"I usually do not like live albums, however, this one is outstanding in a field of it's own! Originally released as a 2 record set on vinyl, my only complaint with the CD version, (that I bought to save my vinyl) is that the songs, the crowd patter and the flow of the original is somewhat lost as things were segued, cut or minimally edited to get the entire work on one CD. All but 3 songs were recorded during a 3 day engagement at the Universal Ampitheater in Los Angeles. Another song was recorded during a show earlier in the year at an L.A. Music Center performance. And finally, one was recorded at a show in Berkley Community Center. The production and engineering values used in recording the shows and mastering them later is evident throughout the entire work. It's an excellent job for a live recording (but, look at what were working with here!) While there are no songs missing, some of the spontaneous ebb and flow of the live experience is lost here from what can only be classified as "A LIVE WORK OF ART". If you have the vinyl you'll understand. If you don't or have never heard it completely through you will probably not know what is missing. If you're a purist like my self you're sitting around waiting for an anniversary edition or etc., that will have the complete and unscathed live masterpiece that I came to know and love on vinyl. Some very important notes about this particular CD is that her VERY BEST available recording of her song "A Case Of You" is included in this offering and it is worth the price just for that alone! I am also very partial to the version of "The Last Time I Saw Richard". She does an incredible job with each piece selected here from her catalog at the time. Each version of the songs presented here shed new light on her work in a very flattering fashion. Tom Scott and the L.A. Express backed her up on this tour. It was a stroke of GENIUS to combine Joni with them. They fit together like a hand in glove. She never ceases to amaze me."
Cheesy and caviar
James E. Anderson | Australia | 08/10/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"M. Allen Greenbaum's excellent review mostly says it all for me. Apart from the other criticisms, yes, Woodstock is absolutely murdered: that bass riff is not just dated and inappropriate to the song, it is boring in its own right.
However I think he was a little harsh in his criticism of Tom Scott's contributions - he plays some tasty sax, definitely not dated from my point of view. And I think Joni and the band sound good together on the first track.
My other disagreement with Mr Greenbaum and other reviewers is their seeming lack of regard for the last 2 songs which I happen to really like. Apart from the first track these are the only ones where Joni's singing styles and the band's feel and groove really fit together: reminiscent of the best Steely Dan - sophisticated pop that can serve as high class background music or rewarding listening music. Being completely different in feel from every other song on the CD, I suspect they were written with this particular band in mind, or at least more time and thought was given to the arrangements.
As a fan of Mitchell's stunningly artistic vocal decisions and delivery I would buy this cd just for her rendition of Both Sides Now, despite the last part of the song being wrecked by the incongruous funk-style bass and the cheesy ending. The 3 star rating is only in comparison with Joni's best ( such as Mingus, Hissing of Summer Lawns, Clouds, Shadows and Light)."
Just Put on the Second Half
Todd and In Charge | Miami, FL | 02/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the reviewers who find Tom Scott and the L.A. Express to be a detriment to Joni's sound -- compare this band to the superlative band she toured with on Shadows and Light (Metheny, Pastorius) and the deficiencies are obvious. But then I've had a grudge against Scott ever since he mucked up George Harrison's Extra Texture (Read All About It).
Turn out the lights and put on the second half -- Joni lights up the acoustic, sparsely-accompanied set with her incredible voice and spirit. I love her delicate, committed versions of "Circle Game" and "Both Sides Now," the beautiful "Real Good for Free," the aching version of "People's Party."
It's worth picking this up for the acoustic set. Also, the inside photos of Joni are precious -- we love you, thank you for your art."
Joni's classic songs are given jazz-inflected readings
Todd and In Charge | 02/07/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tom Scott and the L.A. Express helped Joni Mitchell put a more aggressive presentation into her music. This live album collects many of her early, best tracks in new interpretations. I am dazzled by her self-assurance at a relatively young age, penning classics such as "Woodstock," "Circle Game," and my all-time favorite Joni cut - "Both Sides, Now." The original "Big Yellow Taxi" was released almost as a novelty record; this interpretation presents a clearer message. Mr. Scott and pals are terrific, putting a jazz fusion sheen on thoughtful material. This album (edited) along with the self-titled "Tom Scott and the L.A. Express" make a great A-side/B-side match on a 90-minute cassette."
My favorite live album
R. Kyle | USA | 02/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Miles of Aisles" is one of those albums I got on vinyl intially and upgraded to tape, then to CD. The music is just that timeless. What was a two-disk vinyl showcases the gamut of Mitchell's early work. We go from thoughtful "Cactus Tree" to fun: "You Turn me on: I'm a Radio". The digital version of this CD is definitely an improved master from the vinyl--a lot less of the white noise you hear on live recordings. This is definitely a must for Joni Mitchell fans and even a good place to start a collection."