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Joni Mitchell: Ray of Sunlight Print-ready version

by Gary Graff
Detroit Free Press
July 6, 1983

The fireworks came before Joni Mitchell's phenomenal Independence Day concert at Pine Knob Music Theatre.

A mid afternoon downpour left the theatre without electricity, so Mitchell's crew set up the stage not knowing whether power would be restored by show time. It was, a scant 50 minutes before Mitchell was supposed to begin.

The delay kept ticket holders lined up at the gates until 7.30 pm but nobody cared once Mitchell and her four piece band walked on stage at 8 pm – just a half hour late and just as the sun came out in full force.

It's hard to expect anything in particular from the 39 year old Canadian native. Her chameleon-like artistic personality – which has swung from folk to pop to jazz – makes her impossible to categorize and insures Mitchell consideration as a serious performer.

She gave her audience a taste of everything, from hits like Help Me and Big Yellow Taxi to the jazzy God Must Be a Boogie Man and the country-ish I Could Drink a Case of You…..

The two hour, 23 song concert was steeped in decidedly up-beat rock, however. The band's driving rhythms and instrumental virtuosity found middle ground between hard rock and jazz fusion, yielding dynamic results on revamped favourites like Coyote, Free Man and Cotton Avenue, newer songs like You Dream Flat Tyres and Wild Things Run Fast and a rocking encore of Marvin Gaye's Heard it Though the Grapevine.

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