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By Jim Savage, Reporting for JoniMitchell.com
First things first. Let's hear it for the BSN Tour mgt. team, and particularly for JJ, (jonimitchell.com home page), for giving us the opportunity to photograph Joni at every stop on the tour. For me, it was an absolute dream come true. A chance of a life time. Joni has occupied the #1 spot on my list of music legends ever since I first saw her at the Fillmore East in NYC in the late 60's. OK, now for the concert at the E-Center in Camden, New Jersey, aka, the "Philadelphia area".
I had been at the second concert at Madison Square Garden, so I was totally psyched for this one. I remember saying to myself when I was leaving the Garden, "Wow! There is no way that Joni can top this!" Just after the 6/2 concert ended, I recalled my own thoughts and said, "Well guess what!! SHE JUST DID!!! Joni was awesome in Camden/Philly area!!!!
I have really enjoyed everyone's reviews of the concerts on the tour. It's interesting hearing people's reactions to what went on at each performance. So much has already been written about the tour, and the format didn't really change. Consequently, I've decided to mix some personal experiences in with the summary of what went on. I got to the E-Center plenty early as I heard that there had been glitches at some of the venues in securing the concert photo pass. I was one of the first to arrive. Oddly enough, the parking attendants filled the lot that was furthest from the theater entrance first. But that's OK because the $10 fee was a lot easier to swallow than the $35 parking fee at the Garden concert. Was able to get that cool BSN Tour t-shirt after all. The parking situation comes back into play later on though.
Picked up my photo pass with no difficulty. As I walked into the park area, several workers took notice of the camera and tripod and asked each other, "Can this guy bring his camera in?" That's when I pointed to my pass and said, "Hey! I'm the official JoniMitchell.com Home Page photographer!" "OK", they said. When I entered into the actual amphitheater, a security person said, "Sorry, no photography in here!" Another guard said, "He has a pass, so he can photograph through the end of the second song. Just like JJ said. I immediately figured out who the top dog was among the security people. This dude looked like he played middle line backer for the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Nice person. He told me that I could set up anywhere along the base of the stage. He also reminded me that I would need to take my seat after the second song and that I couldn't take any more pictures from that point on. I responded, "Of course!" I had no intentions of taking any chances. Next, a manager type person approached me and asked if I was staying to see the concert after I finished taking pictures. I said, "Sure". "Well then", she said, "you will need to go to your car to store your camera before you take your seat". HUH??? I promised not to take any more photos. Not good enough. She insisted that I go to my car, you know, the car that's parked in the furthest lot from the theater!! I said that I had no interest in missing about 30 minutes of the concert because of this camera rule. They wouldn't even let the guard hold it. Finally she said that I could leave it at the coat check, but that they could not assure me that it would still be there when I left. Nice.
The amphitheater reminded me of the "Miles of Isles" album cover. A sea of seats. The stage was very wide and about 5 1/2 feet high. Plenty of room between the stage and the first row so I was able to set up my tripod without difficulty. I didn't see anyone else with a camera, so my worries of fighting for a good spot were put to rest. At about 7:40 pm, twenty minutes before the scheduled start of the concert, there were only 200 hundred or so people present, but by the start of the overture, the place looked quite full. Elaine Soncie, (I think), a Philadelphia morning radio personality greeted the crowd and thanked Joni for coming to the E-Center with her BSN Tour. Someone was there holding up a sign that read, "JMDL". That was a good idea because a number of people came down to talk with her about their internet experiences with the "Joni Mitchell Discussion List".
Then the lights dimmed and the orchestra started in on the overture. It was haunting and beautifully performed. What an excellent way of setting the mood for the remainder of the evening. Once the overture ended, out walked the Lady herself. Joni, in all her majesty, walked onto the stage. People leaped to their feet for the first of many standing ovations. Her gown was magnificent. A gorgeous shade of shimmering green. Joni looked absolutely beautiful!! The temperature had reached 92 degrees earlier in the day and I remember thinking to myself whether Joni was going to be uncomfortable in this outdoor facility. However, if the heat was affecting her, there were no visible signs of it except for one dabbing of her brow with a towel, thoughtfully placed, no doubt, by a stage crewmember. Several others around me had also attended one of the MSG concerts, and we all agreed that Joni was somehow finding a way to give an even stronger performance, if that is even possible. This was the final night of a grueling 11 city - 22 day tour. Joni was pumped and ready to jive. Interesting, Joni talked about her being away from home for some time now and that her "roots" were showing. At first I was looking for the hidden meaning in this comment, but could she have just been making a candid comment about her hair? Looked fine to me. Oh well.
"Your My Thrill" and "At Last" were beautifully performed, and with my photography role, I may have had the best spot in the house. I thought that it was really creative the way Joni had her set list organized, (which by the way, followed exactly the order of the BSN CD), to reflect on the progression and evolution of a romantic relationship. As I see it, Joni has often used love found and love lost themes in her music. This is just a further demonstration of how Joni, the master song writer, is able to connect emotions through her music, to the very human experience involving the peaks and valleys of this thing we call love, and perhaps after all is said and done, whether love can even be defined at all.
