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Canada’s Joni Mitchell Returns to the Stage After 20 Years

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Canada's Joni Mitchell Returns to the Stage After 20 Years

Joni Mitchell, the legendary singer, gave her first full headlining act in 23 years at the Echoes Through the Canyon festival. Mitchell announced a unique headline performance at Carlile’s festival, which took place yesterday at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State.

The Seattle Times reports, Joni Mitchell performed a 24-song career-spanning concert with Carlile and an ensemble of backup musicians that included Marcus Mumford, as well as some covers.

The 26,000 or so spectators who jammed the Gorge Amphitheatre on Saturday felt a jittery atmosphere. For years, thousands of Joni Mitchell fans believed they would never be able to witness one of the greatest living composers perform live again.

Fans who made the journey to the legendary Washington venue were minutes away from seeing music history, two decades after Mitchell stopped from performing and eight years distant from her life-threatening brain aneurysm.

At the opening notes of “Big Yellow Taxi,” one of Mitchell’s oft-reinterpreted hits, Mitchell and the 20 or so all-star musician buddies who acted as her backing band transformed the peppy melody into a big ol’ family singalong.

The audience could hardly contain their joy, briefly hushed when Mitchell’s anchor vocals were unaccompanied, only to erupt again when the rest of the chorus joined her.

As stunned spectators stood for an extended standing ovation following the opening song, the 79-year-old’s pleased chuckle seemed to make them cheer even louder. Following a surprise set with Brandi Carlile and pals at the Newport Folk Festival last year as Joni Mitchell & the Joni Jam.

Joni mitchell

Fans came from all over the world

Fans travelled from as far away as Australia and England, San Francisco, and Saskatoon (Mitchell’s hometown in Saskatchewan) to witness Mitchell’s first true, ticketed headlining show in years.

The Newport set and last night’s show, the highlight of Carlile’s Echoes Through the Canyon weekend, were extensions of private jam sessions Mitchell has held at her house for the past four years while recovering from a 2015 aneurysm that left her unable to speak, let alone sing and play guitar. The monthly jams, which Carlile eventually assisted in organising, prepared the way for Mitchell’s public return to music, as she relearned to sing and play guitar.

Saturday night was less of a regular concert and more of an opportunity to collectively celebrate a generational artist’s wide-ranging canon and bathe in Mitchell’s light for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Carlile phrased it better, or at least more poetically, in her opening remarks on stage, comparing the intimate Joni Jam experience to peeking into a tiny hut inside a snow globe.

The stage was decorated in the style of a living room, complete with couches, lights, end tables, and even framed pet photos. Mitchell sat front and centre with Carlile in plush easy chairs, wearing sunglasses and a pink floral-print blouse, bantering like old friends sipping pinot grigio when not singing into matching golden microphones. “When you come to Washington, you drink out of a Yeti,” Carlile exclaimed as she filled a glass for a friend. (Mitchell afterwards made fun of Carlile for drinking directly from the bottle.)

Joni Mitchell

Old rock ‘n’ roll adventures

The Joni Jam felt like a campfire hootenanny coupled with a music nerd’s fantasy storyteller session. Carlile acted as interviewer/fan-girl-in-chief between songs, getting Mitchell to talk about old rock ‘n’ roll adventures — knee-slapping quests for wolf-howl recordings, spacing lyrics with Bob Dylan, with whom she played the Gorge in ’98 — and the inspiration behind some of Mitchell’s most revered songs.

Mitchell vigorously tapped her cane on the massive stage to “Raised on Robbery” – a song about a prostitute in a Saskatoon hotel, she’d explain later. Mitchell’s sassy vocals matched one of the night’s revelling rockers, before cooling off with “Come in From the Cold” and the hazy gentle rocker “Amelia.” Mitchell’s lone voice seemed louder on the latter, as though the first few gang-vocal tunes cleared a runway for the honoree to take off, just as the sun sank into an amber glow hanging over the canyon behind her.

Mitchell’s all-star supporting cast — which included the Hanseroth twins, Marcus Mumford on percussion, and Annie Lennox and Sarah McLachlan as backup singers in an embarrassment of vocal riches — formed a half circle around Mitchell and Carlile, with each member getting their chance to shine and heap praise on the woman of the hour.

When Mitchell wasn’t leading a song, the Joni Jammers took turns leading songs, singing with and for the revered music legend — a frightening notion, according to Carlile, who opened with a stripped-down acoustic set. Celisse Henderson, a frequent Carlile collaborator who Mitchell likened to a female Jimi Hendrix (but a far better voice), was extensively featured throughout the night.

