Famed singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell marked a major milestone this week as she marked her 75th birthday, and she celebrated in style with a star-studded event to mark the occasion. Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, fans of the veteran singer-songwriter can celebrate Mitchell and her legacy in their own way with a recently released live recording. Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 is a memorable presentation that Mitchell’s most devoted audiences will appreciate. That is due in part to the recording’s set list. This will be discussed shortly. The documentary film that is woven into the concert adds just as much interest for audiences as the set list. It will be discussed a little bit later. The recording’s average price point rounds out is most important elements, and will also be discussed later. Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. All things considered, they make this recording a piece that will appeal largely to the most devout fans of Mitchell and her work.
Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 is an interesting presentation from Eagle Rock Entertainment and veteran singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. That is because the recording, released Sept. 14 via Eagle Rock Entertainment, presents a very interesting portrait of the then very young and still up-and-coming performer. At the time of her performance, Mitchell had only released four full-length studio recordings – Song to a Seagull (1968), Clouds (1969), Ladies of the Canyon (1970) and Blue (1971) – making her still a very young performer, despite her experience. Her 11-song set list featured in this performance lifts liberally from the latter trio of albums. Clouds gets four nods while Ladies of the Canyon and Blue each get three nods. ‘Hunter,’ which apparently was a b-side from Blue that never made the album’s final cut, is also included in here. Interestingly enough, her 1968 debut record Song to a Seagull is nowhere to be seen in this set list. Either way, audiences at the time still got a relatively well-balanced representation of her catalog at that point due to that clear focus that was put on the set list. What’s more, a whole new generation of audiences now get a glimpse into who Joni Mitchell was at that time thanks to this new recording. To that end, the set list proves itself to be a critical part of the recording’s whole. It is just one of the important pieces of the presentation’s whole. The documentary that is interwoven into the concert adds even more interest to the recording’s overall presentation.
The documentary that is coupled with Mitchell’s performance is important to note because it is really a dual story line of sorts. On one side, the story shows Mitchell growing both as a person and as an artist, as she is forced to face a crowd that was not expecting her so early; a crowd that was likely expecting a more lively act than her. Over the course of her rescheduled performance, audiences see the crowd slowly turn and accept her, almost making her an underdog figure of sorts. Mitchell’s interviews, originally recorded in 2003, add their own depth to this story, making her even more of an endearing figure.
The other story included in the documentary is that of the unrest throughout the festival. Audiences are introduced to a group of people within the audience that was protesting the festival and its managers. That is because they were not being allowed inside the venue. That led to some unexpected moments in which some of those protestors actually made their way on stage to make their protests heard loud and clear. Simply put, the protestors were people who were a little bit too enthusiastic about the festival. Interestingly enough, this ties back into Mitchell’s story because it was her performance and her music that seemed to help quell the problems with the protestors. That ability to calm the crowd – and win over the audience in the process – helped her overcome the nerves that she noted having in her 2003 interview segments. The result is a performance that audiences will agree improved with each song. Keeping all of this in mind, the combined performance and documentary presentation of Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 makes for a work that Mitchell’s most devoted audiences will appreciate just as much as those perhaps less familiar with her and her work. Staying on that note, the Blu-ray offers audiences the choice to watch the concert by itself and to watch it coupled with the doc. This critic’s own interpretation is to watch the two presentations as one. It makes for a much richer experience than watching the concert by itself. Having noted all of this, the content that makes up the whole of Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight gives audiences plenty to appreciate here. Even with that in mind, there is still one more item for audiences to appreciate. That item is the Blu-ray’s average price point.
Using prices listed at Amazon, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble, the set’s average price point comes to $18.79. Research on the set finds that it is not listed at the websites of Walmart, Target or at Books-A-Million. Considering the depth of the recording’s overall presentation and the pacing of the more than two-hour program (the exact run time is listed at two hours, 12 minutes), that average price of less than $20 is relatively affordable and money well-spent. When this is all considered together, it makes Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 another positive offering from Eagle Rock Entertainment, and one that any of Joni Mitchell’s fans will appreciate.
Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 is a good addition to the collections of Joni Mitchell’s most devoted fans. It is also a welcome watch for today’s younger audiences who might be getting their first taste of the veteran singer-songwriter. As noted above, that is due in part to the recording’s set list. It shows Mitchell at a point in which she was growing in popularity, but still young enough that she was showing her personal and artistic development. The documentary that is tied into the doc adds to that story while also presenting an equally interesting story about the festival itself. The Blu-ray’s average price point is relatively affordable. When it is considered along with the recording’s overall content, it proves the Blu-ray to be money well-spent, and a recording that, again, Mitchell’s most devoted audiences will appreciate as much as a whole new generation of audiences. Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 is available now. More information on this recording is available online along with all of Joni Mitchell’s latest news and more at:
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