Joni Mitchell saluted in song, then takes to the stage at all-star ‘JONI 75’ birth­day con­cert

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - OBITUARIES / LOCAL / STATE / FROM FORUM - The San Diego Union-tri­bune (TNS)

The fi­nal stand­ing ova­tion for Joni Mitchell at Wed­nes­day’s “JONI 75: A Birth­day Cel­e­bra­tion” came af­ter 21 of her songs had been per­formed, even though the iconic Cana­dian troubadour did not sing one note or say a sin­gle word.

But there was no doubt she was the star of the show at the Los An­ge­les Mu­sic Cen­ter’s Dorothy Chan­dler Pavil­ion. The health-chal­lenged Mitchell ap­peared on stage there for the first time any­where in five years – and the first time since suf­fer­ing a near-fa­tal brain aneurysm in 2015.

The sold-out au­di­ence of 3,000 swooned at her pres­ence and ser­e­naded her with “Happy Birth­day” at both the start and con­clu­sion of the con­cert. They cheered when, seated on stage, Mitchell blew out the can­dles on her cake.

And some fans were dab­bing away tears when Mitchell stood – with as­sis­tance – and gin­gerly swayed along dur­ing a reprise of the grand fi­nale of “Big Yel­low Taxi,” her bouncy 1970 en­vi­ron­men­tal la­ment (which in later years was recorded by Bob Dy­lan and sam­pled by Janet Jack­son).

The au­di­ence Wed­nes­day con­tained at least as many celebri­ties as there were mu­sic greats hon­or­ing Mitchell on stage. Among them were ev­ery­one from Tom Hanks, An­gela Bas­sett, Jake Gyl­len­haal and Eric Idle to Jon Hamm, Ge­orge Takei, Mandy Moore and Os­car-win­ning film­maker Cameron Crowe, a 1972 Univer­sity of San Diego High School grad­u­ate.

Crowe wrote the liner notes for Mitchell’s 2004 com­pi­la­tion al­bum, “Dream­land.” At a post­show arts fundrais­ing din­ner Wed­nes­day, he pre­sented Mitchell with the Mu­sic Cen­ter’s Ex­cel­lence in the Per­form­ing Arts Award.

“She re­mains our best field re­porter in mat­ters of the heart, or in the world... or if you’re just look­ing for an ex­cuse to kick up your heels and feel more alive,” Crowe said, toast­ing Mitchell. “She is in­spi­ra­tion at a time when heaven is in short sup­ply.”

The fea­tured singers in­cluded Seal (who de­liv­ered a breath­tak­ing and won­der­fully dis­tinc­tive ver­sion of “Both Sides Now”), Brandi Carlile (who was no less stun­ning on “Down Joni Mitchell per­forms in Toronto at a nuns’ con­ven­tion on April 16, 1968.

to You”) and Ru­fus Wain­wright (who soared on “Blue,” then coasted on “All I Want”). The full set list ap­pears be­low.

The lineup also fea­tured two of Mitchell’s for­mer paramours, Gra­ham Nash and James Tay­lor, the lat­ter of whom strug­gled to come to grips with the wist­ful “River” but found his foot­ing on “Wood­stock.”

Nash led the au­di­ence in a sing-along of “Our House,” the lilt­ing ode to do­mes­tic­ity he wrote in 1970 when liv­ing with Mitchell in Lau­rel Canyon.

“Ev­ery song you’ll hear tonight was writ­ten by Joni, ex­cept this one,” Nash said at the start of the sec­ond half of the con­cert. (The first half be­gan more than 40 min­utes af­ter its sched­uled 6:30 p.m. start time, re­port­edly be­cause of a traf­fic backup that en­snared Mitchell.)

“I was 26. You were 27,” Nash con­tin­ued, be­fore adding the only po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary of the con­cert. “And, quite frankly, af­ter the elec­tions last night, I’m glad to have ‘Our House’ back.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.