(Mitchell has not performed publicly or recorded since a series of health setbacks.) Secular-gospel ballad called “Shine,” the title song from her last 2007 studio album. After performing the ten “Blue” songs back to back — four of which got extended standing ovations — Carlile brought the Lucius members back to sing harmonies on one additional song of Mitchell’s, a sort of hopefully dystopian.
“Have you noticed it takes about 13 people on this stage tonight to do Joni’s one job?” she asked. “But he spent hours recording tapes of himself playing the guitar parts and sending them to me, so that I could learn that I cannot play those parts.” Carlile brought in a healthy complement of players, including her usual right- and left-hand men, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, plus a pair of women who only play identical twins on stage, singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius… not to mention a string ensemble that included “original O.G.” Scarlet Rivera, and drummer Russ Kunkel, who happened to perform those same duties on three songs on the original album. Originally, she confessed, the plan had been to do at least a bit more self-accompaniment. “I can’t play guitar and (do) this shit and still sing it,” she admitted — even though that’s exactly what she did in a couple of instances, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, sans band, on “Little Green” and on piano on “River.” But she seemed pleased to be doing a lot more strolling than she would in a Brandi Carlile set as she wandered into the treetops of Mitchell’s highest trills. James Taylor played guitar on three songs on the 1968 album, and “James was so excited about this show and so sad he couldn’t be here,” she said.
The concert, given its own title (perhaps in a nod to the classical programs that usually fill the hall), “Songs Are Like Tattoos,” was a a one-off, with no cameras or mobile trucks hand to capture the event for posterity. This was, by any standard, an event: a confessional singer/songwriter classic that by acclimation is one of the landmark albums of the last century, brought to life by the best pure singer we've had in this one. “Party of One” isn’t just the name of the one original song that Carlile performed Monday; that phrase might also describe Carlile’s real intended audience for the tribute, sitting in the fourth row. (Smartphones, either; attendees’ devices were locked into Yonder pouches in their pockets.) There was a lot of talk from the stage about the need to evangelize Mitchell’s body of work to the world, but Carlile doesn’t intend to do that by further disseminating this particular show.
In putting together the montage, Carlile saved the best, or at least oddest, for last: Marilyn Manson, seem glaring at the camera while reciting in voiceover, as if telepathically, the lyrics for “Blue,” including the line “Everybody’s saying that hell’s the hippest way to go.” Manson's tongue-in-cheek nod to Mitchell's irreverent mention of hellfire was the last sub-heavenly moment of the night.” />
The singer got a laugh by asking how many in the crowd had seen a somewhat incriminating headline on a Los Angeles Times interview with her previewing the show. (But) you know what, it’s honestly true. T Bone Burnett played ‘Blue’ for me in about 2005, and I was a young girl, and I wanted to spit and swear and cuss. It changed the way I view women, and what tough means. She doesn’t sound tough.’” A suitably aghast Shepherd, after momentarily being at a loss for words, asked her new flame if she knew what “Little Green” was about, and put it on again for Carlile —  “and it changed my life. So, when I delved into “Blue,” I made up for lost time. But didn’t understand how much toughness there was in femininity.” Later, after meeting her wife-to-be, Catherine Shepherd, she failed the “Blue” test again, but this time with different results. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t love Joni Mitchell.’ And Catherine’s like, why the hell not? I said, ‘Because I don’t like the lyric “I want to renew you, I want to shampoo you.” It bothers me; it’s really heterosexual. As you can see, I’m an obsessive person,” she said, resplendent in an all-blue suit. “I was mortified that the headline said (something) like ‘Non-believer learns to love Joni Mitchell.’ What the hell? It didn’t just change the way I view music. And I still do all that.
