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By Sue Cameron, Reporting for JoniMitchell.com
Pine Knob, an outdoor amphitheater located in the northern suburbs of Detroit, is one of Joni Mitchell's favorite venues. On Wednesday she returned to Clarkston triumphant, albeit tardy.
Mother Nature complied with concert attendees at Pine Knob and the rain held off for the entire show. The hot, humid temperature suited the staging as the special effect smoke behind the orchestra billowed up like cumulus clouds. Although the weather was not a factor in Detroit, it was in Chicago, where hours earlier Joni's plane sat on the runway waiting for thunderstorms to pass.
Shortly after eight o'clock those who seated themselves promptly were treated to a sizzling set of jazz. The quartet of Peter Erskine on drums, Chuck Berghofer on bass, Wallace Roney on trumpet and Bob Sheppard on sax was a real thrill and got us psyched up for Joni.
The orchestra filed in next and proceeded to pluck and tune for a good twenty minutes. The anxious audience, unaware of the airport incident, began cheering and clapping at the orchestra's inaction. It was now 9:00 p.m., a full hour after the concert should have begun, and the crowd was vociferously showing their displeasure with intermittent whistles and shouts of "Joni!"
Finally an announcement was made explaining the delay and the audience milled about until the lights dimmed at 9:30 when Vince Mendoza launched the orchestra into Debussy's "Nuages." Joni came waltzing out stage right, looking stunning in a cobalt blue wrap around that hugged her figure, with matching blue cape and beige pants. The outfit was very similar if not the same as the one worn at the West Palm Beach show.
The roar of the crowd was appreciative and long. Joni stood back from the microphone, head down, spotlight off, while the orchestra began the introduction to "You're My Thrill." Joni lifted her head as the lights went up and belted out a wonderful rendition.
Joni was very much at ease, this being her second to last performance in a town she used to call home. She chatted quite a bit between numbers, again explaining the sequence of songs and their significance, and later adding some local stories. Before she began "At Last" she talked about the era of the music and the "chopstick lick of '56."
"Comes Love" followed, and the audience was again on their feet. Joni then talked about the arc of relationships, about her generation being raised on fairy tales, and how there is always a little gnome that will come along and mess things up. This was the introduction to "You've Changed," which drew giggles from the audience and a big smile from Joni.
"Answer Me, My Love" was followed by the key words "If you want me I'll be in the bar." "A Case of You" received thunderous applause and simultaneous thunder from above. "Don't Go To Strangers" led into "Be Cool," and that's when we knew that there would be a dramatic change from the previous shows' programs. "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" closed out the first part of the concert, and Joni announced that there would be a short intermission.
The grand reentrance costume was the sleek black dress worn in Chicago, with the same style as the pink outfit in West Palm Beach. Joni was ready to wow us with "Stormy Weather" and no one around me was disappointed. Out came the lyric sheet for "I Wish I Were in Love Again" then the evening ended with a shortened set of "Both Sides Now," "Hejira" and "For the Roses."
Sometime during the second act she reminisced about playing at the Chessmate in Detroit. She and Chuck were this folkie group who came on early then after midnight the jazz musicians began and the club milieu changed dramatically. The jazz group began playing some of Joni's songs and the African American crowd started showing up early to see who this "Joni" was. The men were surprised when she and Chuck began singing the purple hippo song, Joni with a pillow under her shirt and playing the kazoo. The other interesting note was that "Both Sides Now" was written in Detroit when Joni was 21.
Due to a noise ordinance in the city of Clarkston where Pine Knob is located the concert was shortened. The highlights of "Comes Love," "Be Cool," "I Wish I Were in Love Again" and "Hejira" made this concert attendee forget all about what was missed, though.
REPORTS FROM THE INTERNET COMMUNITY
My husband and I attended Joni's concert in Detroit last night. I was completely and utterly mesmerized with her performance. I'm sending you this message from Zeeland, Michigan. (near Grand Rapids) I am 43 years young and have been a Joni Mitchell fanatic since coming of age in the early 70's. No other musician or artist has ever given me more enjoyment. (In fact, I'm sure that no one loves her more than I do!!!!!!!) Also, I am now the proud owner of a signed Joni Mitchell lithograph!
I'm sure you are receiving a lot of mail particularly at this time. I am hoping that you even have time to read this.
Instead of taking the time to answer me, I am compelled to ask you to tell Joni I am so sorry Detroit mistreated her so. My husband and I were embarassed to be a part of such a rude audience. I had expected a gathering of mature adults who have followed her artistry through these many years and appreciate her creativity, wherever she chooses to go with it. Fortunately, she did not hear the comment from a rude female who said, "boring!" during the beautiful Detroit symphany opening. I know she and Larry hand picked those songs. We were so moved by their excellence, that we wished we had worn our black dress clothes.
That was just the beginning of the rude atmosphere. People around us were murmuring about her style so much that we finally told them to be quiet. People were walking around and leaving during songs to get drinks and use the restroom, etc. Many didn't return after the intermission. She even stated, "I hope you'll wait for us", before leaving the stage. I believe Detroit has meaning to Joni Mitchell. She said she wrote Both Sides Now in Detroit when she was 20. I know things were tough for her at that time of her life.
