Joni 75: a Birthday Celebration

Joni 75: a Birthday Celebration


The trouble with tribute concerts is that performers never seem to know whether the best way to honour a fellow artist is by putting their own interpretation on a song or giving the audience what it wants to hear. At one point during the show to mark Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday at LA's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in November 2018, a video screen shows the Canadian singer/songwriter's famous rant at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival where she urged the crowd to "give us some respect". Unfortunately, too many of those on the bill take Mitchell at her word and produce reverential renditions of tracks from a disappointingly narrow strand of her pioneering career. Only Chaka Khan's funky Help Me, La Marisoul's breezy Dreamland and Seal's soulful Both Sides Now show any distinctive personality, although James Taylor, Diana Krall, Glen Hansard, Norah Jones and Rufus Wainwright all perform well. The stand-out numbers, however, are Emmylou Harris's quietly powerful take on The Magdalene Laundries, Brandi Carlile and Kris Kristofferson's charmingly halting duet on A Case of You, and Graham Nash's fond rendering of Our House, which he wrote when he and Mitchell were an item back in the early 1970s.


A tribute concert from 2018 in which musicians including Rufus Wainwright, Chaka Khan and James Taylor came together to celebrate Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday.