am a classical music fan and recognized the debussy piece immediately!! the subtlety was remarkable and couldn't have been more beautiful.
after someone handed me a program and i saw the listing of songs she would be performing, my interest was totally piqued! i am happy to see joni doing, once again, something different.
i thoroughly enjoyed this magical evening and was thrilled to be a part of it.
My wife Nancy and I attended the Chastain Park concert in Atlanta Friday night, 26 years after going to see Joni in Atlanta on our first date, and she's still amazing! The music and setting were wonderful, with the only problem being audience members who talked non stop through the show. I asked people to hold it down 4 times before intermission, and finally moved to other seats. I don't understand why anyone would spend that much for tickets and then show such a complete disregard for the music and for those of us who wanted to hear it! I've heard Joni Mitchell play four times, and she's always different and always wonderful. And yes Bob, I got tears in my eyes during "Both Sides Now", too! Joni never fails to move me.
I find it annoying that folks going to the Both Sides Now concerts who profess to be such BIG Joni fans "for years" are shocked and confused by the material. Don't these fans wait as anxiously as I do for her newest offering at the music store???? Don't they follow the news on this awesome web site???
I was spellbound in Atlanta, Chastain is a perfect setting. the weather was super, and Joni was flawless. I agree with your reviewer about the lighting as it added to the whole experience.
Joni has thrilled me with her new path, what better way to keep these classic and beloved songs alive than to have them interpreted via Joni's most valuable instrument, her voice??
Thank you, Joni for a beautiful evening and thirty years of pure enjoyment.
Not only was I at the concert last night in Atlanta, I was playing in the orchestra (2nd chair Double Bass). I play by ear, as well as freelance as a classical musician, and have been singing and playing Joni Mitchell songs for over 30 years. I have many old Joni LPs and an original edition of the Joni Mitchell song book.
Let me tell you that last night was one of the finest musical experiences of my life. I know many of the orchestra members that were playing, and they all felt the same way. Vince was superb and gave careful attention to details in our long rehearsal. We all appreciated his complimentary attitude so much that we did not mind the long rehearsal.
Joni was magical.
I had never seen her live performance in all of these years of listening to her and was profoundly priveledged to be on the same stage with her.
One of my best friends in the first violin section went to Interlochen with Peter Erskine and I was able to meet him. He is truely an incredible musician. The only song he did not play on (Judgement of the Moon and Stars), was lacking in rhythmic consistency even though we were trying our best in the bass section to keep it solid. Please express my thanks to Peter for such a solid beat, and his smiles at me throughout the concert.
I loved the music so much that I went out and bought the CD today and have listened to my old friend "Both Sides Now" about 6 times. Please tell Vince that his motive of G-F#-A-E is perfect for this piece. Now I am trying to incorporate this motive into how I play the song on my guitar. Also tell Vince that I play with a lot of the folks that were in the orchestra last night on a regular basis. We usually play about 2 gigs each summer at Chastain. He is the best conductor we have had, and we appreciate his consideration and professionalism toward the hired musicians. Most times, every one is complaining about the LOUD music, lousy parts, and incompetent conductors. That did not happen last night with the Joni Mitchell concert. All of my friends, most of whom are first call musicians in Atlanta, enjoyed every minute.
Please tell Joni that "Both Sides Now" has come back to haunt me after 30 years, and it seems to still be the case, even though I am much older that:
It's Love's (and Life's) illusions that I recall.
And no, I really don't know either, not at all. Illusions....
Fortunately, old friends are not acting strange, they don't shake their heads, they can't say I've changed.
Thank you for providing this forum.
Joni's performance was delightful. She seemed to be having such a good time up there. It was certainly different from all the other shows I've seen her do. Many people were disappointed in the lack of old material but that's just Joni, always changing and morphing. Just when you think you're getting comfortable, she's going to change everything. That's not a bad thing. That's just part of being a creative artist.
I bought extra tickets and took several people, some who knew Joni and others who did not. Those who knew little or nothing about Joni enjoyed the show far more than those who had followed Joni for several years. In fact, one of my friends who is almost the same age as Joni said "Well, I think Joni has grown but maybe I haven't..." She so wanted to sing along with pieces from Joni's work in the 70s. I understand. An artist whose career spans many decades can be difficult to keep up with. It's quite an investment of time and energy (and money). We all change trains from time to time.