So after sitting on the runway in Chicago, which obviously frustrated her and caused her to have a dry throat and to be a little late for the concert, Detroit pretty much greeted her with the big middle finger. Even though Pine Knob is the best concert facility in Michigan, I will be surprised if she ever comes back.
I am hoping that when she thinks of her concert in Detroit, that she recalls those that called out her name and told her they love her. Although we were few, we remain always loyal and devoted Joni Mitchell fanatics. Thank God she performs for the roses and not for the masses.
Concert started nearly two hours late due to Joni getting stuck on a runway in Chicago (stormy weather). A while into the concert, Joni apologized for being a "bit rough" due to the difficult day.
The audience thought she was wonderful; Both Sides Now never, ever sounded better or more appropriate
Sadly, Joni vanished off the stage after "For the Roses" in act II - - did not reappear in spite of an enthusiastic curtain call - -- not even to say goodnight - - oh well, I guess she had a long day.
From James Reynolds
I have been a Joni Mitchell afficionado since 1974, my freshman year in college. Much of my young adulthood experiences, including being in love, are brought back to memory when when I play the music. I am not, however, caught in a time warp when it comes to her music, and have been enthusiastic about most of the changes that that music has gone through. I understand the need for creative change in life.
I attended Joni concerts in 1978 and 1982 and enjoyed both shows thoroughly. ( My husband and I bought T-shirts both times! ) I wish I could have said the same thing about last night's show. To begin with the concert started 11/2 hours late. The management cited a flight delay in Chicago. Cripe, if the weather is bad next time Joni, drive to Detroit ! It's only 2 hours away (note from Jim: Detroit is 286 miles from Chicago, so just make sure you don't drive any slower than 143 MPH). Because of the delay, the concert was slightly shortened, and Joni kept complaining about how hoarse she was from sitting on the tarmac in an air conditioned plane. This is probably true, but all those years of smoking cigarettes has taken its toll too. Even though she has lost her vocal range, the smokey tones she demonstrates are very pleasant, and remnants of the old pipes peeked through in "her" material.
After the intermission, which was pleasantly short, ( it was now 10:45 ) her vocals were drowned out by the orchestra at times. There was no encore, not even a thank you to the faithful crowd who stayed the course. She just left the stage after "For the Roses", which disappointed quite a lot of the audience.
I saw a recent interview on the Today show that Joni did, expressing her dissatisfaction with the music business and with life in general. I can't imagine a nicer way to make a living than she has had, travelling the world and sometimes singing "some" of the songs that people revere her for, and getting paid handsomely for it. Since that interview I have had mixed feelings about her as a person, thinking perhaps she's just as "cynical and boring in some dark cafe" as Richard said. Maybe its just a case of "divaitis." I will, however, always love the music that helped me get to where I am today .
P.S. I still bought a T-shirt, and while I have never been a great fan of "Both Sides Now" (Too much Judy Collins!) , "A Case of You" was almost worth the ticket price.
I'm not sure who will read this but I have to let you know that I feel cheated with last nights performance.
Ms. Mitchell came in late, played for a short while, then took a break, and came out to do 3 or 4 more songs. I feel that I did not get $80.00 of value for my ticket.
I understand that things happen, planes are late, etc. But the orchestra could have played while we sat there. There was a 4 piece combo that they pulled off and they just made us sit. And what about the intermission? The show started at 9:45 and ended at 11:05 including the intermission. Perhaps she could have forgone changing her outfit so we may have had a few more songs?
And what about her ending-just walking off stage-not even saying goodnight or offering an apology forbeing late for the shortenedconcert. A performer owes the audience something and Ms. Mitchell did not come through last night.
I understand that Ms. Mitchell will probably never read this but whoever does has to know that I will never go to a show of hers again or buy any of her products. She lost me as a fan and from what I heard walking out last night many other people.
Disappointed in the show last night...
a marvelous night in detroit!! joni took the stage roughly 45 minutes late as it was announced she had been delayed by sorms in chicago and had only just arrived. she looked gorgeous. although she apologized fo a hoarse voice i don't think anyone noticed as she sounded fabulous and powerful. joni performed the new album in its entirety and in the second set worked in hejira(an amazing new arrangement with larry klein's inimatable accompaniment),be cool, and ended abruptly with a sublime rendition of for the roses. she hesitantly left the stage with no goodbye, no thank you's and never returned for an encore. the lights came off and on twice but still no joni!! at first i felt this could be amessage from her--leaving the stage abruptly after a song about her disdain for the music industry--kind of a swansong to performing live. many people left confused and disappointed. i came to the realization on the way back to grand rapids that it was probably union workers which pulled the plug on the show , not joni herself. the show was already way into overtime due to the late start time. i saw her on the last tour and i must say that i was just as satisfied with this albeit short performance . my only disappointment was not getting to hear her do trouble man again (i immediately listened to it from her performance of it on kyle eastwoods album when i got home at 4 am). i only wish fans could realize that the fiasco of her leaving so abruptly was most likely something out of ms. mitchell's control. just being front row center for that hour and a half that she played was sheer heaven to me. thanks for your website on joni--it is essential!!
mario h. leon
I had never been to a Joni Mitchell concert before even though I have have all of her recordings and have enjoyed her music for many years. So I was really looking forward to the Pine Knob show. But my anticipation was exceeded by my disappiontment.
