This work-in-progress lists all currently known appearances, drawn from a variety of sources.
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001-2015.
Special thanks to Joel Bernstein for his contributions and assistance.
Latest Update: August 15, 2015
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By Dave Fairall, Reporting for JoniMitchell.com
Meriweather Post Pavilion is an aesthetically pleasing music venue, nestled in the woods and rolling hills of Columbia Maryland. Located roughly halfway between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, it bears a striking resemblance to the Universal Amphitheatre, pictured on the cover of Joni Mitchell's 1974 release "Miles of Aisles." Established in 1967, this natural amphitheater is host to an annual Summer Concert series featuring a wide range of artists, but usually heavily amplified rock acts. Meriweather is notorious for being a "live room," no doubt due to the abundance of wood surfaces, but on this particular evening, a unique assemblage of musicians graced its stage, not your everyday rock and roll band. The result made for a magical night, for which the weather and venue was perfect, and the music sublime.
Joni brought her entourage, including the usual suspects; Conductor Vinnie Mendoza and Musical Director, Larry Klein, who along with a splendid rythum section consisting of Peter Erskine on drums and Chuck Berghofer on bass, were joined by outstanding soloists Bob Sheppard on tenor and soprano saxophone, and Wallace Roney on trumpet. For this show however, the contracted musicians may have made the difference, as most of the "hired guns" were either National Symphony or Military Band members. Their virtuosity and command was obvious from the outset, as the orchestra was able to do justice to Mr. Mendoza's lush and interesting arrangements.
The opening instrumental piece set the stage, and the sound was terrific from the start. I was fortunate to have somehow secured front row right orchestra seats, and could hear every section very clearly. The chore of miking an entire orchestra is a supreme challenge for any sound engineer, but clearly the house technician was up to the task.
Joni appeared to joyous applause first to perform "You're My Thrill" (no surprises with the set list), and she was in good voice, and very relaxed from the start. Upon introducing "At Last" she commented that it was Etta James's signature tune, and that it was intimidating to journey to "Etta land," but she truly has adopted this song as her own. The importance of drummer Peter Erskine to the proceedings was immediately obvious. He is the consummate tasteful player, equally at home with brushes and sticks, and his dynamic understated swing on "At Last" set the stage for the evening. Peter's groove and Joni's confidence was even more obvious on "Comes Love," a tune which has been in her repertoire for at least several years (I saw her perform it at the "Day in the Garden Festival" for the first time in 1998). Wallace Roney contributed "Miles-like" phrasing and an introspective harmonic approach to this minor blues masterpiece. All in all a very gratifying version. The intervals and melodic sensibility of"You've Changed" seem to be a bit more challenging for Joni to muster, and I detected some of the hoarseness she exhibits on the studio recording. Her phrasing and increasing mastery of the jazz idiom give her version character however, and she was aided by Bob Sheppard's marvelous tenor saxophone sound. "Answer Me My Love" was up next, and again the orchestra proved to be the hero, playing with a wonderful level of dynamic sensitivity, every voicing of this folk-like tune was fully realized. Joni stuck to the script when introducing "one of my own," her haunting "A Case of You," and delivered a performance that makes the studio version pale deeply in comparison. Hearing this tune with the full orchestration was worth the trip by itself, it moved many of us to tears. The beautiful "Don't go to Strangers," and lighthearted swing of "Sometimes I'm Happy" proved a nice segue out of the soul searching "Case." On the latter, Bob Sheppard exhibited his trademark soprano sound, which may be one of the best on the planet. Also on "Sometimes" the orchestra was transformed into a swingin' big band, with Erskine displaying some of the chops he honed during his extended stint with the Maynard Ferguson band. The horns blared a shout chorus, dynamics and swing- the whole nine yards, one of the highlights of the night! "Don't Worry About Me" was another showcase for Bob Sheppard's soprano, of which I can never get enough. Joni sidled off stage right announcing a brief intermission. She really seemed to be really enjoying the band, the entire evening, and appeared very comfortable with her surroundings.