I do wish she had included a couple of more 'uptempo' songs (regardless of who wrote them). There were moments when the energy lagged a bit. It was nice to see Joni put some much expression into her vocal performance. While her range isn't there, her phrasing and dynamics more than make up for it.
Overall, it was very fine show and one I will remember for many years. And I must say, Chastain Park is a wonderful venue that served Joni well.
Hey, this is Ken from Atlanta, and it's taken me until tonight to actually have time at the computer to write a bit. Chastain Park was perfect Friday night. The orchestra itself gave me chills and makes me want to go back just to hear symphonies, as it was perhaps the best sounding outdoor concert I've ever heard. I suppose this is because Chastain itself is a bowl surrounded by trees, and the audience was attentive and not talkative as I have heard is often the case there. I'm a bit put off by the idea that there are scads of season-ticket holders who show up regardless of who's playing, or corporate types there to entertain clients, for whom the candles and dinner and evening out are more important than the performer, and yet I was quite happy to find that everyone behaved and everything sounded perfect. The great side-effect being, that Joni was surrounded by candles for the entire performance, amazing once it got dark. (Thanks also to Steve's binoculars, the same ones Bob thanked him for. :o)
The performance was everything we expected and more. Expected, being that the songs from the album were faithfully well-done without sounding at all as if Joni was singing by rote, she was expressive throughout. More, being that the five songs at the end completely blew us away.
I never appreciated "Be Cool" at all in the past, it always seemed like the WTRF throwaway to me, but now it's something else entirely and I love it! It swings harder than anything else in the show, and gave Wallace and Peter and Larry a chance to show off. Larry's best playing was on Hejira, which had me in stitches because after joni's line "when I'm always bound and tied to someone" Larry played this taunting flurry of notes to hysterically and playfully throw it right back.
For those who don't know Wallace Roney the trumpeter, let me note something that had me completely in awe. Wallace has been at the top of the "young lions" trumpet heap for about the last ten years or more. He's thought of as one of miles' main heirs in a few particular ways--- the last full album made by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams was a tribute to Miles, and they invited Wallace to play trumpet on it. A few years before, during Miles' final months on the planet, Miles agreed to play a concert in Montreax with Quincy Jones orchestrating a number of well-known tunes associated with Miles' collaborations with Gil Evans three decades earlier, which was highly unusual for Miles as he was never one to look back, until then. After the concert, Miles gave Wallace one of his later-years trademark red trumpets, and I am absolutely sure that Wallace was playing it behind Joni on Friday night.
There was one moment that completely capped off the evening for me. Us jmdlers headed to the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead to see if SIQUOMB would make an appearance, and even though she didn't I spent the rest of the night with my jaw wide open because I got to have a brief chat with Larry Klein in the bar. He had just finished explaining to the others how that kind of gig with the orchestra made improvising or altering the setlist pretty impossible, when I asked him if he remembered the jazz songwriter Bob Dorough. He said of course he did, and I asked him if he knew a song Bob co-wrote with Miles Davis called "Blue XMas," which was a highly cynical christmas song with lines like "merry christmas, hope you have a nice one but for me it's blue," "it's a time when the greedy give a dime to the needy," "people giving gifts that matter not at all" and I asked Larry if he would, if Joni is *really* going to do a Christmas album if he'd suggest that one, because I can totally picture her singing it and it seems to fit the "dreary little christmas" theme rather humorously. Larry nodded and said "I know the song" and had a sort of bemused look of surprise on his face that anyone would mention such a thing. Well.. wouldn't it be something if she does, I was thrilled that he recognized it because it's rather obscure, and yet he's the sort of guy who would have the complete Gil-Miles box where it makes it's only currently-in-print appearance. I had my jaw open for about the next two days....
I just got off the phone with my brother, who attended tonight's concert in
Atlanta. I'll be brief, so as not to spoil the pleasure of the JMDLers in
writing their reviews. Atlanta was "excellent," according to my bro'. The
two sets were as we've come to expect, with no additions or subtractions.
