Watch Joni Mitchell Cover Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" While Indeed Standing

The performance was part of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song tribute concert honouring John and Bernie Taupin last month

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Apr 9, 2024

The annual tribute concert in celebration of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song took place at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., last month. Last night (April 8), the show honouring awardees Elton John and Bernie Taupin aired in full on PBS, finally allowing those of us who aren't members of US Congress to get in on the action beyond the odd clip of Metallica ripping "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" shared to social media. 

A clear highlight of the concert was one of Joni Mitchell's recently less-rare performances. The legendary singer-songwriter, who recently brought her music back to Spotify, was the recipient of last year's Gershwin Prize, and returned to the ceremony this year to honour John with a rendition of his 1983 hit "I'm Still Standing." 

The performance was introduced by Brandi Carlile, who explained the song's special significance to the folk icon following her 2015 brain aneurysm. Mitchell got permission from John and Taupin to change some of the song's lyrics to make them more relevant to her experience. Carlile was a crucial player in prompting Mitchell's 2022 return to live performances — beginning with the "Joni Jam" at Newport Folk Festival and eventually leading to her first headlining show in over 20 years at Carlile's Echoes Through the Canyon event last June. 

In addition to changing the lyrics, Mitchell seems to have had fun playing around with the arrangement too. Joined by a backing band that included Carlile, Annie Lennox, Blake Mills and Davey Johnstone, Mitchell and co. gave the number a loose-limbed, jazzy slant — and she performed while standing and beaming. John and Taupin also couldn't contain their delight.

Check out the performance below.

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