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Seeing Joni at House of Blues, West Hollywood, California Print-ready version

by Kakki
October 29, 2002

Jeff Pevar and Joni at the House of Blues Photo by G TOLMAN

Kakki: Whoa, what a night. I'm too exhausted to tell the whole story now, but will report later. Whoa ho ho. Darice and I went to the House of Blues show tonight and had the most excellent of adventures! Joni was there looking absolutely stunning in a silk black crinkle Miyake two-piece. She didn't sing but everyone was calling for her to join in. What a night.

I'm still exhausted but will try to hit some of the high points. It really was a special night. Met up with Darice at HOB early and hardly anyone was there so Darice just opened the door and walked in after we heard the rehearsal going on. I followed, of course, and we got to listen to the "pre-show" a bit. Then I had to go wait in the "Industry" line to pick up our tickets from Guacamole Fund.

We were chatting with two guys standing behind us when one said "there's Joni!" as she slipped through the VIP entrance. The guy sounded like he knew her but I didn't think much more about it at that point. We waited a long time in the line because apparently the guest list of several pages kept burgeoning and the powers that be wanted to have it all finalized before they let anyone in. Once we finally got in I was amazed to see that the audience was comprised of at least 90% celebrities and family and friends of Graham and the band!

It was a strange feeling - being a regular folk - it felt like barging in on a "private party" in a way. The actor Ed Begley, Jr. hung out at the bar with us a bit and offered us some french fries. Nice man.

Then the show began. Graham and band (Kunkel, Klein, Pevar, Parks, Raymond) were just perfect throughout the night and how could they not be? Interestingly, Graham only played about 3 or 4 songs from his new album, and devoted the majority of the show to all his best songs of the past 30 years. It was wonderful. At least three times, he made references to Joni while starting a song! She seemed to be definitely on his mind. He sang "I Used to Be a King" almost right off the bat, the song that he claims to have written the day they broke up. While he was playing the interlude from The Whale Song and right in the middle segued to a bit of "River" before going on to "Wind on the Water." Before another song that I don't recall now he said "Joni taught me this crazy tuning!" at which point several in the audience starting calling out for her to come down to the stage and sing with him, but she didn't.

He did beautiful renditions of "Pavanne", "Winchester Cathedral," "49 Bye Byes," (Oops, total Stills hallucination here - it was another Nash song that I always get mixed up with this one and that there are no brain cells left to recall LOL) and also "Immigration Man," "Pre-Road Downs", Marrakesh Express," "Wasted on the Way"" and "Military Madness." Graham's wife Susan was standing next to us at one point and we talked to her a bit. She is beautiful and very sweet. So you know me - had to go check out the smoking porch upstairs and while I'm on my way there I run into the two guys from the ticket line heading the same way (and passing Jackson Browne on the way). So they start talking about Joni again and I asked if they knew her and they said yes. I asked what the one guy did and he said he mastered records - asked his name and he said Joe Gastwirt (!) This is the man who did all the remastering of Joni's (and CSN's and Grateful Dead's and a host of others ) albums for HDCD. He also did the CSN box set and Joni's "Hits." Amazing - very friendly and nice guy and he said Joni and Graham are his favorite people to work with.

Back downstairs for more Graham, who introduced with mock irony his first encore as "the song I will be singing the rest of my fucking life" "Our House" ;-) and then ended with "Teach Your Children." After the show Darice and I were supposed to meet John, the tour manager up on the exclusive third floor because he was supposed to take us into the dressing room. We got up there and he told us to wait just one minute at which I ran out for another smoke, running into Joe Gastwirt again. Darice followed me out. Well, it's all my fault because John came out frantically looking for us and said he'd had them all lined up but thought we'd left - argh! He did take us to meet Graham for a quick bit and as we were heading that way, Joni was heading past us, probably to the smoking porch! Ha! She really looked good - slim and stylish and healthy but that was the last we saw of her.