After a 30 minute break, Joni returned for "Stormy Weather," "Wish I Were In Love Again," and her masterpiece "Both Sides Now." All three songs showed her penchant for the dramatic, and why she's become a true jazz singer, displaying incredible emotion and passion. She employs all the devices, using her voice like an instrument, changing tone on one pitch, sliding into and out of notes, all in all a wonderful stylistic approach.
That concluded the "arc of a romantic relationship" portion of the show, but what was to come proved to be very special indeed.
A common observation from all the shows on this tour is that the audience really wants to hear Joni sing Joni, and Meriweather proved to be no exception. To shouts of play "Chelsea Morning," or "Free Man in Paris," Joni said that the orchestra couldn't just "jam-up a tune," alluding to the fact that there was obviously a specific set list with a 70 piece band.
She announced that the next part of the show would be her personal indictment of the music business, and digressed to discuss many of the music artist vs. business she's brought to light over the years. Announcing that "Henley is on the warpath" she alluded to the fact that artists with catalogues are "rising up to defend their turf," and encouraged any aspiring singer-songwriters in the audience "not to sell your publishing rights." Her diatribe was both heartfelt and sincere, and she managed several light moments as well, especially when introducing her ode to Beethoven, "Judgment of the Moon and Stars."
For me "Be Cool" was the most pleasant surprise of the night. The tempo, arrangement, and performance was supreme. In a wonderful homage to Wayne Shorter, Vinnie Mendoza worked the horn arrangement around Wayne's original recorded improvised solo from the studio version on "Wild Things Run Fast." Absolutely fantastic, and again the orchestra did an amazing job bringing this bluesy shuffle to life. "Ludwigs Tune" was Broadway-like, showing again Joni's flare for the dramatic, and the versatility of both her writing and Vinnie Mendoza's arranging talents. Larry Klein joined the orchestra on electric bass on the samba-like "Hejira," "strains of Jaco Pastorious coming through the smoke and pine trees." What a tour-de-force this song is one of my absolute favorite Joni tunes, and very difficult to pull-off with this expanded instrumentation, but it worked!! The most amazing performance of a night long on amazing performances.
"For the Roses" was haunting beautiful, although I don't think it translated as well from the simple guitar accompaniment, as "Hejira," although I'm sure not everyone shares that opinion. Bob Sheppard was surreal on soprano at the end. Finally, Join left us with her energetic version of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man," another tune she's adopted, and continues to personalize. This version was far better then her performance on Kyle Eastwood's debut recording, and she totally brought the house down.
Joni mentioned that she's working on another album of her tunes with an orchestra, an idea that I have to admit didn't thrill me at first, but after hearing the marvelous fruits of her labor last night at Meriweather Post, I say bring it on!!
REPORTS FROM THE INTERNET COMMUNITY
First time I ever spent in excess of $75 per ticket for a show - ANY show - in my life. Small fries, I'm sure to many veteran concert goers, but being mostly a "clubber", this was top dollar for me. Had no idea when I bought the tickets that she'd be performing 'standards', and not a lot of the original masterpieces I'd grow up with, and worshipped her for. Program was interesting. I'm not sure if it's the same for all shows, but opening with "You're My Thrill", one of Billie Holliday's favorites, was a stroke of genius! Having never seen Joni before, but having revered her my entire life, I'm sure that had she been singing the Oscar Meyer theme, I'd still have found myself leaking...the tears really started to flow when she broke into "A Case Of You"...it's hard to be more descriptive when all I can say is that to have been in her presence was awe-inspiring. Trademark Joni banter about the perils of love, and the music industry, were as ascerbic as ever. All I can say is, I wish I'd gone to every one of her shows, and intend to make up for lost time from here on out. What a beautiful talent, and an amazing woman. Thank you Joni.
Had the privilege of seeing Joni for the first time last night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, just outside of Baltimore, and it was a wonderful experience. The show was only about 15 minutes late in getting started, which was fine, for it allowed those arriving at the last moment a chance to get to their seats.
