Joni Mitchell’s 1969 Carnegie Hall Debut Receives First-Ever Commercial Release

Plus, watch her performance of "Chelsea Morning"

joni mitchell carnegie hall 1969 debut
Joni Mitchell on stage at Carnegie Hall, photo by `

    A recording of Joni Mitchell’s 1969 debut performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall is receiving its first-ever commercial release on November 12th. It will be available as a standalone LP and as part of the upcoming box set, Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971), due out the same day.

    At 25 years old, the folk legend took the stage at the iconic venue on February 1st, 1969, one year after the release of her debut album, Song to a Seagull. Taking in the acclaimed performance was a sold-out crowd including luminaries such as Graham Nash, who was Mitchell’s partner at the time, and Bob Dylan.

    To open the show, Mitchell played “Chelsea Morning,” a song about her apartment on West 16th Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea District. The singer-songwriter also performed the Song to a Seagull cut “I Had a King” and several tracks destined for future albums like Clouds (“That Song About the Midway”), Ladies of the Canyon (“Blue Boy”), and Blue (“Little Green”).


    In addition to being included as part of the aforementioned box set, the performance will be released separately on 3xLP. An exclusive 180-gram, white vinyl version limited to 3,000 copies is solely available on Mitchell’s official website. The sixth side features an etching of the American eagle that adorned her skirt at the Carnegie show.

    The vinyl liner notes include a backstage story Mitchell shared with Cameron Crowe:

    “I flew my parents [Bill and Myrtle] in for the show. We walked over to Carnegie Hall from the Plaza Hotel. Graham was wearing a floor-length maxi coat, black velvet, but with a pink-and-white chiffon tie-dye scarf. And I was wearing a green-and-white plaid coat. I’ve still got it. It looked like something from a Dickens play. My mother was embarrassed to be seen with us!”

    Nash added, “Joni had bought a long vintage skirt that was made for a parade. On the front, in colorful sequins, was a large American eagle, and on the back was… a large artichoke. At some point earlier in the evening Myrtle said, ‘Oh, Joan. Is that what you’re going to wear at Carnegie Hall? They look like rags.'”


    To finish the story, Mitchell said, “My father came forward and said, ‘Oh, Myrt, she looks like a queen in those rags.’ I loved him for that. Thank God for Papa. He gave me back myself.”

    Watch a video of the “Chelsea Morning” performance below. Earlier this year, Mitchell released a massive reissue of her classic album Blue, called Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes).


    Live at Carnegie Hall, New York City, NY (February 1, 1969) Artwork:

    joni mitchell carnegie hall debut white vinyl artwork

    Live at Carnegie Hall, New York City, NY (February 1, 1969) Tracklist:
    First Set
    Side One
    01. Chelsea Morning
    02. A Valentine for Joni
    03. Cactus Tree
    04. Night in the City
    05. I Had a King
    Side Two
    01. Blue Boy
    02. My American Skirt
    03. The Fiddle and the Drum
    04. Spoony’s Wonderful Adventure
    05. That Song About the Midway
    06. Both Sides Now
    Second Set
    Side Three
    01. Marcie
    02. Nathan La Franeer
    03. Intro to The Gallery
    04. The Gallery
    05. Hunter
    06. Morning Morgantown
    Side Four
    01. Intro to Get Together
    02. Get Together
    03. Intro to The Circle Game/Little Green
    04. The Circle Game/Little Green
    Side Four
    01. Michael From Mountains
    02. Intro to Urge for Going
    03. Urge for Going

Personalized Stories