Last year, Joni Mitchell surprised Newport Folk Festivalgoers with her first public performance in 20 years, singing a slew of her most beloved songs with notable guests. Marcus Mumford and Brandi Carlile joined her for “A Case of You” — and an official video of the performance is finally coming out. The song will feature on the upcoming release, At Newport: Featuring the Joni Jam, due out July 28.
Mitchell sits in the middle of the stage, surrounded by dozens of people in the video. Carlile begins the first verse, and Mitchell joins in with harmonies, especially emphasizing the song’s “O Canada” line. The women from Lucius, who performed “Both Sides, Now” later in the set with Mitchell and Carlile, cradle each other as their eyes look to well up. Mitchell takes the lead, though, when she sings, “I could drink a case of you, oh darling, and I’d still be on my feet,” garnering rapturous applause. Wynona Judd looks on smiling behind her, as does Mumford, who sings, “still be on my feet,” from behind the piano.
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Carlile produced At Newport, along with Mitchell, to document the historic concert, which took place on July 24, 2022. The release will be available on CD and double-LP, and it will come out digitally and in Dolby Atmos on the same day. A clear vinyl version of the release will be available at indie record stores and Barnes & Noble. The performance of “Both Sides, Now” is also available digitally now, though video has been online for a few months.
Cameron Crowe wrote the release’s liner notes, chronicling how she rose up from a 2015 brain aneurysm to make it to this concert. “Mitchell emerged from the side of the stage, swaying smoothly, in fine summer-style with beret and sunglasses,” he wrote. “Her good-natured mood instantly set the tone. This performance would be an intimate gathering of friends, not unlike the Joni Jams she’d been hosting in her own living room over the last few years of recovery. Smiling broadly, Mitchell made her surprise appearance, taking her on-stage seat alongside Carlile. Within minutes, the news had rocketed around the globe. Mitchell was back, sparkling with enthusiasm, delivering a tender and passionate set of 13 songs, ending with a joyful sing-along of ‘The Circle Game.'”
Several musicians joined Mitchell at the performance, including Carlile’s bandmates Phil and Tim Hanseroth, Wynonna Judd, Marcus Mumford, Celisse, Lucius’ Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, among others. Mitchell also played guitar at the performance, performing an instrumental version of “Just Like This Train.”
Mitchell will host another “Joni Jam” this weekend at the Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington. Carlile will once again accompany her.
At Newport track list:
1. Introduction by Brandi Carlile
2. “Big Yellow Taxi”
3. “A Case of You”
5. “Both Sides Now”
6. “Just Like This Train”
9. “Help Me” – Celisse
10. “Come in From the Cold”
12. “The Circle Game”
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