Watch Joni Mitchell Perform Three of Her Classics in Surprise Performance

She performed with support from Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Annie Lennox and more

BY Ben OkazawaPublished Oct 16, 2023

It's been over 15 years since Joni Mitchell last shared new music — but, as, if she needs to, the iconic singer-songwriter has taken it upon herself in recent years to prove that she can still perform with the best of them.

She did just that in L.A. this weekend, surprising a sold-out Hollywood Bowl crowd with performances of "Shine," "Ladies of the Canyon" and "The Circle Game" alongside Brandi Carlile, Annie Lennox and recent Exclaim! cover alum Allison Russell, to name a few. 

Carlile has been the staunchest supporter of Mitchell's return to the stage, joining her at almost all of her concerts over the past year and supporting her with harmony vocals for several performances — and, at this weekend's concert, she revealed why she has so much affection for Mitchell.

Prior to singing "I Belong to You," Carlile revealed that the song was actually inspired by her then-newfound fandom of Mitchell, per Variety:

Did I ever tell you guys a story about the time I met my wife? About how my wife wouldn't date me unless I could get my head around Joni Mitchell? I was just getting ready to turn 30, and I just couldn't come into myself. I couldn't understand the kind of woman that I was. I just didn't know. I wasn't ready to be a mom or anything. I was just a dark, tortured rodeo clown of a musician. And I'm proud of my 20s, but not understanding Joni Mitchell is not the thing I'm most proud of about my 20s.

When I did get it, and I realized I didn't know how to be vulnerable and honest, it changed my songwriting. But it didn't just change my songwriting, it changed me, and prepared me for this better half of my life. And the first thing I did when I embraced and learned the Gospel of Blue, besides absolutely deep-diving into everything Joni Mitchell ever wrote, and read every interview and made up for lost time ... was I attempted to write a love song about real love and vulnerability, and take myself off the high horse.

Watch fan-captured footage of Mitchell's surprise "Joni Jam" alongside Carlile, Russell, Lennox and more below. 

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