Joni was in great voice and great spirits.
still floating too high to write a serious review of the Atlanta show. what
an immense talent she has, and such graciousness and charm. and that giggle
that we all love in BYT is still alive and well, just a few octaves lower now.
thanks for the lovely notes and encouragement, paul bob and garrett.
programs o' plenty available in Atlanta, as were lithographs, both signed and
unsigned. the shirt, however, that i had decided to purchase - the
"facelift" shirt - was unavailable. otherwise, shirts seemed identical to
those described by others.
god, wish i could follow her to the rest of the shows. anyone willing to
cough up another round of $10,000 stipends for me??
Okay, I wanted to fulfill my obligation as a reporter for the website,
realizing that the audience reading that was much larger than my JMDL
brethren and sistern!
So, now, I get to relax a bit and just talk to my good pals...firstly,
Leslie, they didn't pull the program, even though the Atlanta date was wrong.
I grabbed a TON of programs, and have them now in my grubbly little hands, so
if you've GOT to have one, let me know. It was funny, at intermission, I went
to one of the usher ladies who had the programs. I told her that since Joni
was not touring abroad, I was designated by the website to distribute the
programs around the world. She said "by all means", and gave me the pile, and
it really is a pretty thing.
I also scammed some of the Chastain Park programs, a thicker book with the
Joni info in the center. This cracked me up as the thing is riddled with
mistakes, the funniest one being that they said Joni's latest record was
TTT!!! And THIS was the program for the BSN show - go figga!
Plus, I was able to turn a few people on to the websites as I was sporing my
"Joni Mitchell Internet Community" denim shirt. One girl asked me if I was
with the tour, and would I deliver a recording of hers to Joni!
OK, I have to thank Victor for hosting & arranging our Atlanta JMDL
get-together. Funny, I met a bunch of JMDLer's in '98 for the Atlanta show,
and the only one I saw again was Medric Faulkner...hopefully I'm not scaring
them off...anyway, the JMDLer's present at Victor's were:
Ken (who has a wondrous post to share with us, right Ken?)
Victor and his girlfriend Holly (who graciously made the most scrumptious
Jess (the movie star)
Lisa from NC (magicflute)
Alice from NC
Paul from Augusta
I sat with Paul, Ken & Steve at the show. Paul was excited because the LAST
time he saw Joni was in '68 at the Bitter End in NY on Bleecker Street!
Lisa brought a bean dish with "JONI" spelled out with Green Peppers! Very
Victor entertained us while we ate and chatted with really nice renditions of
"Free Man in Paris", "Little Green", and some of his own songs including a
new one "Angel", that was great - you guys who are going to see him in N.O.
Thursday night are really in for a treat!
Alas, lightning did NOT strike twice - we did not have a Joni encounter...BUT
we did manage to chat with Klein back at the hotel. I shook his hand,
congratulated him on a wonderful show and tour, and of course it wasn't long
before he was surrounded by the lady JMDLer's! :-) (Funny how that
happens...) Anyway, I asked Larry if Joni was coming down to the lounge - he
said "Probably not, but you never can tell"....well, needless to say, that
was enough to keep us seated in the lounge, sending out "lookouts" on
ocassion to see if Joni was anywhere to be seen. So we chatted, and it was
just like a list discussion - there were several diferent discussions going
on at the same time, some were just lurking, and I wouldn't shut up! :-)
But I will now - I'm exhausted! But thanks again Victor for offering up your
place, and to all the rest for the opportunity to meet and greet - JMDLer's
Here is an overview if interessted. Chastain Park, an outdoor venue,
is a great place for concerts. Not a bad seat. We were right above
the floor, about 50 yds. from stage, slightly right of center. We
met friends for dinner at our table for wine, dinner, and music.
The evening was beautiful, about 80 degrees with a slight breeze.
Very comfortable. All ages were in the audience. Our group ranged
from late 30's to early 50's. Ladies in front of us were in their
mid to late 60's. Young folk were there too of course.
I proceeded to grab a couple of Corona's and take a seat about 7:45.