I've been taking my time and digesting my thoughts and feelings about the "Both Sides Now" Concert at Pine Knob. Frankly, I am having very mixed emotions about the show. Considering the glowing revues I've read regarding her previous performances on this tour and knowing the caliber of performer Joni is from having seen her on three prior occasions, I had pretty high expectations for the show.
As I moved into the venue seating area I was standing at the back when I saw a man approaching with flowers in his hand. I addressed him as he neared me saying "lovely proteas" he was surprised that I knew the name of the flower he carried and we began a lovely conversation about Joni in the early days. It turns out that he had seen Joni at the Chessman and had, in the early 70's, brought Joni a protea with a card attached to her concert at the Masonic Temple, he sent it back to her via an usher. When she walked onto the stage that night she was carrying the flower in her hand and stopped after the second song asking him to stand and identify himself to her; she proceeded to ask him what kind of flower it was as she'd never seen one like it before and he told her. In 1998 when TTT came out, he was tickled to see, painted on the back of the CD, a vase holding several proteas. So he had brought her proteas again in 2000 'cause "the seasons they go round and round."
We located and sat in our seats, anxiously awaiting the start of the show. The jazz band came onto the stage and began playing - Erskine did a wonderful drum solo - but 8 p.m. came and went and no Joni. At around 8.15 the band moved to exit the stage where a couple of the stage-hands were frantically telling them to stay and play more music so they did, but had vacated the stage by 8.30. At this point no one had made any kind of announcement or anything, the crowd was getting fidgety and some of the ruder members of the audience were shouting disparaging remarks. I had spoken to one of the ushers and he told me Joni had difficulty getting out of Chicago due to weather problems so I knew it was through no fault of her own that she was late, I found myself defending her tardiness to those seated around me and entertaining them with stories of the new CD and other miscellaneous Joni tales.
At about 9.25 Larry Klein made the announcement that Joni had arrived at the venue and was frantically dressing, he thanked everyone for their continued patience but said it would be a few more minutes until the show began. This announcement was followed by a huge exodus of people to the bathroom, the concessions, for a smoke...
At a little after 9.30 the performance proper began. The Debussy was enhanced by the fact that knowing the title of the piece means "Clouds," I watched as the smoke machine created little drifts of cloud around the stage; the lighting effect was spectacular (the quality lighting was one of the best aspects of this performance IMO) I'm sure 90% of the audience missed the entire point of that being the opening piece as those around me rudely chatted through the entire thing and many more made their way, loudly, belatedly, back to their seats. They just didn't "get it" that this was a prelude to the show and that there were many of us soaking it up.
Then the moment we had all been waiting for... SIQUOMB herself decked out in an electric blue, silk gown, close-fitting and tied across the front Venus-style, mid-calf, a little shrug-cape-like thingie that she used effectively as a prop throughout the first part of the show, alternately spreading open like a butterfly and pulling it in around her like a cocoon depending on the emotion she was trying to express at that moment. Even I had been getting antsy by the time she came out, but the minute she hit the stage I forgave her everything. Like Gary said "she could have come out and barked like a dog and I'd have been happy."
You could tell immediately she was one pissed-off lady when she came out. Her body language was tight and closed. She had little to say, she did apologize for being late; she'd been captive on a plane on a runway due to weather restrictions and she sounded a bit hoarse (I wondered whether some unfortunate person had been the recipient of a tongue lashing). She said "I'm not in good voice right now, it's been a horrible day and I feel real bad about that but I'll do the best I can."
She sang the expected selections, she WAS hoarse at first but seemed to work it out as she vocalized through the first two songs. After that her voice seemed pretty much back to normal. Slowly she loosened up and made the occasional comment, when one man shouted out "my analyst told me" she coolly responded "did he?" Her spoken words were sparse almost cryptic. She took a brief intermission after "Don't Worry About Me." "Stormy Weather" seemed an ironic song to begin the second part of the show since it had been the stormy weather which had delayed her performance. When "Both Sides Now" began, the tears came, silently, in torrents down my face and my husband put his arm around me and pulled me in tightly to him, knowing how passionately I feel about her music he just held me close and kissed my hair as the last strains faded away.
Hejira was awesome, Larry Klein's bass playing was funky and lyrical. I love that "popping" bass line, it reminded me of Pops Popwell on "Spiral" big time. "For the Roses" was the piece-de-resistance with the dramatic empty spotlight closing the show. At first I was stunned that this was the end of the show but it was 11.05 and I knew she would not come back because of the Clarkston noise-ordinance. As it was it cost her $5,000 ($1,000 a minute fine) to finish the show in a logical and dramatic way.
Thanks far for letting me wax on about the show. I loved every minute of the content, was disappointed it wasn't longer, was irritated at the idiots around me for destroying the ambiance and not letting me submerge myself as deeply as I would have like into the music, am still wondering why she chose a dress with "fins," am ecstatic at having met other people who have placed Joni as firmly on her pedestal as me, am feeling humbled at having witnessed yet another Joni metamorphosis and truly thankful I wasn't born deaf.