Elton, as it turned out, had a term for anyone dotty enough to assign herself “Blue” as public homework. And he said, ‘You’re a crazy bitch. You need to get those Teleprompters.’” Carlile paused, taking in the enormity of all that chewing: “This has been a time of tremendous growth for me,” Carlile said, taking her tongue out of her cheek for a moment. I had dinner with Elton last week. “I said I wasn’t going to use Teleprompters, because I know the album — it’s written on my soul. “Ever since I said I’d do it, I immediately regretted it,” Carlile admitted from the stage at one point. He called me a crazy bitch,” she said, to considerable laughter. “I knew I was biting off more than I could chew. John might have been referring specifically to her intention to avoid cheat sheets.
“And now,” Carlile added, “I lovethe lyric ‘I want to renew you, I want to shampoo you.’ I don’t think I’d ever really had anybody shampoo me at that point in my life. I needed a little bit of falling in love.”
It was fitting, for obvious reasons, that Dave Grohl’s pick would be “Go Tell the Drummer Man.” Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris were pictured back to back calling out lines from “Amelia”; Elton picked a more recent number, 1998’s “My Best to You”; Bernie Taupin’s was “Coyote”; Rosanne Cash’s, “Night Ride Home”; Carole King picked “For Free”; Clive Davis, “Both Sides Now.” Emma Thompson recalled the “Big Yellow Taxi” lyrics about how much it would cost to visit the world's surviving greenery in a tree museum and added, “I think it will be a bit more than that now, Joni.” Graham Nash, one of the inspirations for the “Blue” album, mentioned the years he spent with Mitchell and said of the album, “It makes me smile and makes me sad to listen to it.” After a pipe organ fanfare, the night began with a newly made video of Carlile’s more famous friends or acquaintances reciting lyrical snippets from their favorite Mitchell songs, from Tom Hanks and Reese Witherspoon to Brittany Howard and Mavis Staples.
For starters, Carlile explained, “None of us get the chance to see ‘Blue’ live. And if there’s anything to celebrate in these trying times, it’s that.” I’ve just worked my ass off to try and learn and sing it to the best of my ability… So tonight isn’t about me; it’s not about ego: It’s about you getting to hear ‘Blue’ live.” And in the macro sense, Carlile said, “I feel like we are living in a very unique time, because I don’t think anybody ever tapped themselves on the shoulder and said, ‘Holy shit, we’re alive at the same time as Shakespeare!’ Right? And I’m not here to reinvent the wheel. I really haven’t put my own spin on hardly any of this music. Or maybe Carlile was her own target audience? I am not exaggerating when I say that Joni Mitchell will be remembered that way, and we should all pinch ourselves” to be sharing that time and airspace. She explained the genesis of the evening almost in those terms. So I’m listening right alongside you tonight and enjoying this classic and amazing album, just like you are. “I’m gonna ask the question that you’re all wondering: Why the hell did I decide to do this?” she asked.
Preceding her solo rendition of “Little Green,” a song Mitchell wrote about giving her daughter up for adoption (although no one realized this for decades to come), Carlile talked about how that song was the turning point in her Mitchell fandom and understanding of feminism in music.
“I’ve been so proud to sing ‘Shine,’ because it shows that … nothing Joni Mitchell began or ended with ‘Blue.’… We go into ‘For the Roses’ and ‘The Hissing of Summer Lawns’ and ‘Hejira,’ and we just keep right on going all the way inside. Crazy about you, baby.” We’re gonna realize that we lived in the time of Shakespeare or Rembrandt. And I won’t sleep eight hours until everybody in the world feels that way about Joni Mitchell.” On this particular night, anyway, she had even more reverence to throw around: “I also want to send this one out to my great hero who’s here tonight, without whom I would not play the piano, and I hope he’s not judging me — but I think he is…  You’re right, Elton: I’m a crazy bitch.
Mitchell is as impossible to emulate as a ridiculously tricky singer, songwriter and picker as they come, which would set the bar for homage high enough, even if she wasn’t known for not always having suffered foolish acolytes gladly. audience that in recent months she had ingratiated herself into her heroine’s wine cellar, and probably heart. If nothing else was established by Brandi Carlile’s live recreation of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 “Blue” album — and plenty else was — it was that the 38-year-old singer has nerves even steelier than her vocal cords are pliable. Carlile had a pretty good head start on getting a thumbs-up from Mitchell for her tribute show Monday night at Walt Disney Hall, where she made it clear to the L.A. But still: Playing “Blue” in its entirety in front of Mitchell (who was sitting two seats away from another Carlile hero, Elton John) should’ve been enough to drench the coolest cucumber in flop sweat.

But it was the unique unease of avant-garde composers György Ligeti and Krzysztof Penderecki that really electrified the evening and captured the genius of Kubrick’s approach to “scoring” terror with existing modern music.
Occasionally the film dialogue wasn’t discernable over the orchestra’s volume, but that was okay. Kubrick’s supreme gift was visual anyway — and, as this “Sound Odyssey” proved, for marrying his images to the perfect classical counterpart in a way that would link the two forever after.” />
Of course, most of the actor’s tales were from his “Clockwork” days, when he was “a very young 25, quite immature.” He recalled how Kubrick liked to eat dessert alongside his meals (“This is the way Napoleon ate,” the master explained), and the response McDowell got when he asked Kubrick about his approach to directing actors: “I don’t know what I want, but I do know what I don’t want.”
The L.A. Philharmonic returned the favor over the weekend, by smuggling the director’s films into the concert hall. Plenty of people have heard 20th century concert music solely because Stanley Kubrick smuggled it into his movies.
That 1971 film’s scenes of home invasion and jubilant assault are still as disturbing today, ironically juxtaposed against the old-world glee of Rossini. It was quite a sight to see the white-haired thespian on stage in a suit, then immediately see him onscreen minus 50 years in nothing but tight-whities.
The ghostly chorus of Ligeti’s Requiem haunted every corner of the hall, accompanying the still-stunning imagery of the “2001” monolith. Kubrick stacked multiple Penderecki pieces on top of each other for “The Shining,” and that cacophonic nightmare was recreated to chilling effect, complete with demonic hissing and chanting by the Master Chorale — the musical equivalent of feeling fatally, terrifyingly trapped.
The Phil, energetically led by Australian conductor Jessica Cottis, brought life and heft to Kubrick’s inspired mixtape of classical repertoire — from the majesty of “Also sprach Zarathustra” (the bone-deep growl of Disney Hall’s pipe organ always gives bang for the buck) to the triumphant strains of Beethoven’s Ninth. A small chamber group broke off for the genteel grace of Schubert’s Piano Trio in E-flat, which underscored a scene of sizzling sexual tension in “Barry Lyndon.”
“Stanley Kubrick’s Sound Odyssey” took the Phil, along with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, on a musical voyage through five chapters in the filmmaker’s diverse canon: “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Shining,” “Barry Lyndon,” “Eyes Wide Shut” and “A Clockwork Orange.” Selected excerpts of classical works he used in those films’ soundtracks accompanied their attendant scenes on a large screen above the Disney Hall stage.
Kubrick was hell-bent on finding an actual amputee double for Ryan O’Neal for the scene where his character’s leg is removed. Before the “Barry Lyndon” segment, McDowell relayed a story he heard from one of the film’s assistant directors. The director took one look at the man, then walked away and muttered, “Wrong leg.” After an exhaustive international search, word came of a striking doppelganger in a circus in Belgium, who was summoned to the set.
Malcolm McDowell, who played the amoral lad Alex in “Clockwork,” hosted the evening. Noting how “2001” struggled to find an audience until someone in marketing realized it was the counterculture — potheads — who first really got it, McDowell confessed, “I don’t think I saw the movie straight the first time.”  He seemed a little stiff when reading the boilerplate script, but far more at ease when he segued into telling ad lib anecdotes.
Twentieth century concert music was made for horror movies (some might add “and nothing else”), and it was the right choice to pair these selections with the clips of little Danny Torrance incessantly croaking “Redrum” and an ax-wielding Jack Nicholson terrorizing his family in “The Shining’s” snowbound hotel from hell.