West News Wire: Surprise! Back on stage is Joni Mitchell. The Boston Globe reported that the folk legend had her first lengthy performance on Sunday at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. According to records, Mitchell’s last complete performance was in late 2002, and after having an aneurysm in 2015, she has dealt with health issues.
Mitchell joined festival headlining performer Brandi Carlile and a plethora of other performers, including as Wynonna Judd, Allison Russell, and Marcus Mumford, while sitting in a wingback chair and donning a blue beret and sunglasses. Since 1969, Mitchell hadn’t performed at the Newport Festival until then.
Carlile revealed that this was a reenactment of the “Joni Jam” musical get-togethers that, in recent years, have drawn prominent friends like Elton John to Mitchell’s Los Angeles home.
And Mitchell wasn’t there to just to sing. Halfway through the 13-song set, she played an electric guitar solo, which was her first time playing guitar in public since her aneurysm, Carlile said.
The ensemble played Mitchell’s most familiar songs (“Circle Game,” “Big Yellow Taxi”) and a few of her favorites (“Love Potion No. 9,” “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”).
After their rendition of “Both Sides Now,” Carlile was fighting back tears. Addressing the audience, she asked: “Did the world just stop?”