Music legend Joni Mitchell surprised fans at the annual Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island over the weekend when she took to the stage to deliver a rare full set performance, her first in over 20 years.
Mitchell joined fellow performers Brandi Carlile, Wynonna Judd and Marcus Mumford to perform a 13-song live set that included Big Yellow Taxi and Summertime.
Following the performance, Mitchell told CBS News that she “wanted to be good, and I wasn’t sure that I could be”.
“But I didn’t sound too bad tonight,” she said.
Mitchell first performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1969 alongside fellow performers the Everly Brothers and Arlo Guthrie.
???? Nina Westervelt pic.twitter.com/KHbP9td2JR
— Joni Mitchell (@jonimitchell) July 25, 2022
After suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015 which temporarily robbed her of her speech as well as her ability to walk, the 78-year-old has remained largely out of the public eye.
While receiving the Kennedy Center Award in 2021, Mitchell briefly reflected on her health woes and her recovery following the 2015 health incident.
“I’ve had to come back several times, for one thing, and this last one was a real whopper,” she said.
“But you know, I’m hobbling along there. I’m doing all right.”
Despite her now low profile Mitchell still makes the occasional public appearance. Earlier this year, Mitchell attended the 64th Annual Grammy awards to accept the award for Best Historical Album for Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967).
Mitchell took to the stage to accept her prestigious award, delivering a short speech thanking her “dream team” for making it possible.
“Thank you! Much thanks to the Academy for this nomination and for this win. I didn’t expect this. I’d like to thank my dream team that help me put it together,” she said.
While thanking her label, Mitchell also gave a special mention to her assistant and physical therapist, whom she called an angel.
Along with her most recent accolades, Mitchell has enjoyed a new wave of appreciation from music fans after announcing in January of this year that she would be removing her music from the music streaming service Spotify in a show of solidarity with her friend Nei Young, who requested to have his music removed from the platform due to the spread of false Covid-19 information by popular podcaster Joe Rogan.
Following Young’s announcement, Mitchell issued a statement on her website titled ‘I Stand With Neil Young!’.
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue,” she wrote.