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Joni Mitchell - Refuge of the Roads (2004)

Joni Mitchell  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joni Mitchell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002S94OI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,118 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Tracks: Wild Things Run Fast, Raised on Robbery, Refuge of the Roads, Sweet Bird of Youth, Banquet, You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care), Solid Love, God Must Be a Boogie Man, For Free (AKA He Played), You Dream Flat Tires, Chinese Cafe, Underneath the Street Light, Woodstock
  • Tour photo gallery

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Nearly 15 years after its initial release on VHS, Joni Mitchell’s critically acclaimed Refuge Of The Roads concert film is available on DVD. This legendary 1983 show, filmed on a soundstage at the end of a successful tour, is highlighted by her version of "Woodstock" (a hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), "For Free" and "Raised On Robbery," as well as clips from intimate home movies shot during the tour.

Mitchell’s love affair with jazz/rock was in full swing during the tour, and she brought with her a great band: keyboardist Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets), guitarist Michael Landau, bassist (and husband) Larry Klein, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. The ensemble seamlessly wove elements of jazz, pop, rock and folk together, while Mitchell’s incomparable lyrics gracefully floated above it all.

Track Listing:
1. Wild Things Run Fast
2. Raised On Robbery
3. Refuge Of The Roads
4. Sweet Bird Of Youth
5. Banquet
6. You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care)
7. Solid Love
8. God Must Be A Boogie Man
9. For Free (aka He Played)
10. You Dream Flat Tires
11. Chinese Café
12. Underneath The Streetlight
13. Woodstock

It's probably sheer coincidence, but if Joni Mitchell's apparent retirement from the music business had anything to do with the spate of first class Mitchell DVDs released in 2003-04, including Refuge of the Roads, perhaps she, like Sinatra, should consider retiring more often. This one, while good, may find less favor with the faithful than the superb career documentary Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story or Shadows and Light, the film of her '79 concert tour with Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius. Filmed in 1983 on a soundstage (i.e., it's a concert, but there's no audience to speak of), Refuge of the Roads concentrates on Mitchell's Wild Things Run Fast album, hardly her most popular work; songs from her earlier days, like "Raised on Robbery," "For Free," and the inevitable "Woodstock," are likely the only ones that will be familiar to the casual Mitchell fan. But the repertoire is interesting for that very reason: the songs are more loosely structured, more impressionistic and less immediately accessible, and the band (including bassist Larry Klein, Mitchell's then-new husband, and guitarist Mike Landau) is surely the hardest rocking outfit she ever had. The 13-song, hour-long DVD intersperses the tunes with various film footage (from Luis Bunuel to "Koyaanisqatsi") and some entertaining, artistic home movies shot on Super-8 by Klein and Mitchell; Mitchell herself directed, with concert footage shot by the estimable Jordan Cronenweth. All in all, it's another worthy addition to the catalogue of a unique artist. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mitchell's best documented live performance September 22, 2004
"Refuge of the Roads" documents Mitchell's 1983 "Wild Things Run Fast" tour. In support of one of her weakest albums, it's her finest live show. All of the songs from "Wild Things" sound better here, and Mitchell has boldly reimagined some of her older songs--most notably "For Free." A precious-sounding track from "Ladies of the Canyon, " here "For Free" gets a newly-written bridge and a stunning performance. Other highlights are a muscular, rock take on "Banquet" from "For the Roses," and my favourite versions of "Woodstock" and "God Must Be a Boogieman." The video-verite clips filmed in airplanes, limos, hotel rooms, and empty venues are fun, too.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 2nd favourite Joni DVD. March 3, 2005
I can't for the life of me understand why most people brush off Joni's "Wild Things Run Fast" album as forgettable. I adore the record and I LOVE this film from the subsequent tour. Joni's voice is in better form here than on "Shadows & Light", I think, and I love how she rocks out with the boys. Speaking of, the band kicks some major ass on tracks like "Wild Things Run Fast", "Banquet", "You Dream Flat Tires" and just about any song that lets them expand the form a bit. The stage antics of the guys singing "God Must Be A Boogie Man" are a riot, as are those shorts! Every song here is wonderful so I'll just list off my favourite performances:

Refuge Of The Roads (it's just a brilliant song every time round)

Sweet Bird Of Youth (lovely performance, the opening footage and keyboard intro sets the tone perfectly)

For Free (my favourite performance of this tune)

Underneat The Streetlight (the footage behind this one is magical, exhilerating)

Woodstock (haunting as always)

Again, every tune on this DVD is phenomenal, the band is great, Joni is brilliant, and the extra footage is quite endearing to watch.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I found myself a place to hide . . . October 11, 2004
An engrossing if a bit uneven snapshot of Joni Mitchell early in her post-popstar phase. The sound isn't the best, and many of the visuals have a home movie ambience -- probably because that's what they are -- but the artistry is wonderful. Joni's rendition of "Banquet" is intercut with some remarkably apt clips from an old and unidentified (at least to me) film. And her reworking of "For Free" is out of this world and alone is reason enough to buy this DVD. Joni has always seemed much more accessible in live performances than on her beautifully-executed but carefully crafted and controlled albums. Her accessibility and artistry come through loud and clear on this DVD.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Imagine Joni Mitchell backed up by Toto... May 30, 2005
...And you get a good idea of the 80's sounding band on this DVD. All the "rockers" have that ham-fisted, 80's show-off session man sound. (The guitarist being the most guilty of Journey/Styx/Starship crimes against humanity.)

I recommend renting, not buying, this DVD for the bliss and inspiration of Sweet Bird of Youth, Refuge of the Roads, For Free and the overlooked Chnese Cafe (best song from the Wild Things album). Sorry, but the home movies grate after a while, and the interspersing of early clips of Joni serve no real purpose.

Someday, someone will compile the best live stuff from this, Shadows and Light, Isle of Wight, 1998 Soundstage, 1960's TV shows and unreleased early 70's performances, and that will be a gem worth any price they charge.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not So Much November 29, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in the actual content of the video because I am such a huge Joni Mtchell fan and, from my perspective, this is not her best work or her best period. I blame it on the rock 'n roll culture of the 'Eighties and her marriage to Larry Klein, who I am sure is a great guy but needed his "band time" too much and didn't let her shine to the full extent of her powers. Maybe it was her choice too. Anyhow, the quality of the CD technically was fine, I just didn't prefer the era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joni Mitchell DVD September 9, 2013
By Finbarr
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have all Joni Mitchell's music, but it was good to watch a performance, too. She possesses that graceful style but can turn out a rock 'n roll number with the same finesse.
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