After meeting Graham, we headed into the Foundation Room and hung out at the bar a bit with uber-photographer Henry Diltz who was as fun and nice as ever. I made Darice show him the blow-ups of Mick Jagger and Brian Jones that she took with her Brownie camera in San Diego in 1964 - lol - he got a kick out of them. Mr. Klein was sitting on the other side of us, but was with someone and we didn't interrupt him ;-) Met some other interesting people and Darice will have more to tell. It was really, really fun for these old girls ;-)

Darice: When Kakki first called me to tell me about the HOB date, I knew that I wanted to be in LA for it.

Finaly, after many volunteer jobs with Avocado/Guacamole, standing in the rain selling t-shirts and working tables in the lobby (hearing but not seeing the show) while others got to usher, these "Gold Circle" seats proved worth it. Granted,they were expensive and there were no "seats" and I was so tired after flying in from SF, going first to Burbank, to see Jackson Browne tape the Jay Leno show Braving rush hour traffic, I arrived at HOB just before 7:00pm (doing a fast change of clothes in the car). The HOB is just across the street from the "infamous" Sunset Hyatt, a huge part of local (and personal) music history. The will call window sent me to the "industry window", saying the window would open around 7:30.

While waiting for this elusive "window" and discussing the old LA club the Hullabaloo (where I saw the Yardbirds) with some other early arrivals, Kakki came over from valet parking.

As soon as she got there, music and Graham's voice was heard from the door nearest us, so I went in hoping to find the "industry" window. Instead we got to see and hear the soundcheck. What a treat, especially hearing Pevar and others practicing the harmonies.

The "guest" list was a huge volume and seemed to be in no particular order. While "patiently" waiting, I was enthusing about the Fillmore as a venue, citing some of the great shows I have seen there and that musicians really appreciate the venue. This led to a discussion with one of the men in the crowd about Tom Petty's legendary 20 (or so) night run at the Fillmore. In the middle of this, the guy (later identified as Joe G) said "look there's Joni" I turned to see Joni's head "checking in" at the Foundation door. She looked happy, serene and beautiful.

Obviously, the "stars" were in attendance.

While waiting at the bar for my one glass of wine and the food, Ed Begley Jr (the environmentalist!) offered me some of his french fries. Since Ed had just visited Hopland (in my backyard) for a benefit called Solfest, the conversation switched to conservation and my newly planted organic strawberry fields. Soon, we were exchanging ways to control the sowbugs and organic pest control (these types of conversations just seem to happen to me). Ed is very sweet and "real".

This set the tone for the rest of the evening. The audience seemed to be made up of "celebrities" and industry types, and there was some instances of the typical "Hollywood" pretensions. The "Hollywooditis" came from the perennial "hangers-on". But the highlights of the evening were visiting with people who remembered me from my volunteer gigs, or even from the far distant past. Jeff Pevar stopped just before the show to say hi, and mentioned the Walecki benefit. Henry Diltz has a photographer's memory for faces, and laughed when I told him how much money I pledged to KQED recently because of his pitch on the telethon.

We had more than full-access, moving from the main floor, through the upstairs tables and then ending in the Foundation Room (with a few forays to the "smoking" areas).

While reminiscing with Henry about the far-distant past, (Monterey Pop, the Sunset Strip, the Stones), another woman stopped to chat about photos. She was Rosemary Butler who has sung background for so many people and has one of my favorite voices. Soon, we were talking about the Jackson Browne "Hold out Tour" Jackson being on my mind since seeing him at Leno and again during the intermission.

Graham and his wife were quite welcoming and sincere, even though we had missed the "dressing room" introduction.

While John, the tour manager, was hustling Kakki and me down the stairs to see Graham, we passed someone on the narrow staircase. I was trying to walk, talk and think all at the same time (always a chore) and just exchanged that little nod of acknowledgement one does when passing someone else in a confined space. It wasn't until I hit the landing that I realized that it had been Joni heading for the now "infamous" smoking porch.

Finally, the night was over. I had been awake for almost 21 hours and was fading fast. (kakki was still going strong, but mumbled something about "work").

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Added to Library on September 11, 2015. (5924)


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