Mitchell’s voice has undoubtedly changed

Her moving guitar solo complemented Mitchell’s bluesy “Summertime,” which transported the audience to a smokey speakeasy. The low-lit number was the first song Mitchell sang in their private jam sessions, so the Gorge performance was somewhat of a full-circle moment.

Sarah McLachlan’s honest, stunning performance in “Blue” was another guest-led highlight. Carlile, a late-blooming Mitchell fan who grew up hearing McLachlan and Lilith Fair at the Gorge, was definitely in a good mood, lying back in her cushy chair, eyes closed and mouthing along with every syllable, pausing only to pull from her wine bottle.

Mitchell’s voice has undoubtedly changed since she recorded her most acclaimed work in the 1970s, but she sang with soul, vigour, and tenacity throughout the marathon performance.

She also had an instrumental solo moment, playing lead guitar on “Just Like This Train” (like she did in Newport) and “If” during the encore.

The only time it was clear her previous tour was 20 years ago was when she asked what all the lights in the audience were during a gospel-infused “Shine,” which saw Carlile let loose vocally after spending much of the concert as a supporting voice alongside Mitchell’s. “That was quite a spectacle, all the little lights from your cellphones,” she laughed.

Joni Mitchell & the Joni Jam set list:

1. “Big Yellow Taxi”
2. “Night Ride Home”
3. “Raised on Robbery”
4. “Come In From the Cold”
5. “Amelia”
6. “Carey”
7. “Sex Kills”
8. “Summertime” (George Gershwin cover)
9. “Ladies of the Canyon” (Annie Lennox)
10. “Help Me” (Celisse Henderson)
11. “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way” (Rick Whitfield original)
12. “Love Potion No. 9” (The Clovers cover)
13. “A Case of You”
14. “A Strange Boy” (Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman)
15. “Cactus Tree” (Lucius)
16. “California” (Marcus Mumford)
17. “Blue” (Sarah McLachlan)
18. “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers cover)
19. “Shine”
20. “Both Sides Now”
21. “Circle Game”

Encore:
22. “Just Like This Train”
23. “If”
24. “Young at Heart” (Frank Sinatra cover)

About Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer-songwriter and visual artist who is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. She was born on November 7, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada, as Roberta Joan Anderson. Mitchell’s music spans multiple genres, including folk, pop, jazz, and rock.

Mitchell’s career began in the 1960s folk music scene, where she gained recognition for her distinctive soprano voice and her skillful guitar playing. She released her debut album, “Song to a Seagull,” in 1968, followed by the critically acclaimed “Clouds” in 1969. Her third album, “Ladies of the Canyon” (1970), brought her mainstream success with songs like “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock.”

Throughout her career, Joni Mitchell released several influential and highly regarded albums, including “Blue” (1971), “Court and Spark” (1974), and “Hejira” (1976). Her music often showcased introspective and personal lyrics, exploring themes of love, relationships, and the human condition. Mitchell’s poetic songwriting style and unique melodies set her apart from her peers and made her an icon of the singer-songwriter movement.

Aside from her musical achievements, Joni Mitchell is also known for her visual art. She began painting in the late 1960s and has created numerous works of art throughout her life. Her art often reflects her personal experiences and complements her music.

Over the years, Joni Mitchell’s work has earned her numerous accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards and inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Her impact on popular music and songwriting continues to resonate with artists and fans alike.

Please note that the information provided here represents a general overview of Joni Mitchell’s career up until September 2021, and there may have been additional developments since then.

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2024: MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

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MLB

Major League Baseball players have encountered an unexpected issue ahead of the new season: a defective outfit.

Players and spectators have previously expressed issues about the new jerseys worn this season, and on Thursday, as spring training games began, MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) executive director Tony Clark expressed concern over the pants.

“A lot of the rhetoric is confirmation that the trousers are see-through,” Clark stated, according to ESPN. “It’s been a continuing conversation, with each day bringing something new that appears to make less sense than you’d like.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

“Universal concern,” Clark remarked, “is the pant.”

The jerseys for the new uniforms, designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics, have already received criticism from fans for seeming cheap, lightweight, and having an unappealing appearance. Meanwhile, a Baltimore Orioles player described the new jerseys as “a knockoff” from TJ Maxx.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve landed in a place where the uniforms are the topic of discussion,” Clark said.

