On Sunday night at the Newport Folk Festival, legendary performer Joni Mitchell dazzled the audience with a surprise show that included performer Brandi Carlile and others.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mitchell’s 13-song set was his “first full-length live set in more than 20 years.” She also made her long-awaited return to the legendary Rhode Island event after a 53-year absence.
Since experiencing a brain aneurysm in 2015, Mitchell, now 78, has maintained a low profile. However, she has been hosting “Joni Jams” at her house with other artists, and the stage at Newport was set up in Mitchell’s living room manner. Mitchell performed a concert that included singing in addition to playing the guitar, which she had to learn again after having an aneurysm.
Marcus Mumford, Wynonna, Blake Mills, Lucius, Taylor Goldsmith, and other artists joined Carlile, who had proposed playing a “Joni Jams” at Newport, in the “Brandi Carlile & Friends” concert. Carlile also performed alongside Mitchell.
The lesbian singer-songwriter noted in opening the act that “no one draws folk artists together like the humility of trying out a new song in front of Joni fucking Mitchell.”
Together, Mitchell and Carlile played the songs “Carey,” “A Case of You,” and “Both Sides Now.” Wynonna, who just lost her mother, Naomi Judd, could be seen sobbing during the last song as she stood in the background. One of Mitchell’s most well-known tunes, “The Circle Game,” was performed by the entire band to finish the concert. Mitchell and Taylor Goldsmith worked together on the song “Come in From the Cold.”
Mitchell said to CBS Mornings’ Anthony Mason that she was unnerved before the performance. She claimed, “I’ve never felt anxious about performing in front of people. But I want it to be successful. I wasn’t certain I could be, either. But tonight I didn’t sound so horrible!