22nd August 2017
Paradise at St Augustines
In this show, the music of Joni Mitchell is brought to life, by Australian Deborah Brennan (vocals & keyboard) and her accompanists Liam Garcia-Hardman (guitar and vocals) and Chris Neil (percussion & vocals). Deborah, who was fittingly raised by hippies in Adelaide, first became a fan of Joni Mitchell as a young girl. She clearly has a deep respect for Joni’s music, and with a stunning voice as well, it was a beautiful set covering many of her most celebrated songs. Deborah has an excellent vocal range, which really lends itself to Joni’s technically difficult songs. She also emanates a similar emotional fragility in her singing which makes for a very intimate show.
She delves a little into Joni’s life relating it to her own experiences; Joni’s love of travelling with the song “Carey”, and her love of returning home to California in “California”. The song “Amelia” which Joni wrote while crossing the desert about the solo pilot. She also talked of Joni Mitchell’s many relationships, which were the focus of many of her songs. “A case of you” the title track, a song about infatuation. Deborah shared with the audience a little of her own personal life; her own relationship woes before singing the emotional “both sides now” where Joni sings about the high and lows of love. She also played the popular “Big yellow taxi… they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”, a timely song about environmental issues.
Joni Mitchell’s work and life could not possibly have been covered in this set of one hour, but it was a beautiful glimpse, and Deborah Brennan seemed to be the perfect person to deliver this. She was also superbly supported by Liam Garcia-Hardman and Chris Neil; the trio had an easy musical rapport. I hope that they are back next year! A must see show for Joni Mitchell fans.
Reviewer : Sophie Younger