I'm a long-time Joni fan...or at least as much as anyone under 30 can claim to be. This was only my third Joni concert (I caught the Detroit and MSG shows on the TTT tour), and I must say that I was mightily disappointed.........with the crowd!!
I truly thought that the fact that this was a Joni-only show would mean that the audience restlessness we experienced on the co-bill with Dylan would be absent. Somehow I thought that all the people who shelled out $55-$75 to see Joni would actually enjoy seeing her onstage. I guess I was wrong. Once 8:30 came and went and we still had no Joni, the rumor that she had gotten stuck in Chicago began circulating through the crowd. (The guy behind me actually said: "She's probably just being a difficult female") This of course meant that everyone had more time to drink more beer, so that when the orchestra finally launched into "Nuages", they were greeted by a lot of drunken boos and hisses. Someone from the back right part of the audience was yelling: "BOOORING! Joooooooniiiiii! Helllooooo?" I was so embarrassed.
Then Joni breezed out onto the stage and nearly took my breath away. She's beautiful. I was a bit surprised that there were only a few small pockets of fans impressed enough by her presence to give her a standing ovation, but I chalked that up to their dissatisfaction from having to wait nearly 2 hours to see her.
Joni seemed a bit uneasy from my vantage point in row AA (all the way on the left...sigh...), but her voice sounded unbelievable. If she was hoarse or strained, I didn't notice, for she more than made up for it with the intense emotion that she poured into every song. I was utterly blown away. And I just love that she obviously has no idea what to do with her hands without her guitar. The stuff does with her left hand cracks me up. I love it!
Unfortunately, the bulk of the crowd seemed unimpressed, and only responded with half-hearted applause, and there seemed to be a constant stream of people on their way out of the pavilion. I leaned over to my friend and said "Joni won't be able to let that go!", and sure enough, in her intro to "Answer Me, My Love" she said something like: "At this point in a relationship, a lot of people end up at the bar....which is where I assume all those people are heading!"
Most of the rest the things worth saying about this show have been said already (great write-up, Sue!). I just wanted to weigh in with my opinions: Joni was amazing (especially on Hejira - I almost cried!!), and the crowd was awful.
I was at the Joni concert this Wednesday at Pine Knob Clarkston Michigan. I have been a fan since 1972, and was eagerly awaiting a chance to see Joni again. I saw her 2 years ago in the Palace in Pontiac, MI when she toured with Bob Dylan .Despite buying tickets at the window the morning they went on sale I still sat a long way away. All those crazy Dylan fans got the good seats. I sat much closer this time, but unfortunately something always seems to go wrong. The concert was scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m.. But Joni's plane was delayed in Chicago and she did not go on stage until 9:40. She play until around 10:20 then took a 15 minute intermission. She came back to play until around 11:10 with no encore. There is a time curfew of 11:00pm for the concerts at Pine Knob. I was jealous to read the reviews of the other shows she did. We did not get Ludwig's Song, one of my favorites. She did all the songs on BSN, and Hejira, and the last song was For the Roses. "And the moon swept down black water like an empty spotlight.", and Joni walked out of the spotlight and was gone. I was disappointed that we didn't get more, but a little of Joni is better than no Joni at all (I was afraid that they were going to cancel the show all together when she was so late). She wore a blue version of the same silver outfit she wore in Chicago with the sleeves that wrapped over like a cape. After the intermission she changed into a black long sleeve pleated dress that fell to below knee length. She looked wonderful but seemed somewhat distracted. Joni didn't connect with the audience, and was somewhat distant. She complained that sitting on the runway with the air conditioning going was hard on her voice. I agree with the previous reviewers who said that the orchestra was too long finishing after her vocals ended. Maybe not on record, but at a live concert, yes. I was glad I went. The songs were beautiful and magical,and fit Joni's mature voice. Once again Joni has re-invented herself. Judging by the response of my fellow fans, we like this new turn. I will be there the next time Joni comes.
Elaine in Michigan
p.s. As I sat there waiting for Joni to arrive, I remembered the night 26 years ago at the same theater when Joni interrupted her set to announce that Nixon has just resigned. Years have come and gone. I too, like Joni, have "matured" and filled out. I can afford to pay $75 to sit in the pavilion as opposed to sitting on the grass. Through all the changes in my life Joni has been there on my stereo and car radio, singing about the changes she was going through, offering me validation and hope. Thank you Joni for the ride.
As a native Detroiter, and a longtime Joni follower, admirer and...yes....worshiper....what a thrill it was to fly home to see JM in concert at Pine Knob. I've read all of the reviews posted here--didn't expect them all to be glowing, frankly, but isn't it interesting that true-blue Joni fans would gladly pay, again and again, $75 or more to watch Joni perform for an hour-and-a-half, or a half hour, or even for twenty minutes. Joni's voice was beautiful and resonating, her movements graceful, her sheer presence amazing and her stories about old Detroit connections both interesting and a little bit sad, in a nostalgic sense. (Those from DTW and across the border know what I mean--how things have changed since 1966, eh?)
