Cat Fight: Chrissie Hynde Hits Carly Simon At Joni Mitchell Show

Photo By Jay Blakesburg

Whatever anyone says, we believe Chrissie. But we're getting a little

ahead of ourselves. Two nights ago (Nov. 7)--which just happened to be

Joni Mitchell's 52nd birthday-- Mitchell performed at the small, 150

seat nightclub in New York City called Fez. The show was unannounced,

save a single mention of it on Rita Houston's City Folk program on

WFUV-FM that morning. That's all it took to pack Fez-and not only with

civilians, but with a spectacular bevy of divas: an allegedly drunk

Chrissie Hynde, who had come straight from her Symphony Space live

broadcast; Carly Simon, impeccably dressed and coifed; Katell Keineg,

that New Age alternative Irish singer, who was first in line for

tickets; with Natalie Merchant bringing up the rear. Also in

attendance was Victoria Williams, who is also going to play her own

unannounced show at the Fez on Sunday (Nov. 12).

Mitchell took the stage at around 9:40 PM and opened with "Refuge Of

The Roads." Midway through the hour and a half set, Chrissie Hynde

roared her approval--gushing very audibly "I love you , I love you" as

well as occasionally bellowing, hooting and clapping her hands from

her center rear booth. Carly Simon, glaring at the rather tipsy Hynde,

finally got fed up and suggested that Hynde sit down, and if you'll

excuse the expression, "shut up." That's all it took. According to eye

witnesses, Hynde leaped up, grabbed Simon around the neck, and shoved

her to the ground, where she began to pummel her--not once but twice.

Joni Mitchell, ever the ice princess, never missed a beat. She

continued to regale the crowd with three songs from Hejira some

vintage material, as well as three new, untitled songs that she's

working on. If it weren't for the Simon/Hynde conflagration, the high

point of the night would have been when Katell Keineg led the audience

in singing "Happy Birthday" to Mitchell.

Mitchell ended the night gracefully thanking the audience: "What a

nice experience, I thank you for this."

When ATN contacted Warner Bros. Records, the label that Hynde records for,

a publicist did confirm that something had happened at the show, but

tried to pass it off as an affectionate gesture on Hynde's part toward

Simon. "Yeah, she grabbed her around the neck but she was just hugging

her." Sure.