Watch Joni Mitchell play her first headline show in 23 years
The legendary singer suffered a brain aneurysm in 2015 that left her unable to walk, talk, or play guitar.
Image: Gary Miller/Getty Images
Joni Mitchell played her first headline set last Saturday (10 June) at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington.
The three-hour show included a 24-song setlist, and saw guest appearances from Brandi Carlile, Marcus Mumford, Annie Lennox and more, who are colloquially named Joni Jam.
Watch Mitchell and Joni Jam play her 1966 single Both Sides Now below:
The Gorge Ampitheater show was not Mitchell’s first stage appearance since her life-altering brain aneurysm in 2015, which left her unable to walk, talk, or pick up any instrument.
In the years following the aneurysm, Mitchell retaught herself how to play guitar by watching old videos of herself performing, and in 2022, she made a cameo appearance at Rhode Island’s Newport Festival in 2022. This is the first time she has delivered a headline show since 2000, though.
Mitchell’s set spanned an impressive three hours, and saw her play hits from her catalogue including Big Yellow Taxi, Night Ride Home and California, among a host of others.
It also featured a performance of If – from Mitchell’s 2007 album, Shine – which saw her take the lead guitar reins with a Parker Fly Concert electric guitar.
Speaking to CBS Mornings about playing the instrument onstage for the first time in nearly a decade, Mitchell said, “I’m learning. I’m looking at videos that are on the net, to see where to put my fingers.”
“It’s amazing. When you have an aneurysm, you don’t know how to get into a chair. You don’t know how to get out of bed. You have to learn all these things again. You’re going back to infancy, almost.”
When asked how she found the will to do these things again, the 79-year-old remarked that she didn’t know, though her brain surgeon did say to her that she had “will and grit”.