By Harvey Kubernik c 2018
On September 14, 2018, Eagle Vision released Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970.
In 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival was one of the largest musical events of its time. Bigger than Woodstock and controversial from the get-go, hundreds of thousands of people descended on the island. Many of those without tickets set up camp on a hill overlooking the festival site, opposing the consumerism of the event and intent on “taking the music back” by any means necessary. It was a celebration of hippy counter culture gone awry, and in Joni’s words “they fed me to the beast.”
Singer/songwriter female troubadour Joni Mitchell took to the stage to deliver an outstanding performance against all odds. At times, it was a battle against the audience, as they tore down barriers and shouted obscenities. Her set was interrupted multiple times, including one man invading the stage trying to address the crowd.
She later commented, “It seemed like an appropriate time to flee…”, but still the seemingly fragile folk-rock singer stood her ground. Instead she returned to her piano, sitting on a fold-up wooden chair, and made an impassioned plea for respect from the audience, continuing her set with “My Old Man,” she won over the crowd and the atmosphere softened. In response the front page of Melody Maker hailed her with the front page headline, “Joni triumphs!” Continue reading
By Harvey Kubernik © 2017
Joni Mitchell Live Scheduled for 2018 release is a Murray Lerner documentary about Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Murray Lerner passed away on September 2nd in New York City at age 90.
Born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania on May 8, 1927, raised in New York City, and a graduate of Harvard University English major in 1948, Lerner’s award-winning and trend-setting musical documentaries include examinations of Isaac Stern, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, the Newport Folk Festival, the Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Jethro Tull, the Who and Leonard Cohen.
Scheduled for 2018 release is a Lerner’s documentary about Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.
Also allegedly readied for February 2018 is Lerner’s complete one-hour film of the Doors’ set at the 1970 Isle of Wight.
On September 12th, Criterion will release a director-approved special edition of Festival! It’s a new reconstruction and remastering of the monaural soundtrack utilizing the original concert and field recordings and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray DVD.
The disc will also feature When We Played Newport, a new program incorporating archival interviews with Lerner, music festival producer George Wein, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, and Peter Yarrow. In addition, there’s also a new feature Editing Festival, with Lerner, associate editor Alan Heim, and assistant editor Gordon Quinn.
There’s also a selection of complete outtake performances, including Clarence Ashley, Horton Barker, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker, and Odetta. Package booklet text has an essay by critic Amanda Petrusich and artist bios by folk music expert Mary Katherine Aldin.
Over the years I interviewed Lerner a few times. Continue reading