Sunday, December 22, 2019

Joni Mitchell - Somewhere in America, 2-1968

Here's a rather strange bootleg in that it has fantastic sound quality, and yet nobody seems to when or where it was recorded. I'll explain below, but if you like early Joni Mitchell music, you should definitely check this out.

This bootleg has been floating around for years as being recorded "in Germany" in 1968 or 1969. The problem with that is that Mitchell never played in Germany in those years. In fact, she didn't play in Europe at all in that time, except for a few shows in London, Britain, in late 1968.

So where did the concert take place? There's one clue in her talking between songs. At one point, she made a passing reference to someone she knew in "my capital." Since Mitchell is Canadian, I take that to be a reference to the Canadian capital of Ottawa. More importantly, if she was in Canada when she said that, I think it's likely she would have said "our capital" or "the capital." The fact she didn't suggests she was in another country, and the only other country she was performing in at the time was the US. Thus, I've given this bootleg the title "Somewhere in America," because that's all we can reasonably surmise, that it takes place somewhere in the US.

As for the timing, I'm using February 1968 because that's what the website says. And if anyone should know, it's the people running that website, because they have an extremely thorough chronology of practically every concert she ever did. (They also agree the concert did not take place in Germany.) I don't know how they arrived at that month, but probably one can make an educated guess from the song list.

Re: the content, it's a rather short show, totaling 37 minutes. That was typical of her at the time, when she'd usually play sets of about 30 minutes each. I guess she'd often do more than one set a night, but this is all we have.

Since the sound quality is so excellent, I didn't have to do any tinkering, except I broke the talking between songs into separate tracks.

This is the last of five bootleg concerts from the very early part of Mitchell's career (1967 and 1968). I recommend listening to them all, because they all sound great, they all have different set lists with rare and unreleased songs, and they all have lots of interesting between song banter.

01 Marcie (Joni Mitchell)
02 Nathan La Freneer (Joni Mitchell)
03 talk (Joni Mitchell)
04 Dr. Junk [The Dentist Man] (Joni Mitchell)
05 Roses Blue (Joni Mitchell)
06 talk (Joni Mitchell)
07 The Circle Game - Little Green (Joni Mitchell)
08 talk (Joni Mitchell)
09 I Don't Know Where I Stand (Joni Mitchell)
10 Go Tell the Drummer Man (Joni Mitchell)
11 talk (Joni Mitchell)
12 Michael from Mountains (Joni Mitchell)

For the cover art, I found a color photo of Mitchell in concert in 1968. But it's much later in 1968. It comes from the Big Sur Folk Festival in September. (Note that that's a different festival than the one documented in the film "Celebration at Big Sur," which also featured Mitchell but took place a year later.)


  1. Just when I thought the Joni flood was over...up pops another great show.Many thanks my friend.

    1. Thanks for all the feedback. Unfortunately, the flood is pretty much over now, in terms of her early stuff. I don't have any great concert from 1969. And I've already posted the best one from 1970, which is with James Taylor. But I do have a bunch of TV performances from her early years I'll be posting soon.

  2. In the intro to Dr. Junk she talks about getting a Martin guitar from a soldier; later on she declared this to be the best guitar she ever owned - it was in an explosion, and she wondered if the blast affected the wood somehow! Joni Mitchell Library - Joni Mitchell's Guitars and Tunings: Unique Guitar Blog, January 29, 2013