I was surprised, too, and disappointed by the lack of respect some audience members showed, but there was lots of love there, too, if you looked beyond the season ticket holder masses and those needing something to do that night. Between songs, I tried to focus on the folks who clearly "get" Joni. Lots of people there, it seemed, had erroneous expectations for the night and "get" her they did not. So, from 9:40 to 11:05, I immersed myself in my love for her art, the beautiful music and Joni's incredibly wise voice.
You almost want the Ticketmaster folks to issue a disclaimer before selling a ticket to a JM show, you know?....whether solo, with Bob, Van, whomever..... "This isn't a rock concert. This is music--Joni's music. This is Joni and she is different. She needs and deserves your attention at this event and she will give you back in spades what you give her at her show.....so stay home unless you get it and you get her, okay?"
God bless you, Joni. You are needed and you are one of few quintessential artists right up there with Picasso and Beethoven (yeah, I wish she would have done that one but wasn't Hejira and acoy just fabulous!) Thanks, JM, for sharing your voice, your sensitivity and your pure artistry with us. Next time, come to the Fox or Meadowbrook. We'll be there among the masses.
I want to start by saying that, (and I will make this as brief as possible
without sounding I hope too harsh), will people who hold season tickets at
these theaters and concert halls that are NOT a fan of the artist please
stay home! Last night the concert was supposed to begin around 8:15 pm
and I say around because anybody who is a seasoned concert goer knows
concerts rarely start "on time". Anyway, by 9:30 the orchestra had been
sitting on stage for over an hour and Joni was nowhere to be found. I,
being the consummate Joni fan, was worried our little ray of sunshine had
collapsed or worse. The rest of the yahoos in the audience were heckling,
yelling insults about "Canadians" which in Michigan is a big sore spot being
that they are our poor-relation neighbors on the border, and it was
embarrassing as hell. I would not have blamed her if she had not gone on
at all. But, gracious as she is, we were finally told, (which I have to say
they could have announced earlier), that her flight was delayed in Chicago
and she had just arrived by police escort and was getting ready. The crowd
made a mass exodus from the seats to load up on more booze... geez! I mean,
what happened to audiences with manners! Then when she came out and just
blew us away with You're My Thrill in a very eerie Billie Holidayesque voice
you could tell she was exhausted.....no one stood up and applauded when she
entered onto the stage. I could have just smacked everyone of them
individually. Then the first comment from the two yahoos next to me as
one of them handed me her binoculars was: "She is looking real old....too
much booze I would think." lovely. Do I need to be in the midst of such
disgraceful "fans" at my first ever Joni concert? Then some idiot on the
lawn, as is per usual at EVERY concert I have ever been to, yells out "Sing
FREEBIRD!" Joni, the gracious, talented and obviously tolerant individual
that she is, continued on without skipping a beat.
I definitely did not know what to expect with her new repertoire but I was
surprisingly taken aback at her soulful renditions of the torch songs she
chose. I should have known that ANY song she sings would be filled with
the same depth and feeling and soulful presentation no matter if she is
backed by a 70 piece orchestra or a kazoo. She just has the gift, you
Anyway, the joni fans who were there applauded the loudest and longest for
A Case of You and Both Sides Now as well as for Stormy Weather. Because
the concert started so late and at that venue there is a law that all
concerts MUST end at 11pm sharp or else the artist pays one thousand dollars
for every minute over 11pm she hardly took a break. About ten minutes then
continued on with the three last songs on the program. Her final one, Both
Sides Now, was very good and the crowd kind of settled down and listened
intently on that one. Then, you could tell, as she said a few minutes
later, that she was "shaking off the airplane air conditioning she had to
endure while sitting on the runway" and perked up a little bit and sang
Hejira and For the Roses to end the evening. I know she would have
continued longer had it not been 11:05. She already owed the venue an extra
five grand so I don't blame her for quitting. But, I can't help but wonder
what of her songs she would have sang next. I can't say I felt "jipped"
because just to see her at all is the best thing in the world so.....life
As we were leaving I was listening to the comments of people around us and
most were complaints about her selection of songs. They wanted ALL classic
Joni. One blowhard even commented that it was " a wasted two hours of his
time" Dude, do us all a favor, stay home next time you fairweather fan.
Sorry, Motley Crue wasn't opening for ya! Or was it the Ozfest you were
looking for......I would say half the people or more missed the whole point
of her choice of music for the tour: to constantly evolve in your music
and WITH your music.....as she said to the crowd before she sang For the
Roses...don't sell out, stay true to your music. She said if you sell out
then everyone will follow....be the one who stands out in the crowd and
rises above ...pour your simple sorrow to the soundhole on your knee...make
up your tunes for love.....not for parties for the press...ok she didn't say
the last part i just added that in but...she did say the first part and the
crowd did their usual casual applauding of yes, we agree...then completely
didn't get the point of what she just did for two hours.....typical
suburbanite yuppies.....she had commented earlier in the evening about her
music selection for the evening that she thought it reflected the "hippie"
idea of what a fairytale was...what we were taught as children....I wish I
could remember how she put it exactly...but something like: We followed
our childhood fairytales and tried to live them as hippies and them watched
them blow up in our faces as yuppies.....the crowd was not amused....mostly
all goddamn yuppies dontchya know.....I loved it....couldn't laugh hard or
long enough.......well, enough said.....I am rambling...all in all she is
quite the dame! Two hours just wasn't enough................
