Roughly a year following the release of Joni Mitchell’s David Crosby-produced 1968 debut album Song to a Seagull the young artist gave her first major concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Among the sold-out crowd were her parents and partner, Graham Nash, along with fellow folk luminary Bob Dylan.
Though the acoustic guitar heroine's record company Reprise had planned to release a recording of the gig it would take over half a century to finally see the light of day.
Better late than never!
More than 50 years have passed since that fateful Saturday but Mitchell can still recall the events of the evening in fine detail.
“I flew my parents [Bill and Myrtle] in for the show,” she writes in the liner notes for Archives, Vol. 2: the Reprise Years. “We walked over to Carnegie Hall from the Plaza Hotel. Graham was wearing a floor-length maxi coat, black velvet, but with a pink-and-white chiffon tie-dye scarf. And I was wearing a green-and-white plaid coat. I’ve still got it. It looked like something from a Dickens play. My mother was embarrassed to be seen with us…
“My father came forward and said, ‘Oh, Myrt, she looks like a queen in those rags.’ I loved him for that. Thank God for Papa. He gave me back myself.”
In a performance that garnered rave reviews Mitchell opened her set with “Chelsea Morning,” a lyrically tactual song inspired by the surroundings of her Chelsea District apartment in Manhattan.
The opening number “Chelsea Morning” is available now to stream for free here.
Joni Mitchell’s Archives, Vol. 2: the Reprise Years (1968-1971) 10-LP and 5-CD sets and 3-LP Live at Carnegie Hall, 1969 vinyl sets are due for release on November 12.
Visit Joni Mitchell’s website for more information.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.