I was determined to use all three roles of film that I had. My camera has a feature to cancel the flash, but it has to be re-set every time a new roll of film is loaded. I kept saying to myself, kill the flash, kill the flash. I started snapping. After the first 24 shots, I reloaded and pressed the shutter button. OH NO! %#@!!*#! The flash went off. Yikes! For several seconds I felt some panic start to set in. Will I get dragged out I thought? I quickly regrouped, canceled the flash, and started shooting again. Somehow I managed to get off all 72 shots. I was really caught up in the moment. My heart was pounding away. When Joni finished, "At Last", and I just took shot #72, as I moved my face away from the camera, Joni looked right at me and gave a big smile. I will remember those 5 seconds for the rest of my life. At that point, I packed up my equipment and was walked to the lobby. We soon discovered that for this particular concert, there was no coat check room. I was then walked through several doors marked, "Staff Only", to an administrative area where we found several nice staffers dancing the salsa. They told me that the camera would be safe with them. Cool!!!
I was in my seat by the time Joni was finishing, "You've Changed", so I only missed two numbers. I'm glad that I didn't miss, "A Case Of You", for which Joni received a standing ovation. "... you said that love is touching souls, Well surely you touched mine." My thoughts exactly!!! Joni had her "A" game going on. When I hear people say that, "she doesn't have the range she had early on in her career", it makes me nuts! Whether it's Joni's new versions of her own music, or her interpretations of these incredible standards, her voice is as passionate and soulful as ever. I have never seen anyone who puts as much of herself into her performance as Joni. She doesn't just sing the songs, she IS her song. She feels and expresses every note. Joni is not one for doing anything half way. That's what makes her Joni.
When Joni came back from intermission, she was wearing another gown even more beautiful than the first. This one was a mix of mostly black, with some silver or gray. She wore it well, looking just fine. "Stormy Weather" fit right in because we had just had a big down pour. "Both Sides Now" was next, and I have never heard Joni nail one like she did this. It's been said before, and it's true, BSN is timeless. While the orchestra was playing the last several notes of this number, the crowd leaped to their feet once again with a thunderous ovation. Joni gave a radiant smile, like only Joni can give. She looked to be enjoying every second of the crowds' reaction. Following a very jazzy and upbeat, "Be Cool", Joni started telling a tale about Beethoven as an introduction to, "Judgement of the Moon and Stars (Ludwigs Tune)". She told of how the person who invented the metronome (Joni said that his name is not known, but because he was Italian, for the sake of the tale, we will call him Metronomi), approached Beethoven with a proposition for him to write a piece of music that incorporated something from France and England, and the music would then be mechanically transferred to a brass music box. These two countries had royalty with plenty of money you see, and they were always looking for new toys. He said that they would both become very rich. You know how invariably people shout out requests for Joni to play. Well it was at this point in her tale, that a women yelled out, "Help Me". Joni said, "What's that? You can't hear me? You need help? Someone please help her!!!" Lots of laughter with that come back. Continuing with her tale, Joni said that Beethoven was not convinced that this was the right way to go, but he finally agreed to the plan and many music boxes were sold, much money was made, and Beethoven was now famous for "the biggest piece of $hit that he ever wrote". In performing "Hejira", X-Hubby Larry Klein, Music Director of the tour, joined Joni on stage and accompanied her on the bass guitar. Joni shared a thought on this tune. She said that in writing this song, she came to realize that there was no word in the English language that defined what it was she was expressing. "Hejira", I believe she said, is an Arab word that means, "honorable retreat", and I believe she applied the term to one's dreams. Larry was super on the bass, as usual. As in other shows, Joni described Larry as, " a Russian on Prozac".
Something very interesting happened at the E-Center during "For The Roses" that perhaps I missed at the Garden concert, and I got chills when I realized what I had seen. Joni sang this number to perfection. She was totally consumed in performing what I regard one of her finest works. With Joni's words echoing inside my head, she reached the final line, "And the moon swept down black water Like an empty spot light". While the orchestra continued to play the melody of this hauntingly beautiful song, Joni quietly walked off stage. just prior to the final several notes, on a darkened stage, a single spotlight shown down for several seconds to center stage, where Joni had been standing moments earlier, "...an empty spotlight". At that moment, all I could think about was how much Joni's music, words and artistry means to us and how it is part of our lives, past - present and future.
Just prior to "Trouble Man", Marvin Gaye's great tune, Joni made mention of how Marvin had his own disdain for the music business also. Following this, Joni introduced some of her band members and complimented the orchestra as they only had rehearsed for one day. FYI, When Joni arrives to a new city on the tour, she gets local talent to make up the 71 piece orchestra. Quite an accomplishment. The musicians in the orchestra did a sterling job. Bravo!!
What a thrill and joy it was to see Joni live in concert again! It is a night I will think of often and treasure the memories of special people, and the importance of living life with passion, creativity and purpose. Thank you Joni for your endless inspiration.
The photos I took at this concert are dedicated to the memory of Wally Breese.
REPORTS FROM THE INTERNET COMMUNITY
Well, once again the lady proved she is the real deal. The show was wonderful. Joni looked beautiful and sounded better than ever. She seemed relaxed and dare I say, happy? You can tell she is quite smitten with this new direction of her music and her love of it is infectious. After reading some of the other tour reports, I was apprehensive. Some people complained about her drinking water and acting disinterested while the orchestra played on, and others about the looking at the lyric sheet. Give me a break!!! She looked at the sheet only for " I Wish I Was In Love Again", and in Camden last night it was hot and muggy. I say, drink away, Joni! I also was concerned about the crowd reacting badly when they realized this wasn't a greatest hits tour. But this audience was genuinely enthralled from beginning to end. My personal favorites were of course her own songs, "A Case Of You" and "Both Sides, Now". What meaning her maturity brings to them.
