Let the Truth Unfurl
There is always so much for a boy to do in Toronto. One can get a cocktail on almost every street corner. You can find all the best salons and spas at almost any hour on the hour. Huslters are just a snap away and you can see a legend perform live right before your very eyes.
I was there. Front and almost center at Massey Hall on Tuesday as some of the coolest musical artists came together to play tribute to Canada's Joni Mitchell.
Of course these days Joni spends most of her time in California, but she will always be our girl with the silky sweet voice and the golden locks. Those years may be long behind her but her very presence invokes the spirit of timelessness. Let me assure you, everyone present was moved beyond words to be in the presence of "Mitchell"
Herbie Hancock, Rufus Wainwright and Lizz Wright just to name a few were on hand to honor Joni with renditions of her most classic songs. From Both Sides Now to Big Yellow Taxi it was most captivating. Now I am not big on how some of the arrangements of the songs were handled but who am I to criticize? Although I have to say I thought Herbie Hancocks arrangement of Both Sides Now was horrific. It really was!! I love Herbie Hancock "Who can forget Rock It" but Esperanza Spalding pillaged the song to a raising of my blood pressure. "Spalding" did however knock my socks off with her last choice in her set. I'm sorry I didn't write it down! Bad blogger!
Rufus Wainwright was incredible. With a wink and a smile he sang his ass off. I have always been a big fan of "Rufus" I was not disappointed. His performance of Joni's Slouching Before Bethleham brought us all to standing ovation. Now one of my favorite Joni songs!
Lizz Wright blew my mind. Her version of Fiddle And The Drum was steaming with passion. She has an outstanding vocal range. Loved her!!!! And my next CD purchase will be???? "Wright!"
Kathleen Edwards was a perfect addition to the line up and was fabulous performing You Turn Me On I'm A Radio. She forgot the last verse in Big Yellow Taxi but redeemed herself when she came back out and had us all join her in a round. I think it worked out better that way anyway. I loved singing with the masses! Nice save! Loved your set!
Cold Specks didn't do many songs but what she [did was] really good. She seemed a little nervous. I would be to! One of her numbers that stood out was Black Crow! Excellent! I don't even know what Joni album that is from.....Clearly I am missing some Joni in my collection!
Glen Hansard was very cool. It was great to see a guy perform Joni. Not just any guy but a guy's guy! You could almost see him chewing a blade of grass as he sung. He must be saving that for the rodeo.
Last but not least was Liam Titcomb. If I were him, I mighta changed my name but he was pretty good, although his performances were a little forgettable, but he sure was tall.
When Joni came out to be acknowledged, I thought I was going to just die. I could not believe she was standing on that stage beaming and radiant. She read a poem that she had set to music and it was wonderful. She even humbly said "I want to sing for you. Please forgive my voice." She is Joni Mitchell. She has done more for music and music culture then many in her peer group and they all know it.
As she sang Woodstock, the room was in a trance and transported to another time. Another consciousness and we were one, together. I couldn't help myself. I yelled "Thank you Joni" and she replied "You are sweet." And I just died.
Carrie-Anne Moss was sitting behind me with a friend and during intermission we chatted about how wonderful the first half was. I was freaking inside of course because I just loved her in the Matrix and Chocolate. I was cool though and said nothing. Well until the end I admit when I had to tell her I thought she was wonderful, as the lights came up.
Joni did something more than just showing up to be honored. She fulfilled the life long dream of every single person in that room that has been touched by her music. She showed up and let us thank her for her contribution to the human physique. To still believing peace and showing us that when you smile, the world does smile back.
Everyone on the bill was incredible and even take a minute and check out these links. A splash of these artists in your collection could never be bad thing. I know I am off to the CD shop to see who I can find.
Esperanza Spalding http://www.esperanzaspalding.com/
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