The orchestra came on stage at about 8:10, and Joni walked out at
about 8:30. She was stunning, wearing that green dress (you know the
one), and looking good. She followed the musical set in the
brochure. The entire BSN allbum. She said she was going to sing,
and hoped everyone had a romantic evening. The venue seemed to be
pretty full, with some empty seats in the upper rows. She seemed to
spot those quickly. I watched her every move through binoculars. I
could see her every move, wince, smile. The audience seemed very
responsive after each song. Joni seemed to be very relaxed and in
good spirits. She was enjoying herself. She would pause between
songs, and respond to the crowd. I was a little surprised. She showed
a true human side there, wanting a little more than to do a few songs
and leave. She wanted the evening to be successful and fun also.
She did show some compassion which made me feel very good about her.
There were a few outbursts from the audience which she responded to.
This seemed to open her up even more, smiling into the intro of the
next song. She seemed to be having a wonderful evening, and so were
we. She took about a 15 minute itermission. She walked back on
stage with a red low cut top and over garments. Joni was stunning.
She then introduced Larry Klein as the "mad Russian on Prozac" that
nearly brought the house down. Joni talked a great deal more than I
anticipated, probably due to the fact that she had no guitar to tune
between songs. She proceeded with Hejira. I have to admit I got a
little emotional. Larry's bass with Joni's voice was almost too much
to bear. (Hejira is where I started connecting w/ her music in '77,
and actually worked my way back in collecting all her early stuff)
That song made my evening. The audience responded and some stood at
that conclusion, as they did with Both Sides Now, and A Case of You.
She left the stage after BSN, but the audience coaxed her to return
with a standing ovation. Joni then said that Larry was choosing
songs already from her next album. They played 3 of those. Sorry,
I was so enthralled in her that I didn't get the titles. She then
said goodnight, introduced some of the orchestra, then walked off
stage. Some of the crowd worked their way down to the stage and she
reached down and shook about 20 hands and waved to the rest. I was
I tried desperately to get an autograph. I came armed with the
Hissing of Summer Lawns album cover, and Turbulent Indigo CD jacket.
We asked the sound men if they could take one back stage. They were
firm with their denials, saying that she was a very private person,
but if you were to meet her personlly she would probably be glad to.
When the concert was over, I got my T-Shirt and hustled behind stage.
I was going to hold my album cover up as she passed, hoping she
would notice and even stop, but some folks were there at the
driveway and said she got in the limo and left as soon as it was
over. They went on to say that Ian Anderson (J. Tull) stood around
the venue when he completed his concert and got into the back of a
chevy cavalier. Signed autographs, stood for pictures etc. Oh well.
Wanted to get a signed lithograph, but $175 was a little steep. Got
the t-shrt with BSN paintings of her on front and back. They had
others. I did manage to get a few extra brochures. If interested
contact me personally and I'll see what I can do.
Even though she did not play the guitar and did not play many of her
own songs, I just enjoyed seeing her finally, and listening to that
voice. There were a few killjoys saying "how many of Joni Mitchell
songs did you recognize"? If they were Joni fans at all they should
know what she's into now. This is her now. You must go on. Change
is good. You have to move on. She definitely has her own unique
way of singing. And, she is comfortable with that role. She smiled
many times to "we love you Joni" chants from the audience. "Okay
Atlanta!!!", she said. She seemed to connect with the evening and
crowd very well. :)
Hey, this is Ken from Atlanta, and it's taken me until tonight to actually
have time at the computer to write a bit. Chastain Park was perfect
Friday night. The orchestra itself gave me chills and makes me want to go
back just to hear symphonies, as it was perhaps the best sounding outdoor
concert I've ever heard. I suppose this is because Chastain itself is a
bowl surrounded by trees, and the audience was attentive and not talkative
as I have heard is often the case there. I'm a bit put off by the idea
that there are scads of season-ticket holders who show up regardless of
who's playing, or corporate types there to entertain clients, for whom the
candles and dinner and evening out are more important than the performer,
and yet I was quite happy to find that everyone behaved and everything
sounded perfect. The great side-effect being, that Joni was surrounded by
candles for the entire performance, amazing once it got dark. (Thanks
also to Steve's binoculars, the same ones Bob thanked him for. :o)
The performance was everything we expected and more. Expected, being that
the songs from the album were faithfully well-done without sounding at all
as if Joni was singing by rote, she was expressive throughout. More,
being that the five songs at the end completely blew us away.
