Revered Canadian singer-songwriter and one of the defining musicians of the 1960s and ’70s, Joni Mitchell stunned audiences in Rhode Island on Sunday when she appeared at the Newport Folk Festival to play her first full set guitar in nearly two decades Gave it. in hand.
Michelle, never in the limelight, has largely stayed out of the public eye since she had a brain aneurysm in 2015. As she recovered, she made a few brief appearances: In December, she made a rare public speech as she accepted the Kennedy Center Honor, and in April, made a television appearance at the Grammys and a Grammy-affiliated charity, Honored at a gala for MusiCares.
But on Sunday, 78-year-old Michelle, wearing a beret and sunglasses, performed some of her most iconic songs, including “Carey,” “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Both Sides Now.”
At one point, Mitchell, with an electric guitar hanging over his shoulder, performed the several-minute-long solo during “Just Like This Train” as fans cheered and rejoiced.
Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, who sang backup for Michelle during her festival appearance, said in a tweet,
After “viewing life from so many sides,” Michelle has “come out of the storm singing like a prophet,” she said.
Although Michelle has limited her appearances in recent years, she hasn’t escaped the limelight.
In January, Michelle joined Neil Young in boycotting streaming service Spotify, over its role in giving a platform to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are killing people,” Mitchell wrote about the company at the time. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue,” he said.
On Sunday, several musicians, including Carlyle, took Michelle on stage and sang with her. “I’ll never be over this. I can’t even look back at it without tears,” Karil later wrote on Twitter. “Please excuse me.”
As Mitchell and Carlyle sang “A Case of You” from the influential “Blue” album, released more than 50 years ago, Mitchell sang:
oh i could drink a case of yours, darling
And I’ll still be on my feet
Oh, I’ll still be on my feet.
The crowd roared.