Joni Mitchell has played her first headline show in two decades at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State, joined by some very famous friends. Mitchell played an extensive selection of tracks from across her stories career, with help from artists like Annie Lennox, Sarah McLachlan, Brandi Carlile, Marcus Mumford, Allison Russell, and more.
The set took place as part of Carlile’s Echoes Through The Canyon festival. The stage was set up to replicate Mitchell’s Californian lounge room – the intent was to mirror the famous “Joni Jams” that have taken place in her house over the years, where artists like Harry Styles and Paul McCartney have made appearances.
Joni Mitchell: ‘A Case Of You’ (with Brandi Carlile & Marcus Mumford)
It’s a remarkable recovery for Mitchell, who in 2015 suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm and had to learn to walk, talk, and sing again. The revered artist made a surprise appearance with Carlile at 2022’s Newport Folk Festival – afterwards, Mitchell expressed desire to do another show.
Annie Lennox appeared on stage to sing ‘Ladies of the Canyon’, and told the crowd how an old roommate had first introduced her to Mitchell’s music.
“It blew my mind… and started me on a path I never expected to happen,” Lennox said. “The thing is, back in the day, there were so few of us women doing this thing we’re doing. We take it for granted, don’t we?”
“There was a renewed ease in her movement across melodies, and a pearly purity in her tone,” Lindsay Zoladz wrote in the New York Times about the set. “To hear Mitchell hit certain notes again in that inimitable voice was like glimpsing, in the wild, a magnificent bird long feared to have gone extinct.”
Mitchell closed out the show with the song ‘If’, one of her personal favourites.