I loved the new arrangement of "Hejira" and "Judgment Of The Moon And Stars" was unbelievable!!! Awe inspiring. I thought "For The Roses" lost it's quiet delicacy, though. I also loved the way Joni moved. She was so into every song. I had first row seats (Thank you God, Thank you God..) and could see all her facial expressions. She seemed to relish being free of the constraints of her guitar. I also enjoyed Larry Klein. I hope they always work together.
I've been a fan for over 30 years, and it's so gratifying that she's still around bringing her music into this new century. She is and always will be timeless...
Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing "The Goddess" and her 71 piece orchestra. It was a flawless performance. Unfortunatly it appeard that a lot of the audience was under the impression that Joni was going to be doing her "hits", and during the intermission I heard several people complaining about the lack of recognizable material (I guess that no one reads the paper as this show has been advertised for months now and every ad mentioned the show's "theme").
After the intermission, Joni told a very cute story about Beethoven and how he would not pander to people's musical tastes, and then true to form, she launched into several of her more obscure tunes!
She closed the evening's concert by doing a rousing version of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man".
An excellent show, by a Living Legend.
The concert was actually at the E-Center in Camden, NJ which is across the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philly. I had never been there, but, it's actully quite nice. The acoustics were great. Having been a fan of Joni's for almost 30 yrs., it was exciting to finally hear her in concert. I had to view her from a distance because our seats were pretty far back, but, the sound was sweet. It is really a treat to hear someone perform with a full orchestra as backup. Joni got several standing ovations. The first happened as the concert started and she walked out on stage. And, then several times during the show, as well as when she walked back on stage after an intermission and, at the end of the show. It was a very warm night in the Philly area, but, there was a breeze every now and then blowing in to cool everyone sitting in the E-Center.
Joni's voice was strong and the orchestra didn't drown her out, which surprised me. I would have liked to hear more of her oldies for purely selfish reasons. But, all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my first Joni Mitchell concert.
Prologue to Camden
When I listen to Joni's music in the quiet of my homespace the words and pictures of this tour invade my mind as well. I say invade because something gets lost when you listen to the opinions of other people about an experience that ought to be a personal communion, if you will, with the music she presents to us. I am writing this prior to seeing her perform in Camden, because I, like so many others, contemplate the human connection with her, but I also contemplate, and hear well in her words, the impossibility of being famous, of having total strangers assuming a human connection. Joni has alluded much to that fact over time in interviews and lyrics. The internet has added a whole new dimension to the star persona — all of us veiling a review over our whining that amongst ourselves, the people we are, are not enough for us, so we reach out wanting that human connection to her. For those of you familiar with the graphic a webcrawler creates, we all represent a link no doubt, but she is not God and yet the pivot point of all the links we represent — how exhausting! How dehumanizing! How impossible to please. Think about yourself as a lover to her. It doesn't matter your gender, the point is, no matter who she might care to show some attention to, the rest will be much like the crowd in Edith and the Kingpin — we all become the passed over girls conferring! If any of us really had any connection then the reviews would have been different, the human would have been pondered. For many years now, Joni has been slowly saying goodbye to the music industry, to a career that, in many ways, is no different from our own struggles for self-approval, hers complicated by the fact that she is not asking for us to understand, much less giving it all away, but nonetheless feeling all of the emotion of retrospection about HER life which we know nothing about! The arc of love for her — think about it. She is so remarkable — so much like Balzac or TS Eliot to me, where was a match fitting to her? Some of the critics clearly seem to think just anyone would do for her, but the fact is, the group who are her peers seem to miss the beat of her. Some would offer a rationalization, I make this commentary only to say, that it speaks in and of itself as to some of the sadness that comes through. To have had a career that spans over three decades and have no one who truly sang back to her —( yes this may be conjecture), but I think how many of us would wilt to our knees in appreciation of the writer, were the song for us, and yet there she stands, as if singing to herself( after all her gives a damn if she wears a gunny sack? Is that why she writes — truthfully she may not even know much less want to given the attempts at listening!). I guess that is what she meant about the time not being hers! I just want to say, to me, that is the saddest part of watching our world, knowing there is this totally thoughtful beautiful woman who shares the same lunacy nobody's like myself bear, you know, the intelligent woman doesn't fit. So after thirty years, has there been a massive consciousness raising? By all accounts splashed about everywhere, by the lone stature of her, I don't think so. Are we supposed to derive some lesson like become a Barbie doll in victoria's secrets, "don't think just dance"? The second you perceive such thoughts, you know you are crying out for a higher level! Song for Sharon, we all know it, yet we prefer the made up, dressed up, singer-songwriter, forever bestowing a moment's attention on us, rather than contemplating how she had to sacrifice that simple creature comfort we all reject, run from, and forever use someone like her to rationalize why we cannot love. Unfortunately so many are subconscious in the latter, they may not be able to admit how their fantasies about celebrities have mixed in with their own emotional ramblings and voided the possibility of full relating with someone. I didn't really become a fan of anyone, even Joni till somewhere around 1980( though I have been aware of her since Song to a Seagull). Sure I listened and loved her music, but I spent the 70's on my own quest for love that proves to this day be unrealized because people are unwilling to get past their crap and all that Hollywood sociopolitical modeling and really talk to you! "Talk to me, Mr Mystery" — yes for sure she shared in a similar problem — I laugh, so simple and yet it has eluded me all my life — someone I could really talk with, who would share back in the same way. I couldn't write a song if my life depended on it — just am not trained in that, so I know I am not a "fit" , but I guess I am comfortable with that truth and just very emotional that God has graced us with a guide all of these years — the tarot wizard with the lantern on top of the mountain, stands alone. Just hope the hell the misshits of the tour do not stop the pen of Joni, because dopes like me need to contemplate something other than the fate of my navel!
