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Painting With Words & Music [DVD] 
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Folk rocker Joni Mitchell performs a selection of songs spanning her long career, live at at the Warner's Lot in Los Angeles. Against a visual backdrop of her own paintings, Joni and her band perform such tracks as 'Tiger Bones', 'Big Yellow Taxi', 'Woodstock' and 'Hejira'.
After more than a decade of de facto exile from the mainstream, Joni Mitchell has regained much of her media profile, if not her commercial impact, thanks to deserved if belated accolades from critics and music business peers. Recent Grammy Awards and a special Billboard citation epitomise the ironies of Mitchell's 1980s obscurity: because she reached her highest profile with the broad success in 1974 of Court and Spark, which remains Mitchell's lushest, most accessible album, the Canadian musician and painter has found herself comparatively ignored in later years simply because her work ventured into more eclectic amalgams of her already diverse influences. Yet in her forays into world music, jazz and pop collage, Mitchell has remained a prescient and influential artist.
This 1998 concert special sheds welcome light on the work from that post-Spark quarter-century, its 22 songs dominated by the confessional works that have remained Mitchell's strong suit. Early favourites like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Just Like This Train" retain their charm, but it's Mitchell's more mature pieces such as "Amelia" (from Hejira) and "Sex Kills" (from Turbulent Indigo) that convey the depth and acuity of her work. A superb band--including Brian Blade, Mark Isham, Larry Klein, and Greg Leisz--provides a sinewy, sympathetic framework well suited to the palette of jazz, folk, and pop colours that Mitchell daubs on her songs. Adding further intimacy to the performance is a circular stage design, a small audience and a welcome lack of "big" production effects; instead, Mitchell indulges her second career as a painter through a pre-show stroll around a gallery of her visual works.
Mitchell's frail health in the late 1990s, as well as a lifetime of cigarettes, has taken a toll on her voice, which has lost much of its upper register. Yet there is also an added richness to her lower range befitting this sharp-eyed survivor's art. Old fans will also recognise the flurries of girlish laughter in between-songs patter, while savouring how Mitchell's powers as a writer and player (especially on a new, striking electric guitar) have matured as well. --Sam Sutherland, Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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the Joni story I wished to buy was injured in a diving accident and the video tells her life story and the wonderful way that she overcame her devastating injuries.....I was most disappointed
I ordered the Joni Mitchell DVD, and it duly arrived after 3/5 working days. It was in very good condition, very good value and he was absolutely delighted with it - THANK YOU AMAZON!!!!, you're amazing!!!!
bought it for me for Christmas. I'm a huge fan and have been so since
my early teens. Mme Mitchell's music has played a significant part in
the soundtrack to my life; 'Hejira' will ever be my all time favorite album.
This 1998 concert finds her in playful mood in front of a small (and very
lucky!) audience with a cracking four-piece band in tow (for whom especial
mentions must go to former hubby Larry Klein on mercurial bass guitar
and Brian Blade, impeccable as ever on percussion) surrounded by a
substantial collection of her paintings highlighting, perhaps echoing, the
lyrical and autobiographical content of the songs. It's a wondrous affair!
It's easy to forget, until one sees her play live, what an awesome guitarist
she is. Those extraordinary almost organic chord progressions which revolve
both within and around the timeless, ecstatic, unimpeachable melodies!
That voice too! It's still in damned fine shape here; a little lower in
timbre as is inevitable for a singer in the glowing late Autumn of her career
but with the ever-present capacity to draw us into her World and to find
ourselves reflected there ("I see something of myself in everyone...")
There is nothing at all not to love here but if I had to pick a few songs to
tell you about then the beautifully restrained performance of 'Night Ride
Home'(1991); the almost unbearably painful 'The Magdalene Laundries' (1994),
together with utterly sublime renditions of 'Amelia' and 'Hejira' (1976)
would have to be very close to the top of the list. An unforgettable evening!
You may already own it (if you love her) but for goodness sake buy it if you don't!
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