It was a clear, cool and comfortable evening in the Baltimore area, which provided a nice respite from the "Clouds" and rain that have prevailed here for most of the last week.
Unlike many of the previous venues, the Pavilion was full. My girlfriend and I sat in the eighth row of the center section, just behind the orchestra pit. As the band warmed up I panned the crowd behind me and saw very few empty seats.
I could not help but feel disappointment for two young women as they adjusted into their seats directly behind Maureen and I.
One of the women said, "I don't see 'Circle Game' listed on the program, I hope she does that."
"I hope to hear 'Help Me'," said the other woman.
I felt it was only fair to let them down easy and tell them that these and many of the other crowd favorites were not likely to be part of the evening's program. They did not seem that upset, however, when I informed them of the selections Joni had been singing in the second set in previous shows.
After the overture, Joni took the stage to a rousing, and very uplifting, standing ovation. One could feel the great respect and admiration for the lady whose words and music have meant so much to so many throughout the years.
She looked absolutely glorious in her caped, blue gown which tied around waist as the show opened. Joni is still a very beautiful woman in her maturity. Her wisdom, heart and soul all shimmer like stars in her appearance and demeanor. She seems to be very comfortable with her self these days.
As in past shows, she seemed to pick up speed as the evening progressed. She struggled slightly and with the tempo of the orchestra and her lack of range was obvious at times, but it was a pleasure to watch her sway her hips and move her fingers (obviously reaching for phantom frets) to the rhythm of the smokey old classics.
She used cheat sheets like in some earlier shows for "I Wish I Were in Love Again", but she threw the lyrics down triumphantly before the second refrain. She then laughed at herself as she needed to bend down and pick up the words again before the number reached its conclusion.
The highlight of the evening for me was her performance of "A Case of You" in the first set and when Larry Klein joined her for "Hejira" near the end of the show. There is little doubt that Joni is most comforatble with her own material. She really touched my soul with the classic twists and turns in her voice during the verses of ACOY. It was Joni Mitchell, pure and simple, at her best.
"Hejira" had a more lively pace to it that everyone seemed to enjoy, and Larry was excellent as always. It was soon afterwards that cries for "Help Me", "Free Man in Paris" and "Woodstock" grew louder and more prevalent. A fellow just a few seats to my right, shouted for "Richard" at least 12 or 14 times.
"I'm making a note of these (requests) for next time," said Joni.
I can't wait until next time myself. As much as I enjoyed the BSN set, it is not something I wanted to hear in place of a representative selection of Joni's nearly 35 years of music. It would have pleased the fans in attendance much more if she had, perhaps, done four or five songs from BSN and maybe five or six more of her own works.
After all Joni is a work of art in herself, a one of a kind - a classic.
For example: take Aretha Franklin. Not that I comparing the two performers, but we can agree that Aretha is a classic in her own right. If you were to see her in concert, you would probably be disappointed if she didn't sing "Think" or "R-E-S-P-E-C-T". It would not be much fun, in my opinion, if Aretha did an hour of Ella Fitzgerald songs and topped the evening with a few of her more obscure songs. That is how many of Joni's fans have felt during this tour, and it is hard to blame them.
The phenomenon which is Joni Mitchell is all about a woman's ability to muse, compose and perform to a very high level - a woman so strong in her talents and appeal that she symbolizes an entire generation. A true poet and musician. Joni is so much more than a singer; and at this point of her career, that is not her strongest suit. During this tour, most of what we have seen has been only Joni the singer.
Mark Pinkus Baltimore, MD
Joni's music has meant a lot to me over the years, in particular the Court and Spark album which is absolutely brilliant and seems to get better as time passes. I was very disappointed in the concert last night in that I did not come to see exclusively big band romantic music, I came primarily to hear the intimate, intricately formulated ballads that attracted most of us to Joni in the first place. Leaving this music off of the program is a slap in the face to those of us who have been devoted to her music for many years, and it will leave a negative connotation in my mind where there was only very positive and grateful feelings previously.