When you manage to express what jealousy is, all its nuances both within the entertainment industry as well as in most folks backyards at one time or another you are bound to become a target for those trapped on the jealousy plane. Weird plane that jealousy plane, not to be confused with Paprika Plains, but perhaps an excellent place to start — vast and bleak and God forsaken — I know that feeling to feel like one is in a desert, or forbidden zone — God knows by the brilliant way she pierces through the pretentious games you end up there and then you know why it is forbidden for it brings emptiness which begets sadness which begets laughter, sometimes, but once you get there you can't go back really and the only movement can be forward, but such places offer no street signs, no friendly guide, the guide is within — and damn if you are like me and do not have music as an outlet it makes you fucking screaming crazy at times! Some of you may wonder why you can't unnerve Joni with your critiques on her clothes and music and whatever else magnets to your complaint — you haven't gotten to the desert of the mind yet, you haven't seen your own greed, your lust staring you in the face and forever demanding from you — you haven't been totally bored with yourself and honest about it— admit it — you have no real ambitions to gnaw at you, there isn't anything wrenching at your soul, refusing to let you rest. For most people it ends up being a translation into sexuality which is not so bad you say, but it just means, at least from my perspective that you haven't stripped off all the illusions, you still play one of the passed over girls, the trouble child, so how could you really bring passion much less love having never gone to the forbidden zone? Back in 1984 a year after I had seen Joni for the first time in concert, I was sitting atop a mountain in what I suppose I should refer to as a Van Gogh phase before the ear was a goner. It was a clear starry night in southern California, I had the magical moment of seeing both the setting sun and the full moon in the sky at the same time — it crystallized in my mind just how pathetically primitive we are as a people — and God knows the daily sacrifices of that year were mild in comparison to the shooting of the week we see so often now. When I get to that point I wonder how Joni manages to insulate herself from all the utter crap to write all that she has. She has never needed a swami, she is no doubt enlightened but very stingy with how she does it which is my complaint as always — I guess that is why I love her, and laugh at all the grumblers who "have to" pay for a lithograph! At least she doesn't lead you down the "end of the world" path, or the "denial route" (maybe that is the orange twist) or any of the other unnatural solutions to greed, lust, and ego — she very sweetly tells you something, and it is a funny thing about thought, especially when it is served in such an appealing manner — it tastes good but then after — aah did I hear a voice say sounds like an allusion to revelations — but are not all the processes within the circle of life, more circles, guided by beginnings and endings ( alpha-omega) with revelation generating new alphas and omega's? We often choose to prognosticate what the deeper, universal truth is about in dreams, human events, we lose if we follow that path ( and herein Joni and I do not see the same), because I believe that when we elevate the mysteries to the basic elements we understand the message from any book of ancient wisdom engages us to personally comprehend rather than extend as a message intended for the masses — sort of Herman Hesses Magic Theatre — not for everyone — or paprika plains, or me and my own self vision of being in a courtyard plagued by noon day flies! I don't worry nor do I sell the classic tragic ending for staying in the "forbidden" place, it probably should be called the place no one likes to go because they can never go home again. By the way this does not mean for those who find my stream a bit elusive — it does not mean you do not write songs or write — it means you reject all of the teachings that place you within a life and death, good versus evil struggle, it means seeing the lesson rather as one of beginnings and endings — only fools contemplate the "big ending" — you expire, regardless of action at the moment in exactly one second — too quick a moment to spend so much time pondering the when of it! So now that if you have read this far you are wondering what the hell this has to do with the chirp (alas I am a reactionary to a great shiny thing?! woman— I'm a fan in desperate search of more(no onions under the eyelids please) than Joni Mitchell — like some people who haven't lost the way or penchant if you will for something more rousing than a rewrapping of a local saloon standup if you know what I mean ( and if you don't — haven't women and whether they behave and dress accordingly — isn't that the old faded thing ?) and by all accounts of what I have read on this and other sites — no wonder she doesn't think its her time anymore — damn she may think she landed on another planet given the pettiness of the crows in the crowd — alas, poor Joni, she musn't forget Shakespeare's wisdom of throwing a few bones to the penny seats — hey maybe that was the meaning of the spotlight in search of her in Hartford!(which means she is neither pitiful nor bowing to the boorish of the sandlot!) Aah if only male performers would seduce us with the sublime! No doubt playboy would decline but we all would recline more happily. Next stop …THE SHOW!!!!!
The last time I saw Joni was in "83 at the Garden State Arts Center. It was a blistering 100 degrees at 6 o'clock! After tonight's sultry temps she may ask me to see her in early spring only (God only knows what would happen in winter!)
I would like to say to all the people who reviewed other shows, we have an expression in New Jersey, hackneyed, but somehow appropriate - are you guys on drugs!?! Joni looked fantastic and damned nailed a new voice which is to say she nailed a new voice! Voices within a voice! I was impressed with the smoothness not to mention the near impossibility for sing a long types like me to ever emulate the quick lyrics and musical changes this selection of music requires!
She looked great in those dresses - especially the black outfit - it fit the music, it fit the night - she looked damned beautiful to me but then I was in row Q so what could I see from there? Ever lay on the floor and look up at people? Well it isn't the same as row Q.
