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Joni Mitchell’s farewell Print-ready version

Filling the soul with love’s beauty and life’s suffering

by Richard Perlmutter
Sprectrum (Buffalo University)
December 17, 1969
Original article: PDF

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There is a good feeling in sitting (or kneeling) at a concert for a couple of peaceful hours as your mind is bombarded ever so softly by a series of images conveying a world of colors and a world of grey, a world of nature and a world of man, a world of truth and a world of illusion, a world of love and a world of Nathan La Franeer.

It was a pleasure enjoyed by a large, young group of people Saturday night when Joni Mitchell came to Kleinhans Music Hall. It was a group that knew something was being said, loved it and showed it by rising to their feet three times in ovation (not including intermission).

Deep poetic insight

For the first part of the concert, Joni wore a long flowing bright red velvet gown. For the second half, she wore a long flowing bright green satin gown.

And in her song "Marcie", she paints a series of pictures using red and green, flowers and a deeply poetic insight that requires nothing but the canvas of the mind.

Joni Mitchell has a unique ability; in fact she has several. One is an ability to play piano. Another is her ability to play a six-string guitar that seems to have become a part of her.

Another is her ability to relate which she does so well with her vanilla fresh voice with its smooth textural quality. Still another is her ability to dream and to tell us about it. Dreams from a Joni Mitchell paintbrush achieve their own kind of reality.

Recall the beauty/

In "Rainy Night House" we receive wavelengths of a Joni Mitchell dream in all its ethereal beauty, and the experience will be remembered.

We live in a large, cold, cruel society contained in a larger, colder world. In the midst of pain, injustice and suffering it is easy to forget the beauty that must be hiding somewhere.

Joni Mitchell does not allow us to forget the pain, but she also helps us to recall the beauty of a world not completely desolate.

Joni Mitchell is 26. Her poetry comes from a woman of depth and profundity yet her appearance is one of an innocent and delicate young flower trying very hard to please and touch us - and she does.

Not life's illusion

That was Joni Mitchell's last concert in the United States. She has decided to go home; to the life of painting and songwriting. Perhaps Joni Mitchell is not an illusion. Perhaps she is real and those ideals she sings about are more than just words. Perhaps they are sincere tenets of a way of life; that takes precedence over the commercialism and financial rewards of life on the concert circuit.

Or perhaps she is just tired.

In any case she has left something behind and Saturday night she left many in the audience filled with the kind of internal warmth that is easy to forget exists.

So Joni Mitchell will buy her ticket and go west again; we can only hope that it is not one-way.

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