Watch Joni Mitchell's stunning return after 20 years with emotional performance of 'Both Sides Now'

28 July 2022, 11:55

Joni Mitchell at the Newport Folk Festival 2022
Joni Mitchell at the Newport Folk Festival 2022. Picture: Getty Images

By Mayer Nissim

Joni Mitchell takes to the stage for her first full-length performance in over 20 years.

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Joni Mitchell made a stunning return to live performance with a surprise appearance at the Newport Folk Festival.

The iconic folk singer appeared on Sunday (July 24), joining her friend Brandi Carlile and a clutch of star guests for the Joni Jam set at the Newport Folk Festival.

It was Joni's first full-length set for over two decades, and her first at Newport since way back in 1969.

As well as Carlile’s bandmates Phil and Tim Hanseroth, members of the all-star group included Marcus Mumford, Wynonna Judd, Blake Mills, and Lucius's Celisse Henderson, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.

The 13-song set opened with 'Carey' and closed with 'The Circle Game' and also featured such hits as 'A Case Of You', 'Big Yellow Taxi' and 'Both Sides, Now'.

Joni Mitchell retired from touring in 2000, with sporadic performances in 2002 and 2013.

She suffered a brain aneurysm rupture in March 2015, which had seemingly put an end to her music career.

Her only public musical performance since then came earlier this year, where she joined in a mass singalong rendition of 'The Circle Game' and 'Big Yellow Taxi' on April 1 as one of many voices on stage.

Joni MItchell and Brandi Carlile Live at Newport Folk Festival
Joni MItchell and Brandi Carlile Live at Newport Folk Festival. Picture: Getty Images

Her Newport performance at the weekend not only saw her take a more central role in proceedings, but her solo on 'Just Like This Train' was her first time playing the instrument in public since her aneurysm.

The full setlist for the show was as follows:

  1. Carey (with Brandi Carlile)
  2. Come in From the Cold (with Taylor Goldsmith)
  3. Help Me (with Celisse Henderson)
  4. A Case of You (with Marcus Mumford) (+ Brandi Carlile)
  5. Big Yellow Taxi (with Brandi Carlile)
  6. Just Like This Train
  7. Why Do Fools Fall in Love (+ Rick Whitfield)
  8. Amelia (with Taylor Goldsmith)
  9. Love Potion No. 9
  10. Shine
  11. Summertime
  12. Both Sides, Now (with Lucius) (+ Brandi Carlile)
  13. The Circle Game (with Wynonna Judd)

Joni Mitchell's comeback wasn't the only surprise performance at this year's Newport Folk Festival.

The night earlier on Saturday, July 23, Paul Simon – who retired from touring in 2018 – joined Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at the end of a tribute set to his music.

Simon joined the group for its closing performances of 'Graceland', American Tune', 'The Boxer' and 'The Sound of Silence'.