What amused me the most was the usual cigarette during a show - and then the bit with the sheet of music - some guy behind me fell for it, all I could say, do you really believe that? ( Must be a newcomer) She even made it look convincing except the stage guys kept shutting out the lights and she kept right on going.
The best moment of the night was her tale about Ludwig - a thinly veiled gossamer of mirth but question is - which album did she think was the worst shit she ever condescended to?
Here's the tale: Ludwig wasn't doing too well having fame only in Germany and Austria, so this guy Metronome pronounced metrono-me cause he was Italian you see, has invented this thing and it gives you all the brass you need, he tells Ludwig with his invention the metrono-me he could take the national anthems of France and England and (she wasn't going to get political) and use the metronome and voila instant success. Well of course Ludwig thought the idea sucked, but then Metronome convinced him that the rich are fools anyway seeing as they love their toys and so he finally through a war of attrition on the part of Metronome Ludwig conceded and did the tour, was a big success but afterwards he felt lousy because it was the worst shit he ever produced!
You had to be there...It was great nonetheless to hear her talking to us too, instead of just getting up and belting out those chords. Please put me on the list for the concert series!!!!!!!!
Joni fits an orchestra, if I had one suggestion to make as a lay person, it would be to get the orchestra to follow more closely the way she actually wrote her stuff - I know zilch about arrangements but I think it would be curious to see how closely they could emulate her clarity
I hated the evening to end. I could write more but I am exhausted from the drive there and back, but here you have a purposefully unpretentious review about someone who will always interest me, always inspire and emote me, and who will always be the singer-songwriter of our time no matter what noise comes from the clowns
PS I bought the signed litho and the hat - no complaints on price - but damn $5 for a slice of pizza and a lousy one at that - I am sure Joni didn't get dime of those funds - for chrissake a bottle of water was $3.50! Would have been nice if they had had a hotel nearby and some decent food to eat! But like I said to my new neighbors around me at the show - we are middle-aged so they figure we can bear the price
Like so many others, this was my first Joni show in spite of the fact that I've loved her for over 32 years. My first memory of Joni was discovering her while watching a broadcast on PBS of what I think was entitled "The Mississippi River Festival". It was 2 hours of Arlo Guthrie and 2 hours of Joni. I was in 8th grade and I remember being mezmerized by this woman as she sat at the piano and played the most incredible song I had ever heard. To this day I nearly weep whenever I hear "Willy". Last night, my dream was fulfilled. I've told my husband many times, if I only attend 1 more concert in the rest of my lifetime, let it be Joni. I've been checking the tour info on this website well over a year in hopes that she might consider one. Last night was surely a night to remember. The show was fairly predictable, having read all of the previous tour reviews thus far. I sat eagerly waiting during the overature in anticipation to see what creative attire she would be wearing this evening. (who is her designer?) I thought of all the stages of Joni's life as her story of love unfolded. I know there were many who longed for a concert of the good ole stuff, but this mature Joni proves to one and all that she is a true innovator. This new cd is a masterpiece. Who else but Joni can sing of the evolution of a persons love relationship? Her additions of what she called "my more difficult and obscure work",meaning "For the Roses", "Heijera", and "Judgment of the Moon and Stars" were a nice sampling for those who needed to hear a little blast from the past. The orchestral arrangments for these pieces were enchanting! Larry looked great. It must have been a little touching for all , as this was the last show! Now if only I can get to her art exhibit!
Bucks County, PA
It was a hot night in Jersey, in more ways than one.
We were watching the skies anxiously most of the day - the radio called for lightning, hail, and "dangerous winds." But Mother Nature gave Joni a break -- there was only a brief rainstorm, and the lanquid heat so perfectly suited for these sultry, torchy songs!
Joni was obviously "on" and enjoying herself on this last performance of the current tour. Her renditions of the standards from Both Sides Now were just a tad jazzier, torchier and sexier than the album versions. Her singing was confident and often playful. She is not play-acting the role of chanteuse. She is not a musical tourist. She LIVES these songs. Her performance was absolutely authentic and absolutely sublime.
After the Both Sides Now segment, Joni turned to orchestrated versions of her own compositions, including a heartbreaking version of "Judgement of the Moon and Stars." That song is one of Joni's most beautiful; in this version she invests it with so much pathos that I burst into tears. The lyric is about Beethoven, but I heard "Joni" in every line. "You've got to spread your light like blazes all across the sky." Doesn't she?
Joni feeds off a good audience, and ours was a good one. There has been some grousing in some of these shows, from audience members feeling entitled to "hits." At the outset of the concert, Joni said, "I hope you read the ads and know what to expect tonight," and it seemed to me that most people did. I felt a lot of love around me, that's for sure. You get the real scoop in the bathroom line, and there was nothing but adoring praise!
Thank you, Joni. Thank you for your sense of adventure, your commitment to growth and your glorious, glorious voice.
She was beautiful and amazing . Her stage presence was breathtaking. Her style is much different now than when I saw her in Philadelphia (I think about 1976.) The crowd seemed to respond more to the familiar songs,although her Ella Fitzgerald like style was heavenly and hypnotizing. She shared some stories with the audience. My youngest daughter Erin (20yrs) attended the concert with us. She cried when Joni began her first song which strangely enough is exactly what I did when I saw Joni in Philadelphia all those years ago. Her ability to draw you into her music is unbelievable. She grabs you,pulls you in,and numbs you. We truely enjoyed the evening with Joni Mitchell!!!!!! Thank you Joni.
