Legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell surprised the crowd at the Newport Folk Festival Sunday night by performing a 13-song set with out musician Brandi Carlile and others.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that this was Mitchell’s “first full-length live set in more than 20 years,” and her first performance at the acclaimed festival in 53 years.
Since experiencing a brain aneurysm in 2015 the 78-year-old icon has kept a low profile. But she has reportedly been making music via “Joni Jams” with other musicians in her home. And so, the stage at Newport was arranged in the style of Mitchell’s living room.
Appearing in the “Brandi Carlile & Friends” set, Mitchell was joined by Marcus Mumford, Wynonna, Blake Mills, Lucius, Taylor Goldsmith, and others in addition to Carlile.
“No one brings folk singers together like the humility of trying out a new song in front of Joni fucking Mitchell,” the out singer-songwriter said at the beginning of the set.
Mitchell and Carlile performed songs together including “Carey,” “A Case of You,” and “Both Sides Now.” “Both Sides Now” is easily one of my favorite songs of all time.
Taylor Goldsmith crooned along with Mitchell on “Come in From the Cold,” and “The Circle Game,” one of Mitchell’s best-loved songs closed out the set.
“I’ve never been nervous about being in front of an audience,” Mitchell told CBS Mornings’ Anthony Mason on Monday. “But I want it to be good. And I wasn’t sure I could be. But I didn’t sound too bad tonight!”
Here’s the CBS Mornings report: