Enjoy the Journey with This Flight Tonight

As unCanadian as it may seem, I have to admit to not knowing a lot about Joni Mitchell and quite frankly felt that I wasn’t missing out on much. I was wrong, so completely wrong. Maybe I just needed the benefit of a few grey hairs and wrinkles, but after going to see This Flight Tonight, Songs of Joni Mitchell at the Gladstone, I am a convert. It was Emma Thompson’s character in the movie Love Actually who said Joni Mitchell taught her how to feel and I didn’t know what she meant until last night. Mitchell’s music is breathtaking, meaningful and moving.

To celebrate Joni Mitchell’s 75th birthday next month, Bear and Co. have put together a show of her music. Pierre Brault, Rachel Eugster, Robin Guy and Scott Richardson have reunited after a successful run of Leonard Cohen’s music a year or so ago to bring you Joni Mitchell’s work.

Everyone knows Both Sides Now and Big Yellow Taxi, but the list of incredible songs you will hear includes Lesson in Survival, Coyote, A Case of You, Raised on Robbery, Come in From the Cold, Urge for Going, Chelsea Morning and Help Me, just to name a few. Mitchell’s lyrics are beautiful and take you on a journey and depending where you are in life, you might even be moved to shed a tear or two.

As for the singing and musicians, Scott Richardson is always brilliantly impressive on piano and guitar. Pierre Brault, who is a theatre superstar, has greatly developed musically since the Leonard Cohen show.  He just lights up a stage and delights when he interacts spontaneously with the audience.

Rachel Eugster and Robin Guy both had great singing moments as well.

One of the things I found slightly distracting was choreography. The performances were far more effective and captivating when they focused solely on singing and playing. When they did, the incredible music they created with their voices and instruments worked its magic.

The ensemble experimented with different sounds and instruments which is always an interesting addition and you can expect a surprise choir to pop up from time to time.  Bear and Co did that in the Leonard Cohen show as well which showcases local choirs you may not have known existed.

Joni Mitchell fans will love the show (and there were clearly fans in the audience based on many who chimed in) and if you are looking for an introduction to her music, look no further. It runs until the 27th