I never appreciated "Be Cool" at all in the past, it always seemed like
the WTRF throwaway to me, but now it's something else entirely and I love
it! It swings harder than anything else in the show, and gave Wallace and
Peter and Larry a chance to show off. Larry's best playing was on Hejira,
which had me in stitches because after joni's line "when I'm always bound
and tied to someone" Larry played this taunting flurry of notes to
hysterically and playfully throw it right back.
For those who don't know Wallace Roney the trumpeter, let me note
something that had me completely in awe. Wallace has been at the top of
the "young lions" trumpet heap for about the last ten years or more. He's
thought of as one of miles' main heirs in a few particular ways--- the
last full album made by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony
Williams was a tribute to Miles, and they invited Wallace to play trumpet
on it. A few years before, during Miles' final months on the planet,
Miles agreed to play a concert in Montreax with Quincy Jones orchestrating
a number of well-known tunes associated with Miles' collaborations with
Gil Evans three decades earlier, which was highly unusual for Miles as he
was never one to look back, until then. After the concert, Miles gave
Wallace one of his later-years trademark red trumpets, and I am absolutely
sure that Wallace was playing it behind Joni on Friday night.
There was one moment that completely capped off the evening for me. Us
jmdlers headed to the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead to see if SIQUOMB would make
an appearance, and even though she didn't I spent the rest of the night
with my jaw wide open because I got to have a brief chat with Larry Klein
in the bar. He had just finished explaining to the others how that kind
of gig with the orchestra made improvising or altering the setlist pretty
impossible, when I asked him if he remembered the jazz songwriter Bob
Dorough. He said of course he did, and I asked him if he knew a song Bob
co-wrote with Miles Davis called "Blue XMas," which was a highly cynical
christmas song with lines like "merry christmas, hope you have a nice one
but for me it's blue," "it's a time when the greedy give a dime to the
needy," "people giving gifts that matter not at all" and I asked Larry if
he would, if Joni is *really* going to do a Christmas album if he'd
suggest that one, because I can totally picture her singing it and it
seems to fit the "dreary little christmas" theme rather humorously.
Larry nodded and said "I know the song" and had a sort of bemused look of
surprise on his face that anyone would mention such a thing. Well..
wouldn't it be something if she does, I was thrilled that he recognized it
because it's rather obscure, and yet he's the sort of guy who would have
the complete Gil-Miles box where it makes it's only currently-in-print
appearance. I had my jaw open for about the next two days....
Funny Atlanta Moment:
About half-way through the show, the guy beside me (who was also
sitting by himself) leans over to me and asks "Is she going to make an
album of this music?"
I guess he was reading that chastain program , eh Bob?
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed meeting the Joni list people in
Atlanta.I especially want to thank Victor and his lovely girlfriend Holly
for being such a gracious host and hostess (I instantly felt at home!) I
enjoyed meeting Bob, Steve, Paul, Ken, Jess and Alice! (Everyone was very
friendly )Thanks to Jess for such a sweet compliment!(I enjoyed meeting you
and talking to you also!)Thanks to Alice for taking such wonderful photos
of Joni!(I enjoyed sitting so close to the stage with you!)Thanks to Bob
for being so entertaining and interesting,just like he is on the list!
Thanks to Victor for driving me and Holly,Bob,Jess and Alice to Chastain
and for giving such a wonderful house concert the next night! Victor is
such a talented singer songwriter and musician.I was extrememly impressed
with his guitar playing, beautiful voice and songwriting abilities.Very
special thanks to Larry Klein for being so very friendly and talking to us
and for patting me on my shoulder! And extra special thanks go to Joni for
looking so stunning and beautiful and for singing so beautifully and for
giving me and everyone else an evening we will never forget!! I was
thrilled to see her again and was as high as a kite before,during and at
least two days after the concert! I was staying with my mother in Atlanta(I
live in N. Carolina) and I believe I drove her crazy with so much Joni
talk! So thanks to my Mom for putting up with my obsessive behavior! Oh,I
almost forgot,I also need to thank my orthopedic surgeon for allowing me to
schedule surgery on my right shoulder(the same one Larry patted!!) until
after Joni's concert! I'm having a manipulation and arthroscopy of my right
shoulder tomorrow(May 24th) and last but not least thanks to the JMDL for
being such a wonderful,loving,caring ,friendly bunch of people!! I hope
everyone enjoys Joni's remaining concerts!