Be glad you saw the Rosemont concert...
while I think she did a slightly better Hejira in Detroit and the
orchestra did better on FTR,
there is no doubt which was the far, far superior concert... whether due
to the late start, the truncated set list (I almost flew out of my seat
in shock when Be Cool showed up half way through the first half) which
cut maybe 5-6 songs from the show, especially painful for not hearing in
Detroit the glory of Ludwig's Tune,
her voice was better Tuesday, she was obviously stressed on Wednesday,
and she herself said her voice on Wednesday was rough after a bad day.
and the audience was way more cool (altho if had we an hour and a half
wait in Chicago who knows...)
No one prepared me for:
1. The stunning visual at the end of the concert. As Joni nears the
last lines of FTR, "Like an empty spotlight," a spotlight begins to
sweep through the crowd; it reaches her as she sings those words, thus
closing in the spotlight, and as the orchestra continues to play, she
departs the stage while the spotlight grows brighter and fixes on the
empty stage and suddenly lone microphone. It gave me chills in both
Chicago and Detroit. Did anyone mention this in a concert review and I
missed it? It was stunning in Chicago when I didn't expect it, and it
was stunning in Detroit when I did.
2. That second set dress. What is up with that? That was a bizarre
thing to see two nights in a row.
3. Questions about her voice being put to rest forever. She was in
better voice in Chicago than in Detroit, and she said in Detroit her
voice was "rough" that night, but even with a rough voice, her singing
4. The pure joy of Laura and Jody as hosts in Chicago. I had never met
a JMDL member until Tuesday night (perhaps by your choice, not mine!)
but even after talking with you all here for the past years, nothing
prepared me for the energy and joy of Laura, Jody, and the folks in
Chicago, and Terry, Amy, and the folks in Detroit; it was such a treat
to meet such great people!
5. Singing out loud... Terry, 'I Don't Know Where I Stand' is such a
great song of many decades of my affection, and since I cannot sing, I
would never imagine singing that in front of any human being. (My dogs,
however, also know it by heart.) Terry, you coaxed that out of me and
it will be a forever memory of how much fun it was when the two of us
6. I cannot name all the great folks I met as I might forget to include
someone, but Laura and Jody, wow, and Terry and Amy, what fun, and all
of you in Chicago on Tuesday and Detroit on Wednesday, you rock!
Terry mentioned that she loved For the Roses at the concert - I did too, it
didn't feel too slow or too anything to me. It was one of my favorite
moments during the starlighting of my heart that was the concert (and what
came before and after hanging with jmdlers!). I also loved Be Cool - Joni
seemed to be having so much fun!
I was sad about the no-joni-sightings but one cannot expect that! I loved
singing along with Terry's guitar and piano playing - she is Amazing. And
Cassy - I would barely call my playing of Amelia present - I only doodled
around that song, and actually played more of Midway. However, I was
definitely being self-indulgent to try my hand (which has only been messing
with the guitar for a year) after Terry!
Meeting everyone was great fun! I would love to do it again.
Well, I cannot believe it is already Sunday and I have yet to post to the
group. I think I have just started to get caught up on my sleep, and the
family is out of the house for a few minutes, so I will grab the chance to
say hello while I can.
We arrived at the hotel early, and it was great to see familiar
faces...there is always such an air of anticipation when you get to see
friends of spirit, both old and new. Caught up with Sue in the parking lot,
Terry in the front of the hotel, and then everyone started to arrive. It
was such a pleasure meeting Cassy and Thom...what a beautiful speaking
voice, and singing voice you have Cassy...just like Sue, I couldn't get
enough! And Thom, what a trooper for walking into this wild bunch of joni
folks. You fit right in and I know I saw the light in your eyes while you
watched your wife sing those songs...face it, you are one of us now! And
the shrimp tray...oh my, can you say MOVE AWAY FROM THE SHRIMP!
And Terry came bearing more gifts...her guitar and her daughter Kate. What
an exceptional person she is...I loved getting to know both the young ladies
who hung out with us...Vicki and her daughter Lyndsey were delightful, and
what would I have done without Lyndseys help with the sticky camera? By the
way, I had a wonderful time going through the pages of my book, looking at
all your smiling faces and heartfelt words again...it is a treasure I will
Vince...what can I say about this fellow? Thank you again, Rev., for doing
delivery duty in Chicago. You were so kind to do that for me, and I know
that both Robbert and I appreciated it. I was sorry you had to leave for
home so soon, I would have enjoyed chatting it up with you some more. Thank
you for picking up Yael on the way in....I enjoyed meeting you and hearing
you sing...and you were a trooper to stay up till 5 am chatting about
whatever it was we were talking about. (slightly foggy memory!) I didn't
even hear you in the morning, quiet as a little mousie! Of course, a herd
of elephants might have rumbled through and I would still have had that
pillow over my head! Hope you are enjoying those new wheels and you got
your DL back so you can actually drive the car!
