For hard-core Joni Mitchell fans, her Friday night performance at the Zoo amphitheater was anything but a disappointment.
She performed for two hours, playing favorites from all her albums, the relaxed atmosphere of the amphitheater adding to the concert.
On albums, her lyrics are meaningful enough to carry the songs, but in a large concert, her lyrics can be lost in the shuffle. She relies more on musical composition. Friday, her unique style of musical composition was enough to carry the show.
After playing several older songs, she took songs from her new album, "Mingus," and the audience saw another variable in her ability. Ms. Mitchell has put lyrics to six songs written for her by jazz composer, Charles Mingus.
The album is a combination of low-keyed jazz and rhythm and blues, a contrast to the more lively "Court and Spark." She jazzed up the tunes for the concert performance.
Ms. Mitchell's concert in Oklahoma City was the first night of her summer tour and her enthusiasm showed. She played songs never performed in concert, and in one instance, she had to stop in the middle and "take it from the top," explaining apologetically, "it's the first night of the tour."
The audience was able to participate in one song from the "Mingus" album, "God Must Be a Boogie Man." She turned the song into a "good time" instead of singing it with the softer touch she uses on the album.
After playing a song featuring a clarinet, a solo by Don Alias was united with another audience participation song where the crowd chimed, "dreamland, dreamland."
The audience was also treated to "Help Me" from "Court and Spark," a five-year-old hit that still holds her popular snappy quality.
She left the stage to be brought back in the first of three encores. In her first return, she brought the Persuasions back for a hyped version of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love."
She returned after leaving the stage, as if to give the audience a sedative as she soothingly played "Woodstock." However, the song didn't do the trick and she was called back for another encore.