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by Trish Vandiver
Rolling Stone
February 28, 1974

Kiel Opera House, St. Louis
January 18, 1974

Joni Mitchell, on the road for the first time in a couple of years, opened her cross-country tour with some noted Los Angeles sessionmen backing her up. The combination worked well.

Tom Scott and the L.A. Express (John Guerin, Max Bennett, Robin Ford and Roger Kelloway) began the evening with some instrumentals which allowed each of them to display his talent.

Joni took the stage in a stunning, low-cut, backless, red dress, her honey hair cropped to just above her breasts. She leaned, smiling, from the edge of the stage to accept a bouquet of a dozen red roses and placed them in a vase, which she kept onstage throughout the show.

"We almost didn't get here tonight," she told the audience. "There was this strange fog formation, and when we got about ten feet above the ground, we saw it was a highway we were about to land on and not the runway. So we flew back to Cincinnati.

She sang "Woodstock" and "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Blue" and other familiar songs and introduced some new ones from her album Court And Spark. She was particularly impressive on "Raised On Robbery," a rocker which features Robbie Robertson on the album.

After intermission Joni returned wearing a dusty purple and silver gown with intricate beadwork to sing her sad personal love songs, including a new one, "The Same Situation":

"Tethered to a ringing telephone/In a room full of mirrors/ A pretty girl in your bathroom/Checkin' out her sex appeal."

She had played guitar and piano during her first set, but now she sat down and took a dulcimer on her lap for two songs, "A Case of You" and "All I Want."

Then the band returned- first Scott on flute on "For Free," then the others for "Trouble Child" from the new album.

She closed the show with "Both Sides Now," but when she returned for an encore, it was Annie Ross' "Twisted," an older jazz-loop tune that caused the audience to sit up, startled, and let out little nervous laughs. But she won them over, and eventually, they called her back for even more.

 

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