And Jeanne...thank goodness you weren't put out over my little cover-up in
the book from last time...thank you for being so gracious and for re-signing
it with lovely words...it was great to see you again...BTW, I ended up with
your little black bag and the Tupperware bowl. Let me know what you want me
to do with them! I was glad to finally meet the mystery Pat...another
friend of spirit who seemed to click into the group immediately...lots of
laughs to and from the concert. wish we would have been able to drag
ourselves out of bed to say goodbye, but i didn't even hear the phone ring,
and then it was too late. big boo hoo, and i don't even drink coffee! glad
you decided to join us, and you are officially a joni crony now...oh my
gosh, what's happening, i have suddenly lost the ability to capitalize... ;
And Jim, I was feeling a little envious of your position in the front
row...best seat in the house, that's for sure. I am glad you got all the
photography issues ironed out with the Pine Knob people, and am anxiously
awaiting your photos on the website. I am sure they will be worth waiting
for! Then comes Jack, our new resident artist...what a talented fellow!
Wish I could have spent more time with you too, but please don't be a
stranger on the list...your black crow story was really very
touching...thank you for sharing it with me.
And Suze, I tell ya' it just gets better everytime we hang out together. I
would say the word of the night was "wicked"...you had me smiling from the
get-go, as usual. It just wouldn't be a joni experience without you, and
Terry. For the rest of you, we were talking about when we all joined the
list, and we both realized that the first person we both contacted was
Terry...she was, and is, our resident Michigan connection and we are all
blessed to have her spirit among us. And then there's Kelly, who is a near
and dear friend off and onlist...she brings out the best in me, and I am
lucky to have her in my life....I hope this hasn't gotten too mushy for some
of you, and that you can totally relate to all I am feeling with regard to
Joni and her tribe...my gosh, I didn't even talk about the concert! Oh
well, you were all there, and you probably feel the same way as I do...she
is the queen and we all know it! My favorite moment was hejira...man, was
she into that or what? And yes, we were surrounded by people who had no
respect for her brilliance and that made me a bit edgy, but that's the way
life goes, and not everyone is as smart and educated as we are!! lol....
All in all, it was yet again another wonderful experience, one for the
books, as they say. I wouldn't have missed it, and I loved being a part of
such a special group of people.
Life goes on, and I hope we all stay connected...let's keep this mini list
going. It is so much easier not to lurk here, for some reason. Hope this
finds you all happy and healthy, and enjoying a sunny sunday. My best to
all of you~
After reading your post, I just have to say that another thing that so many Joni fans seem to have (in addition to charm and good looks, of course) : > ) is writing ability. I have really enjoyed reading so many of the posts on our little list here.
I'm still thinking about the show and our gathering. It crosses my mind to mention it to friends...but I usually don't because very few people understand how you can bond with a "stranger" simply by liking the same "famous person".
It seems to me that we appreciate Joni because she touches something in us. Whatever that "thing" is, I recognized it in you and Sue and Terry and Cassy and Jeanne and Vince and Jim and everyone else that was with us in that room. (Well, maybe not the maids). : > ) I feel comfortable with friends and family and at work and at parties...but I've never felt that before.
You who have been at other Joni gatherings may have felt this way before. (Then again, I could just be having flashbacks from the seventies) : > )
It was great and I hope we all "keep in touch".
O.K. folks... Let me start by saying I am not what you would
consider a die hard Joni Mitchell fan, but a fan of fine music,
musicians, songwriters and singers of all sorts. I have a great
deal of respect for Joni's talent as both a singer and a
songwriter. Her lyrics are pure poetry. It does not take much to
picture the world she paints with her words and music. You can
easily place yourself at a table next to her at the Mermaid Cafe or
walking along side her down the Champs Elysees. My purpose
here is to weigh in with my own take on the Wednesday show at
Pine Knob. I was sitting four rows from the stage, right there in
the center. As you all know, the show was delayed. The
orchestra took the stage at about 8:45 and sat there for 30
minutes before an announcement was made that Joni's plane
had been delayed. Joni came on at about 9:45 and the show
began. She did make a brief comment that she was glad she
was able to make it. A few songs later she commented that her
voice was hoarse but she would do her best. By 10:30 she had
sung more than half of the set and announced that there was
going to be a brief intermission and hoped everbody would stick
around. When she returned she sang the rest of her set as well
as another two or three songs. As she finished singing what
was to be her last song, the orchestra continued to play as Joni
slowly and quietly walked off of the stage. She never returned. It
was obvious that the conductor and the orchestra were not
prepared for this. The audience certainly wasn't. She never said
a word previous to leaving the stage. She gave no indication that
the show was over. No encore, no "thank you", no "goodnight". If
this was the "dramatic" ending that others have described from
earlier shows, it was lost on me and those that I was with. It was
abrupt, rude and direspectful to the audience that invested an
evening and a lot of money to see her. Somebody commented
earlier that there is a rule at Pine Knob that a performer has to
pay a penalty of $1000 a minute after 11:00pm, because of an
ordinance, and that Joni had already racked up a $5000 bill
because the show went on until 11:05pm. Ticket prices for this
show were $75 and $55 respectively. I think she could have
afforded another minute to return to the stage and bid farewell to
the people who came to see her. This was one of the most
expensive concerts at Pine Knob this season. There were no
"cheap seats" sold for this show. Once Joni took the stage it was
her obligation to give her all and then some. To announce that
her voice was not up to par, to take an intermission after a
prolonged delay in starting the show, to use a "cheat sheet" to
get her through one of the standards she sang ( I neglected to
mention that one earlier) and then to leave the stage with no
indication that the show was over, are not the makings of a great
show. This would not even qualify as a good show. I don't
believe Joni ever had the audience and in the end, she just gave
up. Of course, die-hard JM fans will have a completely different
perspective. I think it is much harder to be objective when so much emotion
is invested. There is no question that of all of the shows in this tour,
Clarkston was probably the worst. She played three less songs than anywhere
else and in the end left her audience hanging. I will continue to appreciate
Joni Mitchell the artist. However, Joni Mitchell the performer... definately
Hello everyone at JMDL!
