Released in October 1982, Joni Mitchell’s 11th studio album, ‘Wild Things Run Free’ was, for some fans, a return to form. What this often meant in reality was that many such Mitchell enthusiasts had been somewhat perplexed by this remarkable composer and performer’s output since 1975, when she introduced jazz and classical influences into her work, and even when such tendencies were included on such towering albums as ‘Hissing of the Summer Lawns’ and ‘Hejira’, a certain quarter longed still for the days of Big Yellow Taxi, The Circle Game and Woodstock. Nothing wrong, of course, with such majestic and beautiful songs, but to dismiss such a challenging and forward thinking artist’s moves does appear to be a little stilted. But, when Joni hit the road in early 1983 on one of her longest and widest reaching tours – taking in Europe, Asia and Australia in addition to dates in North America – it seems she was out to please all her fans: the sticklers, the modernists and the-somewhere-in-betweens. In fact so diverse and eclectic were the set-lists on this remarkable tour, they not only took in cuts from her ‘classic years’ and her brace of mid-1970s challengers , she would often give numbers from her most reviled work (amongst the traditionalists), ‘Mingus’, a whirl. But she would always appease those disgruntled by a rendition of God Must Be a Boogie Man with a splendid A Case of You, a well placed Both Sides Now or an encore of Carey. This superb FM radio broadcast, transmitted live from Joni’s show at Tokyo’s famous Nippon Budokan, is a fine example of such a show, mixing as it does the old, the new, the borrowed and – while the title track from her 1971 meisterwork is inconveniently absent – cuts from ‘Hissing’, ‘Hejira’ and ‘Mingus’ are all in evidence. Hopefully, therefore, a fine time was had by all those in attendance. For anyone listening today, a fine time is hereby guaranteed.
1. Free Man In Paris
2. Edith And The Kingpin