Watching Joni Mitchell In 2023 Live Is Pure Magic
via Samuel Stone / Youtube
Joni Mitchell, at the age of 79, made a triumphant return to the stage after eight years of battling the effects of a brain aneurysm. She was honored at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., where she received the prestigious Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Despite her previous struggles with speech and mobility, Mitchell showcased her talent by singing George Gershwin’s “Summertime” with incredible finesse and a jazzy flair, leaving the audience in awe.
The room was filled with an overwhelming sense of triumph as Mitchell flawlessly delivered the lyrics: “One of these mornings / You’re gonna rise up singing / Yes, you’ll spread your wings / And you’ll take to the sky.” Her rendition was deemed even better than Graham Nash’s performance of her own song, “A Case of You,” at the event.
A star-studded lineup of renowned artists, including Annie Lennox, Brandi Carlile, James Taylor, Cyndi Lauper, Marcus Mumford, Diana Krall, Ledisi, Angélique Kidjo, and Herbie Hancock, serenaded Mitchell with her own masterpieces. This distinguished honor placed her among the ranks of previous Gershwin Prize recipients like Paul McCartney, Smokey Robinson, and Paul Simon. Mitchell became the third woman to receive the prize, following Carole King and Gloria Estefan, who made a special appearance via video to pay tribute to her.
The backdrop of the show featured Mitchell’s artwork, including her famous album cover, as well as photographs and videos from her past, highlighting her parallel career as a visual artist. Overwhelmed by the experience, Mitchell expressed her gratitude, stating, “So many people I care about here from many parts of my life, new friends, old friends — it’s just kind of thrilling!”
Check out Joni Mitchell’s recent performance below.