It is a pleasure for me to be a part of the JMDL, and I want to thank
Cassy and her husband Thom for directing me to the site. I met Cassy
and Thom at the Joni Mitchell concert at Pine Knob, Clarkston on
Wednesday, May 31st. What a pleasure it was.
I won't go on about the show. It was glorious, late starting and all.
As I told Cassie, Joni could have come on stage and barked and I'd have
been happy. Joni has been a big part of my life ever since I discovered
her music in 1969 and met her at the Avon Theatre in Stratford in July
of that year.
In the middle 1970's I attended a Joni Mitchell concert here in Detroit
at the Masonic Temple. We had found out where she was staying and being
the reckless young person I was then, I went to a flower shop and found
a strange looking beautiful flower called a King Protea. I bought one
and had it boxed and took it to her hotel, with a song I had recorded (I
am a singer-songwriter) of her unreleased song "Winter Lady." I asked
the bell captain if he would take the flower and tape up to her, asking
him that if he could not deliver it to please return it to me and I
would not be angry. He came back empty handed and said "You should have
taken it up yourself, she answered the door." I could have kicked
myself, but I was shy and didn't want to disturb her by going up after
the fact, so my friends and I went on to the concert. She came out and
did her first set, went off for intermission and when she entered the
stage for her second set, she was carrying my protea in her hands. She
asked if there was a guy named Gabriel in the audience, (that was the
singing name I was using then) and I identified myself. She asked me
what kind of flower it was, as she had never seen it before. I, in
utter ecstasy, stammered my response that it was a flower from
Australia, to which she replied, "my, if must have had a long root!" In
the years that followed I re-recorded "Winter Lady" in a more
professional manner. When "Taming The Tiger" came out, I was dumfounded
to see, on the back of the CD, a table with a vase of proteas sitting on
it. It was like a one-to-one message, maybe not really for me, but I
felt it was since I was the first to give her the flower. At the Pine
Knob Concert, I decided I would bring them to her again, and that is
when I met Cassy and Thom. Cassy saw me approaching the venue, and said
"lovely proteas." I was surprised that she knew what they were, and we
proceeded to have a wonderful conversation about our love for Joni, and
some trivia I passed along. I walked down to the stage and asked the
security gentleman, "What are my chances of placing these flowers on
stage for Joni?" He said, "Absolutely zero unless you do it right now."
I placed them on stage and they lay before her during the entire
concert, but she never picked them up. After the concert, I went to
retrieve them, and a stagehand was clearing up, and looked at me, as I
went to reach for them. I said, "Joni didn't get my flowers so I
thought I would just take them home." He said somewhat gruffly, "She's
gone" and then looked at me intently and said, "She's still here, I'll
make sure she gets them." He proceeded to pick up the flowers and take
them directly backstage the way Joni exited. I only hope she really did
I want to thank Cassy and Thom for directing me to the wonderful people
at the Joni Mitchell discussion list, and for inviting me to the hotel
after the concert. Everyone I met was wonderful, I am sorry I don't
remember everyone's names, I was a bit in awe and overwhelmed by all of
it. But it was a night I will always remember. I have much to share
with you all in the future, and hope you will feel free to E-mail me
with your questions. I don't know everything, but I have an extensive
collection of rarities and interesting tidbits about Joni. I did notice
that someone had asked if Joni ever mentioned Kelly in the early days.
I can tell you that I have a live recording of "Little Green" where Joni
says at the end of the song, "Kelly green, be a gypsy dancer." It was
the only reference I know of, but it solidified the fact that "Little
Green" was indeed written for Kilauren, and of course, when it was
recorded on "Blue" Kelly was omitted from the song. In fact, she sang
the song with a somewhat different melody line on the live performance I
Well just some Joni trivia for you all.
To Brian - I am Tony's friend and welcome you to write me. Wow - what a
twist, for you to know my dear friend and also be as big of a fan as I
Terry, you were wonderful at the piano at the Townsend! I could use you
on one of my recording sessions.
Cassy and Thom, what can I say, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be
writing this....Thanx, I hope we will become good friends.
I plan on doing my performance of "Winter Lady" at a club soon. I hope
the Detroit group will come out and hear me do it, and judge me
honestly. I can take criticism and hope you will enjoy hearing a song
perhaps you have never heard!
Hey, it's my birthday today, and like Joni said, "I feel like I'm just
being born....." Thanks to you all!