Photo: Library of Congress Life - 20211204SM0271 Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.

Joni Mitchell Makes Surprise Newport Jazz Fest Appearance: Look + Listen

Mid way through a history-making Newport Folk Festival set that paid tribute to Joni Mitchell, in her first full length concert appearance in some 20 years, Brandi Carlile exclaimed “I just realized, Joni’s the least nervous person up here.”

Singing more than 13 songs, Mitchell, who last appeared at the festival 53 years ago, in 1969, held court as a star-studded crew of musicians – including Carlile, Blake Mills, Lucius, Wynonna Judd, Celisse, Taylor Goldsmith, Marcus Mumford, and more – played a mix of her favorite oldies (“Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” “Love Potion No. 9” as well as an array of Mitchell masterpieces.)

Sitting in a throne-like chair, Joni began the set by singing along to her own songs, yet by the end of the hour-plus performance, the 78 year-old legendary singer/songwriter who only recently sang on stage for the first time in nearly a decade had stood up, played a lengthy guitar solo (“Just Like This Train”) and sang a moving baritone lead vocal on Gershwin’s “Summertime’” and tear-jerking takes on “Both Sides Now” and “Circle Game.”

The premise behind the outdoor concert was to recreate the recently infamous “Joni Jams,” an informal A-list gatherings of musicians at Mitchell’s Los Angeles home, where everyone from Carlile and Elton John to Herbie Hancock and Bonnie Raitt gather around Joni and trade songs and stories in the years following Mitchell’s aneurysm. As set curator and organizer, Carlile explained in the intro to the performance.”No one brings folk singers together like the humility of trying out a new song in front of Joni fucking Mitchell.” And at the end of the set, Carlile pronounced “Joni Mitchell has returned.”

Keep up with the latest trending music news by following us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Library of Congress Life – 20211204SM0271