Jayne Harple and family
Two months ago I ordered the tickets on-line. I was shaking. The last time I saw her was in Philadelphia at The Mann Music Center. Joni has been such a "teacher" to me and my guitar playing since I was 15..........I'm 38!!!!! I love her tunings. Me and my 16 year old son play "Tigerbones" together at least once a week....I on acoustic and him on electric.
Anyway.....The E-Center is an open back arena. The place was packed. I had orchestra seats. The tension was high. The ochestra was humming....whining....
Out Joni comes.......the wind from the river blowing her hair and "electric blue" dress........the crowd went bo-fucking-listic..........Joni stood there in the spotlight.....both hands raised up and threw her hair back. She stepped up and wrenched out "You're My Thrill" like she was posessed by Billie Holiday. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. My eyes welled up with tears...........
My favorite rendition was "A Case Of You".......The crowd screamed throughout the entire song, and I didn't mind. They were feeling just like I felt.
After her BSN menu was over, she shocked me with Orchestrated songs like
"Judgement Of The Moon And Stars", "For The Roses", and a hot play with Larry on his very Jaco Pastorious-esque bass playing of "Hejira"........BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He walked up to her and kissed her when the song was over. Love prevails!!!!!!
When it was over, I drove home....the 10 minute drive. As I was driving I got excited just knowing that Joni wasn't too far from my home. She breathed my neighborhood air!!!!!!!!!
I also feel the Philadelphia fans comforted her.....they/we were very receptive......I thank them for that. Joni was comfortable.....I could tell........
My first time conversing on a web page- never thought I would be in to this- and I am not really - but being in such awe of an artist like THE JONE- makes me want to ramble to someone (since I can't tell her in person what she means to me). I thought I was THE Biggest Joni fan.
I was at Joni's concert here in Phili ( really Camden NJ- but if you knew Camden you would say Phili) I saw her many times in the late 60's and 70's but not recently. I saw her at the Club 47 before her 1st album was released; a couple other times including the Boston common one where she walked off the stage because it was noisy and people were moving about . I wonder if that is why the concert had about a 30 min delay start. It wasn't sold out but the good seats were packed full of fans including some nuts hooting outloud ( kind of annoying). I am hooting inside -but don't have the nerve or the voice to carry up to her ears.
I think the orchestrations are great- really well scored- played well by fine musicians. It is not my taste however; I would have perfered a smaller ensemble of piano, bass with some horns or winds; jazz guitar- that is how I feel about the album too. She performed some of her older tunes with the orchestra- I just feel that her lyrics are so important it shouldn't be covered up by such heavy orchestration. That is my opinion and taste- but everything was well done- and I would love anything she would do. I think she looked great( thru my binoculars) she seemed relaxed; was quite chatty.
She is the greatest-
Does anyone know if her paintings are for sale and how to go about owning one?
Lynne Kushner DVM DACVA
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
As a transplant to the Philadelphia area, I have my qualms regarding the way my adopted city fared in Joni Mitchell's estimation during her concert here this past Friday night...
I have read lots of letters regarding her stops in other cities. Certainly, there have been fans along the way who were irritated that Joni didn't just get up there and sing her Greatest Hits, somewhat on the order of an Al Martino CD sold on late-night television. (Apparently these folks did little or no research before they purchased their tickets.) However, the feeling I overwhelmingly noted from those other-city reviews was that when push came to shove, these concerts boiled down to genuine lovefests between performer and audience. Somehow, while there was great appreciation,I just did not quite experience that overall sensation in my town. It was a little hard to hear, but I think Joni said something along the lines of never having been in Philly before, and not being quite certain what to expect. I hope her worst fears weren't met in da City of Brudderly Love.
I guess every concert had its quotient of yahoos in the audience, ours being no exception. There were a couple of shouted requests, one of them for "Carey," from a fan who seemed to think Joni was up there singing to a simple soundhole and her knee. Was a 70-piece orchestra expected to know every single song in Ms. Mitchell's oeuvre? Didn't an undertaking such as this obviously necessitate a rigid agenda?..Then there was the fellow who must have just blown in on a Pat Benatar time warp, no doubt with Budweiser in hand. As the orchestra launched into a torch song, a split second before Joni began to sing, this peckerhead bellowingly gifted her with the information: "I love you, Joni!" There's nothing like an earthshaking declaration on that order to break an artist's concentration... There was also the guy making "appreciative" noises during some of Joni's commentary onstage. He was so loud, she inquired, "Can't you hear?" She paused a beat. "Do you need help up there?" Everybody laughed; nobody wanted to give him a Heimlich...Also, there was not a full standing ovation for Joni at the end of that breathtakingly beautiful "A Case of You," as was evidently the case in other cities...But enough sour grapes regarding those who didn't recognize the beauty of the evening they witnessed, and seemingly didn't appreciate an artist who stretches this much. Despite such attitudes, I definitely was not alone in being powerfully moved by my favorite performer in this elegant, meaningful concert.
Personally, I fell in love with orchestral music, old standards, and jazz in the years since I was a high-school girl who went crazy over a record simply titled "Joni Mitchell." Therefore, even though I am not a musician, this concert shook me down to my very foundations right from the Debussy overture. By the time Joni, in rich, rich voice, arrived at the beautiful arrangement of her second selection, "At Last," I was a lachrymose goner. Pretty much had tears rolling down my cheeks until the end of the show. There were one or two things I might quibble with, as we all have our own tastes. I don't find "For the Roses" a song particularly worthy of the swollen and grandiose--albeit lovely--treatment it was accorded, for example. But that's neither here nor there. Mostly, I am genuinely grateful to Joni and her fellow musicians for one of the most memorable evenings of "entertainment" (a most inadequate term!) I have ever experienced...
Diana/The Redhead in the Bleachers
My friend and I were returning to Philadelphia (five minute ferry ride) and some other concert-goers were asking us where to go in Philly... the four of us ended up going out for a drink together at Budakhan, a Philly Hot Spot. I looked up and saw Joni having dinner on the second floor. I regained my balance and my friend and I sat at the upstairs bar, directly across from JMs party, a party of 14 I believe. I'd never approach her in a public forum like that, she'd hate it. So I drank 12 or 13 glasses of vodka, with ice, and wrote her a note on a cocktail napkin. I waited until the gentleman across from Joni left the table, and dressed in mostly black leather, I walked to the table and put my note next to her plate. She was engrossed in conversation and a cigarette and didn't see me standing in front of her. It felt like an hour had gone by and I felt conspicuous, so I cleared her plate, wiped the table, moved my note to the center (where her food would have been, presumably) handed everything to a busboy and walked back to the bar. My friend said, 'what the hell are you doing, we don't work here' (we're both long time restauranteurs) but it sure seemed like the most logical thing to me. Joni and I never spoke. I faintly recall hearing someone read the note aloud, but I could have been mistaken. What I hope is that she has the cocktail napkin in a drawer somewhere. I've no clue what it said, but the last thing I wrote was 'if you want me I'll be at the bar.'"
Joni's performance was complete and absolute perfection tonight.
I've posted that I've had trouble "getting into" BSN, that "it does nothing
Well... count me among the converted, I've seen the light...from the first
All I can say about the show was that is was amazing!!! The other amazing
part was Dave (Guitar point) He met Joni while she was in her limo, gave her
roses, had her sign his guitar and then asked for an autograph for a good
friend namingly CATGIRL!! and gave me his CD cover of Hejira with the
inscription...Hello Cat Girl Joni Mitchell.....I was totally blown away. It was such a wonderful
thoughtful gesture on Davids part. Thanks so much for thinking of me. Also,
I did try to get her autograph but Sam Feldman (her manager) told me that she
HAD breen sick befor the tour started and was NOT seeing any one or doing
anything after each show at all. So NO LUCK on the autographs at this point.
I do have a few ideas up my sleeve and will think of something.
I've tried three times and I can't come up with words to describe last
night's performance. So I'll leave it at that.
Well, it was a fairly pleasant night out...
OH MY GOD! What a show. Joni was in fine voice - a bit hoarse at times, but powerful and flexible. Her performances of the BSN tunes struck me as much jazzier and sexier than the album cuts, as much as I *love* the album.
"Judgement of the Moon and Stars" made me cry. It is a beautiful arrangement; very theatrical, and Joni wrings out every ounce of pathos! Same with "For the Roses." She is borderline sentimental with these songs, but just *borderline,* never going over the line into schmaltz. If this is the mood of the next album, I'm gonna invest in Kleenex.
We've heard tell of stupid audiences, but as far as I could see, this was a good crowd. We probably generalize from the people in our immediate neighborhood, and mine was appropriately worshipful. There was one guy who called out "Help Me!" and Joni said, "Somebody help him!"
News of the year: my husband Ron stayed awake! I was worried that I would spend the evening giving him the wifely elbow in the ribs. He is famous for having fallen asleep sitting in the bleachers at a Frank Zappa concert, and he is one of those who "loves Joni's old stuff," but he was absolutely impressed by what he saw last night. Who wouldn't be?
My only disappointment was about the wardrobe. I was really itching to see the Jetson outfit, but she wore two batcape dresses.
Really loved the E-Center show last night. I don't know if anyone else noticed, but I'm sure I saw tears in Joni's eyes during the begining of bsn...
at that moment, it occured to me that I could be watching Joni's last live performance of that song and I just wondered if that's what was behind the tears.
36 hours later, words still fail me.
This was THE BEST, bar none, Live Performance I have ever experienced.
Even better than A Day In The Garden, and those who were around me that day may
remember Joni's effect on me that day!
Being in the second row on Friday evening certainly made a difference.
Being a mere 20 feet away from her, with a direct sightline between us, allowed
me to make eye contact a few times, and even lead the chorus of standing
ovations. Joni's voice was right on. I heard no hoarseness at all. She was
having a great time. She knew it was the end of a wonderful tour and was
She rocked and swayed behind her microphone stand (where no regrets were taped
nor chewing gum stuck ;-)
Her hands were in constant motion, as if she were transcribing each song in
emotional sign language.
I found myself not being able to sit still in my seat. I must have looked like
one of those spring-necked dogs people keep on the rear decks of their cars, my
head bopping during every song and my lips silently tracing out every lyric
right along with her.
The nice old lady sitting next to me must have thought I was obsessed,
or something :-) And when I explained about our JMDL family, she knew for
And Joni's hand motions really got to me during Ludwig's Tune, as she played
air piano (right along with me) during the non-vocal interludes. Simply
It was wonderful being able to get togather with so many jmdlers before and at
the show, both old and new. The Chinese Cafe owner wanted to know when we were
I hope we get to do this again very soon, with the release of the next album.
Joni, Larry, and Vince - you all did great! Take a short break, then get back
to work! Times-a-wasting!! ;-)
Wishing only the best of everything for all my siblings-in-Joni...
Hi! I figured this seemed like a good time to introduce myself...I also saw
Joni Friday night in Camden and I was blown away I always love watching her
perform. I have only seen her once before at A Day In The Garden. Which was
a very different show than last night but both were special in their own
way. it was great to see her do songs that she wanted to do and loved doing.
