16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Farewell to the glorious Seventies!,
This review is from: Shadows And Light [DVD]  (DVD)
It somehow seems appropriate that this line-up should close the decade which had seen both progressive rock and jazz-rock reach their zenith. That it should happen before and after sunset in the wonderful open-air Santa Barbara Bowl before an appreciative, casually dressed and noticeably long-haired audience evokes the decade gloriously. Joni Mitchell released the superb HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS, which ought to be in everyone's all-time Top 10, around 1975, and followed it with the highly rated HEJIRA. Each of these albums provide a couple of tracks for the concert.
At the heart of the concert band is the Metheny/Mays partnership and the tragic Weather Report bassist Jaco Pastorius. The mid-70s had seen no resolution to the question, 'Who is the world's best bass-player -- Pastorius or Return to Forever's Stanley Clarke?'. For this gig, Pastorius is at the top of his game -- and for once, he keeps his solo relatively brief. (I saw him twice with Weather Report -- at Oxford Poly and at the Hammersmith Odeon -- and on both occasions, his solo went on far too long and bored the audience silly.) Within a few years of this concert, he would leave Weather Report, and descend into drugs, gang-fights, the loss of an arm and an early death.
Showing more long-term promise (they're still going strong in 2005!) is the incredible duo of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. They had recently released the white PAT METHENY GROUP album and, judging by Pat's guitar solo, they were already working on themes for the AS FALLS WICHITA LP.
There are plenty of close-ups on the guitarists, but none on the pianist. The inclusion of clips from a James Dean movie, an ice-skating video, and an interlude with a coyote and a mouse, are a little distracting, and overall don't work. But that's a minor criticism. My biggest complaint is that one of the best tunes from the concert -- which is on the CD -- is not on the DVD, and that is her haunting version of 'Woodstock'.
Joni Mitchell is the most talented female singer-composer of the 60s and 70s, and this is, in my opinion, her best concert DVD. You ought to buy this upbeat DVD.