Jack from Maryland
Brava, Ms. Mitchell! Sitting under a clear black sky during a cool windless night and listening to Joni belt out her torch songs in that husky, Whiskey-bar tone of her present voice has dispelled any reservations I may have held about her present musical incarnation. She sings with her whole body and feels the songs along through her arms right down to her fingertips, conjuring those feelings sad and regretful and resigned, as well as triumphant and joyful. Joni, along with borrowed orchestra and especially the trumpet player, with Larry K. on bass, and saxmen, delivered a superbly crafted, tight performance. As she returned from intermission, she had apparently either the words and/or music to a particular song to refer to initially and then unabashedly threw the paper down onto the stage and went about her business. She picked the paper up again briefly and tossed it. She is human after all! Depending upon the song selected, Joni didn't overdo her interpretation but there were a few times when she let loose with some lung power. Ludwig's Tune, For the Roses, and Be Cool were particularly memorable, not only for her singing, but for the waxing and waning of orchestral tones and jazz interpretation from the other players. It really was a night to display how her songs could be arranged in differing musical styles to incredible effect. She had a few (drunken?) hecklers who of course meant well during the evening. To one of them who asked her to do a particular number, she replied (this ain't verbatim, but you get the idea), "I'll make a mental note of that for next time. What do you think I can do? Get this group to jam on anything?" During the evening, her genuineness of word and song made me cry. Thanks for the opportunity to do a little reportage.
Lisa Rubeling from Baltimore
She walked onto stage confident and smiling wearing a satin gown with matching long jacket the most beautiful shade of blue I've ever seen.Joni was absolutely stunning. "You're My Thrill" was her opening number and it was very clear that her voice was definitely made for this kind of music. I wonder why she waited so long to do this. Anyway my favorites from her new recording were At Last and Don't Go To Strangers...but all were performed with extraordinary smooth perfection and the orchestral arrangements were phenomenal. And I loved her commentary between songs about each change in the love relationship as it was progressing in her "arc" .
After intermission she came back in a different outfit... a coal black/gray gown I can't begin to describe that was very nice but not near as gorgeous as the one she started out with. She then proceeded to sing Stormy Weather which of course blew us all away and I Wish I Were in Love Again and then Both Sides Now....I was afraid it was the end of the concert..but she surprised us with a change in the theme to the disappointments of the music biz. We were quite entertained with her story telling and poignant facts about the record companies. Then she performed some real delights against the palette of that fantastic orchestra. I was thrilled to hear her perform The Judgement Of The Moon and Stars. It was SO fantastic to hear it performed this way. ..."strike every chord that you feel..that broken trees and elephant ivories conceal..." The 27 yr. old song has always been one of my favorites...it's always really moved me and I never dreamed I would get to hear it for real. Likewise, For The Roses was great,but Hejira (another one I never dreamed she would perform this time out) was moving and to me the best arrangement performed. But the most dynamic of all was her performance of " Be Cool". I'd certainly forgotten about that one! And it never sounded better. Joni is at her very best these days and I hope she continues in this niche.
All in all it was an awesome evening for me. The only other concert of Joni's I've ever attended was on her Hejira tour in 76 or 77 in Texas. This concert was my mother's day gift and I'll never forget it.
May 25 was another fine spring evening when Joni Mitchell took the stage at Merriweather Post Pavilion and captivated a crowd with her torch songs. Starting a mere 25 minutes late, the pickup orchestra, lead by the brilliant Vince Mendoza, sounded as if they has rehearsed long and hard for this gig, never letting go of the tempi or overpowering the voice of the vocalist, Ms. Mitchell. Joni was clearly having a great time and I don't recall her ever clearly enjoying herself so much. The audience was minimally distracting and no one seemed to have left at the intermission. Joni's voice was perfect for these songs and the sound mix was PERFECT. From my seat in the forth row, this evening was a little slice of heaven (despite some David Bowie-inspired fashion choices on the part of the star of the show). I thought the large orchestral treatments of "Be Cool" and "Ludwig's Tune" were less than successful, but the older material shone brightly! And I have never heard Joni talk so freely to the audience. Guess there's something liberating about standing in front of a 70 piece "band." Joni, you're still my thrill. Thank you for a blissful evening that I will long remember.