I liked her point with the Beethoven story too...lol.
I play guitar and the archives of songs on the list page are amazing thanks
if the people are here that worked out the tabs.
Rickie and Bob:
greetings listers! the following message is to the philly listers who made
one of my friend, bob marino, feel welcome, despite his unofficial and
entirely honorary status with the JMDL. bob is one of my best friends, i
have known him 20 or 25 years, and one thing (among many) he and i have in
common is a love for joni mitchell. he has never officially joined the list,
scared off i think by my stories about the life consuming number of posts.
but i keep him abreast on the list chat, and bring him up to speed with all
the joni esoterica that i have learned from my residency here.
so when bob had an extra ticket to the philly show, i put him in touch with
claudia, who was in need of one. and what follows is the story of bob's big
night out, during which he actually got to meet joni herself!!! i think he
is still in his coma, but the doctors are hopeful that he will emerge soon.
so be happy for him, if you can. and, since he can rant and rave with the
best of us, i guess it must be true that it could not have happened to a
better, or bigger fan...except for me, of course.
live vicariously listers! peace, ric
TO: The JMDL members who attended the 6/2/00 show in Camden, NJ
FROM : A "lurker" with thanks (Bob Marino)
Well, it's the day-after at about 4:30 and I'm still feeling a bit buzzed
and giddy from yesterday's event ,this being my first concert, and first and
probably only brief encounter with the Grande Dame herself... first, a
special thanks to Brian and "catgirl" for all of their efforts in getting us
together ! As someone who has stayed on the periphery of your group through
my best friend/soul-brother Ric (rickielee), I felt especially gratified to
have met some of you in person...Kenny, Paul from NYC, Edward and Walter from
NJ, Simon (the keeper of the flame),Claudia my wonderful seat-partner, and
David Cohen whose amazing initiative and courage allowed yours truly to
piggyback on his plan and steal a few amazing seconds with Joni...I know most
of you have already heard me foam at the mouth over this, but for the benefit
of those members who might be reading who weren't there, I'll give the
I arrived at the E-Centre quite early to wait for Claudia SanSoucie
who was driving up from Baltimore to share my extra ticket (thanks to Ric!) I
parked across from the main entrance at about 4:15, not realizing that it was
also adjacent to the "VIP" gate. I noticed some people who I thought were
E-Centre ees. standing next to the gate (but were really David, his wife and
friend...) when suddenly, a big black limo rolled by, made a pass ,and came
back...my heart started pounding when it pulled up to the gate about 20 feet
from my car. David then proffered a big smile and held up a box of (roses?)
...The limo stopped, the smoked glass door rolled down, and then I realized,
it WAS her...David spoke for a while ,then bolted for his car to retrieve his
guitar and bring it back to the limo. Heart REALLY pounding now, I crossed
the street and by now, the back door was open and there was Joni, strumming
and tuning David's guitar with riffs from "Sex Kills" ! In my besotted state,
I thought it was "Turbulent Indigo", but what the h*ll did I know at that
At about 5:00 AM that morning, I had this inspired idea to try and
present Joni with something as my seat was pretty close (5th row)...but
what?? flowers? well, I thought she would get lots of those..so. then it hit
me...I have a small pocket-size volume of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"
that I have traveled with for years..YES, that was it... his verse reminded
me of hers in many ways ...so I would give her the volume, with a brief
little note inside the flyleaf...(so much for the "abridged" version, huh
gang?) When David and his group backed away from the limo, I sort of jumped
in front and was trying to hand the book into Joni when one of her
"handlers", managers, ect. started to close the door on my arm..(D'oh!!) It
was only the cry of "wait, wait" coming from Joni that saved me from an
embarrassing and painful injury...the door reluctantly opened again and there
I was looking dumb and dumber with my very own 10-second "window" and special
"deer-in the-headlights" expression...so, gathering all of my wit and
sophistication,I proffered the book to her (I think she thought it was for
her to sign) and gushed something really urbane like "God Bless You" and "it
would be an honor if you kept it," and" I'm looking forward to the show"..the
guys with her were less than impressed, but Joni did say "Oh, Whitman" (how
about THAT?? [lol] ) and that was more than good enough for me as I backed
away from the limo bowing in supplication....completely dazed, I stumbled
back to my car, immediately called Ric at work to blather and gloat and then
Claudia pulled up and realized with devastation that she had missed this
amazing moment by just a few minutes...
Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it by golly...David will have
to fill in the blanks with better facts..but I truly enjoyed the show and
entire experience...for me, the bass accompaniment by Klein and arrangement
by Mendoza for "Hejira" was worth the price of admission by itself...the cool
way he just bent towards Joni, feeding off of her energy, and her, his, was
wonderful.... Thanks again for allowing me to be part of your experience
JDMLers, I'll always remember 6/2/00 !!
Just read the report and saw the photos of the Camden show. Like all the
others, it was fantastic! She did look stunning that nite. I was a little
worried as to how this show would go, due to the fact the Detroit show got
messed up. It sounds like she recovered nicely and had a great audience.
I'm glad she mentioned that bit about reading the ads and knowing what to
expect--I've been wondering about this myself. Nobody could ever accuse her
of false advertising--the ads were very clear about what she was going to do.
I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for those who were disappointed that
she didn't do a whole lot of old material.
Thanks to all those who filed their reports, I can't tell you how much I
enjoyed reading them.