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Refuge of the Roads (1984)

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1984 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Joni Rocks!
6 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Perhaps I should admit right up front that I am hardly the most objective critic when it comes to Joni Mitchell. Yes, I happen to be one of those fans who thinks that she is not only the world's foremost artist, but also the epitome of the modern-day Renaissance woman AND the greatest Canadian who's ever lived, all in one yummy package. Anyway, you know where I'M coming from. But speaking as impartially as I am able, I still have to say that this "Refuge of the Roads" set is just dynamite. Featuring Joni's rockingest band of all time, this soundstage performance, filmed at the tail end of Joni's "Wild Things Run Fast" tour, really does cook. Every single one of the 13 tunes presented features some interesting change, improvisation or jam that sets it apart from the studio versions that fans have come to know and love. "Banquet," for example, is here a heavy rocker; "For Free" (Joni alone on piano) features added lyrics; the delicate and lovely "Sweet Bird" has been pumped up and adrenalinized; and "Wild Things Run Fast" just explodes here with a startlingly heavy finale. These tunes are interspersed with Joni-shot videos that are, for the most part, very artfully integrated with the music (although sometimes I found myself wishing that there were still more shots of Joni and the band and less of the artsy fluff). This DVD is every bit as essential for Joni fans as her two previous live DVDs, "Shadows and Light" and "Painting With Words and Music." The three show Joni at different stages of her remarkable career, and demonstrate what a supreme talent she has brought to many musical genres. For all fans of the Big Mitch, I would have to say that this DVD is required viewing.


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