Breezing in as part of the Made In Adelaide initiative after a sold out run there, I had high expectations of this presentation. It’s quite a challenge to emulate the great Joni Mitchell with her huge career which spanned many years. The beautiful Space Symposium Hall also lends itself to great concerts with such quality and intimacy.
They play live without backing and this adds to the warm reception that results.
Deborah Brennan comes onstage with her guitarist and percussionist to a warm welcome and launches into a piano version of Joni’s Woodstock which is simplistic, naked and captures the Mitchell mood. In a 45 minute Fringe set it is impossible to give justice to Mitchell’s impressive songbook but the band does all they can to balance the favourites the fans expect with songs that best suit the situation with the instrumental limitations of the trio.
They play live without backing and this adds to the warm reception that results. Brennan is able to relate her stories to most songs and what introduced her to this music which clearly comes from another generation. The tender love song from the Blue album and show title A Case Of You is handled with ease and demonstrates the command of their instruments and the vocal range which is essential in a portrayal such as this. In fact the Blue album must have been a favourite with the band as we also enjoy California and Carey and more from that early period like Free Man In Paris and Chelsea Morning.
By now the band has warmed and the relaxation gives new confidence to the musicians helped by the reception from a busy auditorium. To close we enjoy the familiar Both Sides Now and, naturally, the massive hit Big Yellow Taxi. The show works in this unplugged format and I wonder how great this could be with an extended set and string section to handle some more of the big Joni Mitchell back catalogue.