According to a news release, Nike collaborated with over 300 athletes to create a more breathable, lightweight, and stretchy jersey.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

The corporation has yet to react to CNN’s prior request for comment on criticism of the uniforms, and Fanatics has declined to comment.

Players wore them during last season’s All-Star Game, and Nike and MLB reported that they were favourably received.

“They’re designed to be performance wear rather than what’s traditionally worn, so they’ll be different,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said of the uniforms.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

“I think after people wear them a little bit, they’re going to be really popular.”

This year’s Opening Day is set for March 28, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play two regular-season games in Seoul on March 20 and 21, marking the first MLB games in South Korea.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

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Nike will lay off approximately 2% of its employees, or almost 1,700 people, as the sportswear titan seeks to save up to $2 billion in expenditures.

“The actions we’re taking put us in a position to right-size our organisation to pursue our most promising growth opportunities,” a Nike (NKE) representative said in a statement Friday. “While these changes will impact approximately 2% of our total workforce, we are grateful for the contributions made by all Nike teammates.”

According to its most recent annual report, the corporation employs around 83,700 individuals globally as of May 31, 2023.

nike

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

Nike lowered its revenue projection and announced cost cuts in December, citing rising fears that consumers worldwide are cutting back on spending. The corporation aimed to save up to $2 billion over the following three years.

Customers are shifting their spending habits, preceding discretionary purchases of things such as pricey trainers and athletic apparel in favour of necessities and experiences like concerts and travel.

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

Nike also faces stiff competition from emerging companies like Hoka and On Cloud.

When presenting the company’s latest financial results in December, Nike finance boss Matt Friend said its gloomier forecast reflected “indications of more cautious consumer behaviour around the world” and “increased macro headwinds in China and Europe.”

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is confronting significant hurdles, including dissatisfied customers, a real estate collapse, and decreased exports.

Meanwhile, according to official statistics released Wednesday, Europe narrowly averted a recession in the final three months of 2023, with its economy flatlining. Germany, the region’s largest economy, contracted last year for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

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birkenstock

Birkenstock, a popular footwear manufacturer, startled investors with a cautious view in the New Year despite its pricey-yet-folksy sandals being popular among buyers of all ages.

The German shoemaker, which went public in October, released its first quarterly results after the IPO on Thursday. Despite good sales, the business issued a cautious view for 2024, predicting a “modest headwind to impact margins.”

Birkenstock shares fell about 8.5% on Thursday following the news.

birkenstock

Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

The company forecasts adjusted earnings for the year to be roughly 30% lower due to “planned ramp up costs” compared to 32% in 2023.

It also expects sales to increase by 17% to 18% in 2024, compared to the previous year, as the company expands into new areas and invests in more retail outlets and delivery systems.

The company stated that a 6% increase in unit sales and a 14% increase in average selling price would result in a 20% increase in revenues for 2023 compared to the previous year.

“Their sales did exceptionally well in the quarter. The full-year sales guidance for the coming year was also higher than expected. In an interview with CNN, Abigail Gilmartin, a retail equities research analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, stated that their margin statement was the primary cause of the stock’s decline.

“They have extremely great profitability, which was a major issue during and after their IPO. This year, margins declined primarily due to inflation, and they advised a little more conservatively.

birkenstock

Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

Because of the brand’s consistent demand, she claimed the company did not have to resort to significant discounting throughout the holiday season. Gilmartin stated that this year’s distribution centre investments represent a “near-term headwind” required for future growth.

“We expect margins to reaccelerate as additional capacity comes online,” she said. “Overall, the brand is healthy, with significant sales growth in the fourth quarter and promising first-quarter trends thus far. The company produces extremely high-quality items. Once you put on a Birkenstock, you realize how pleasant the footbed is.”

Birkenstock sandals, which range in price from about $50 for a low-cost waterproof foam version to well over $200 for its iconic premium leather styles, are popular among both older comfort-seeking consumers and younger TikTok-inspired shoppers, according to Beth Goldstein, a footwear analyst with market research firm Circana.

“It is a premium product, but compared to other luxury items, Birkenstocks are fairly accessible,” she said.

birkenstock

Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

Birkenstocks, she said, experienced a rebirth about ten years ago, owing to collaborations with high-fashion labels and new additions such as fur-lined versions. Then the pandemic struck.

“The ease of these sandals matched with the informal comfort dressing trend, which was already in place prior to the pandemic and accelerated during it. Birkenstock was at the vanguard of it,” Goldstein explained. And it could remain there for the time being.

“There is no evidence that consumers are gravitating toward dressier styles. “Consumers still value casual comfort,” she said.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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