Joni Mitchell surprises fans with first live show since 2015 brain aneurysm

Joni Mitchell has returned to the stage for the first time since suffering a debilitating brain aneurysm that temporarily left her unable to walk or talk.

The 10-time Grammy winner, 78, thrilled fans as she performed 13 of her hit tracks at Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island on Sunday — seven years after the life-threatening health emergency.

“I’ve never been nervous about being in front of an audience,” Mitchell told CBS News following her performance. “But I wanted it to be good. And I wasn’t sure it could be. But I didn’t sound too bad tonight!” 

The Canada-born crooner last performed live back in 2013, but she hasn’t put on a full-set show since November 2002 — making Sunday’s Newport performance all the more powerful.

Mitchell performed 13 of her iconic tracks during her highly anticipated appearance, including “Carey,” “Both Sides Now” and “Big Yellow Taxi.”

For the duration of the performance, the folk icon was accompanied by pal and protégée Brandi Carlile, 41, who famously covered the the singer’s 1971 album “Blue.”

Mitchell was accompanied onstage by pal and protégée Brandi Carlile, 41, who famously covered the the singer’s 1971 album “Blue.”
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Mitchell was greeted by rapturous applause as she took the stage while clutching a cane. She was seated for the duration of the show and covered up in a beret and dark sunglasses.

A slew of other stars also joined her at various points during the hourlong performance, including Wynonna Judd and Marcus Mumford of the folk band Mumford & Sons.

It was a remarkable return to the stage for Mitchell, who spent almost four months in a hospital after her aneurysm, which also left her unable to play guitar. Mitchell told CBS News that she is in the process of relearning how to do so.

Photographers and fans clamored to get close to Mitchell during her first public performance in nine years.
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“I’m looking at videos that are on the net to see where I put my fingers,” the superstar stated. “It’s amazing what an aneurysm knocks out – how to get out of chair! You don’t know how to get out of a bed. You have to learn all these things by rote again.”

“A lot of going back to infancy almost. You have to relearn everything,” she added.

Mitchell previously performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1969, when she was just 25 years old.

Mitchell performed at the famous folk festival back in 1969.
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Carlile told CBS News that it had been her dream to see Mitchell return to play the iconic annual show once again.

Concertgoer Amy Karibian posted videos of Mitchell’s performance to YouTube, leaving many of the singer’s superfans in tears.

“I can’t stop crying!” one wrote. “This moved me immensely. I love the delight that radiated from Joni as the the crowds cheered her on. I have no doubt she missed her fans and was drinking in their affection for her. Her whole face was smiling!”