As tribute shows go, this was up there with the best…Rainee Lyleson, as promised, came on stage in a hippie kaftan outfit as the young Joni and enthralled the enthusiastic audience gathered in one of inner Sydney’s most popular music venues. Not only did she look like Joni but she also sounded like her.
Rainee gave the dulcimer a good workout and also a number of different folk guitars. She delivered soulful, gusty, edgy renditions of some of her early classics….’A Case of You’… ‘Both Sides Now’…’Little Green’..’Blonde in the Bleachers’. There were neat backgrounds to the songs and albums, how famously during the making of her album BLUE, Joni’s nerves were totally on edge…she was a siphon for everything.
After a longish sort of break, Rainee returned to the stage in a classy black evening wear and with a great band- pianist, bass and lead guitar. The focus shifted from the folksy to the jazzy, bluesy Joni circa the period when she released another classic album, ‘Heijra’. Rainee again delivered the goods- a lilting delivery of one of my favourite Mitchell songs, the melting, sultry ‘Blue Motel Room’ and a soulful rendition of the elegiac ‘Amelia’ after the legendary aviator Amelia Eckhart.
Rainee didn’t let the Joni fans down- we also got soulful renditions of ‘Woodstock’ and a breezy ‘You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio’.
Joni only toured Australia once. I saw her three times during her tour. Twice at the Capitol. Once at the Opera House…The memories came flooding back.
Rainee Lyleson has turned channeling Joni Mitchell into a memorable concert experience. TAKE ME AS I AM: An Evening with Joni Mitchell, for one night only at Venue 505, 280 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills on Thursday October 3. She is hoping to soon take her show down to Melbourne.