A couple months ago when my father told me heard on the radio that Joni would be performing at Merriweather I instantly connected to the internet and bought 4 tickets to concert. At 90 bucks a pop for pavillion seats we settled for lawn tickets but this depricated the show in no way for me.Joni was absolutely fantastic. It felt wonderful to sit there on the lawn for 2 hours under the dark sky with my closest friend who's love for Joni matches my own and hear and see her! It was actually Joni Mitchell! I'm a 15 year old girl who, apparently, has not grown up with the beautiful songs of Joni Mitchell, but nonetheless am substantially familiar with her. She is, of course, a musical genius and for a couple years I had really wanted to see her.
Joni's performance with the orchestra was breath taking and awe-inspiring. I will never forget her performing A Case of You and Both Sides Now and I look forwards to her upcoming album again with the orchestra but comprised fully of her own songs. Hejira, and a couple of the standards she performed also especcially stood out to me. I was a bit confused nearing the close of the show when a large portion of the audience began to leave before Joni had finished singing!...People puzzle me...I wanted a couple encores! Thank you, thank you Joni. Quite an unforgettable evening. firstname.lastname@example.org
I really enjoyed the part of the show with Joni. I have never been a sincere fan of Bob Dylan. My boss made a deal with me, he said, if you stay for Dylan I will stay for Joni. Joni was great at this concert and I do hope I get to see her again with all of the old stuff again. I have read and heard in the lady's room at the Merriweather of fans disappointments. I think a switch every now & then is great for the artist. I never knew she had the voice for the jazz thing and it was a pleasure to hear. Way to go Joni.
Devoted fan always, Chandra JMDL Member Comments
Very Cooool Show. I just got baptised into the realm of seeing our Lady of Duality...The Both Sides Babe...Jumpin' Jazz Jivin' Joni and her Swingin' ensemble. I will try and post a full report ASAP but for now it's off for a little shut-eye before I need to return the rental in the morn. But for now I shall say that I was really moved and awed by the whole event. The crowd, the sound, the lights, the cool night air (the video was the only thing that was between fine and "I remember my first video camera" - shaky, wobbly and inconsistantly out of focus on occaision...but hey! I got to see every wrinkle in every expression on Sweet Joan from Saskatoon's face). I did get to meet up with Loren Carter and his wonderful wife, briefly a guy named Dave who says "he only posts about once every six months", and out in the parking lot I bumped into Eric Postel (I'm sorry I couldn't find the rest of you guys...I walked up and down the space inbetween the seats and the grass with a sign that said, "JMDL SPOKEN HERE"...I hope you all made it to the show OK...get in touch with me privately....cuz...well...just because...I'll tell you later why). In closing, let me say, I gave out a bunch of free, live Joni recordings to all the people around where I was sitting...young, old, and somewhere inbetween (even the whiney person sitting next to me...just to try and shut them up about "Oh, Joni is making a huge mistake with playing these songs in this 50's style...She's a folksinger...yada yada yada) in the spirit of all that this list has given and shown me...Thanks a million.
Judging from some of the posts about earlier shows in the tour, Joni seems to be getting more comfortable with the material and forum, she was majestic, and is starting to really get inside these tunes......more later.
Also worth noting is that Joni talked about political stuff, sort of: She talked about the importance of songwriters keeping publishing rights for themselves, and she mentioned Don Henley's work (and here I'm writing about something that I know nothing about; it seems to me that she mentioned him for his work in support of writers and artists versus record labels. Maybe somebody who knows the issues can expand a bit?)
I thought the turnout was terrific, BTW -- if Merriweather Post wasn't sold out, it was certainly close (at least in terms of seating in the pavilion; I don't know how big the crowd on the lawn was).
I'm ready to do it again tomorrow and every other night of my life. And Joni seemed really, really happy, as though performing is as entertaining for her as it is for us. How nice to see her so in command, and so happy.
BTW, despite best intentions, Jane and I didn't connect with any other JMDL folks tonight. It's one of the few disappointments of the evening, but I'm sure we'll be getting together some time soon.
After the intermission and change of clothes, was her dress blue, purple, silver, gray, or black? At various times during the show it was each of these colors. Now I know that it was the lighting, but, it was beautiful. And, those who were there, from my seats, hanging above Joni, the mist in the air formed a half circle above her head, almost halo like. With the dress that magically changed colors and the halo above, I really enjoyed just looking at the scene, then to hear the voice and music....who could ask for more?
As we were walking out, we encountered the man who played the piano in the orchestra. Joni made a comment, when the crowd asked her to keep singing, that "this band just can't throw together a jam session" (or something to that effect). Well the piano player begged to differ, and said her really enjoyed sitting there listening to the music.
Before the show we saw Larry Klein pass through the crowd on his way up to the sound board. During the intermission, I went to the man still sitting there and asked him to have Larry tell Joni that he JMDL was here and enjoying her. Did he? Probably not, since Larry was on stage after the intermission. Sorry to speak for the entire list out of turn, but I got caught up in the moment.
Julian, thanks for the tapes, and is was great to meet you. We listened all the way home.
My enjoyment was somewhat ruined by the audience members from hell -- two aging hippies who were drunk, perhaps stoned, constantly talked and who kept getting up and down. People all around them kept shushing them. At the intermission I tried to talk with them and they said they understood but continued in the second half. People all around me thanked me for trying - everybody was pissed off. The only reason why I held back at all is I know how much this sort of thing bothers Joni and she sure as heck could see the second row. I was afraid (correctly as it turned out in the second half) that any additional comments to Hugh and Laura would have caused a scene. So for the sake of the other 10,000 people there I did not risk unsettling Joni but wow, what a pain. For those on the list further back like Julian, Hugh was the guy who went up and gave Joni a tie-dyed shirt at one point.
The relevance of this to the members of the list is that the tapes did not come out so well. All told, three of us taped. Nonetheless, I will do a bit of splicing and will get the best possible tape out folks in a couple of weeks.
Have a nice weekend. For me its a Memorial to Joni weekend!
I so enjoyed the concert and meeting Lori and Mary. Now I wished I could have met Catgirl but it was not to be. Like others, I was enthralled from the first appearace of the "Canadian Angel" as she walked to the microphone. Since I was 35 rows back, I was glad to have the large screens available so I could see Joni up close. It was a beautiful night, as well, cool with a slight breeze wafting through the seated crowd.
I enjoyed it all, as I said, but I really liked the second set the best. It seemed that Joni really came alive when singing her own material. I did wonder though - someone said in an earlier note that the programs were thick and full of material - these programs were just that - one page programs...
Hell, I intend to frame mine anyway - along with my ticket stub.
I hope she comes back to the area soon.
Joni was radiant, beautifully dressed (okay, the second outfit was one of those that wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I'm not the fashion police. I liked it, and as far as I'm concerned, Joni can do little wrong), and she was in fine voice. She was in great humor, too, weaving a story as she performed the songs from BSN, then telling little anecdotes and joking with the audience between the "rest" of the songs. The orchestra was brilliant, and the players looked as if they were having a blast. There was absolutely nothing to dislike about the performance! (Joni didn't even smoke on stage until the very last song, although I suspect she did some puffing away during Intermission ... does anyone know if she's taken to wearing The Patch?)
I heard mutterings from a few people on the way out about how they wished Joni would've performed more songs from her older albums, but you have to expect that some people haven't been following Joni's career and are stuck somewhere around LOTC or Blue or C&S and don't really know what Joni's been doing recently. I suspect that's the case with the woman at Wolf Trap.