Joni Mitchell marked her return to the stage after several years with a moving performance at Newport Folk Festival, in Newport, Rhode Island, over the weekend.
The iconic singer-songwriter has barely performed publicly since a brain aneurysm nearly killed her in 2015. So when Brandi Carlile introduced the 78-year-old as a surprise guest, the audience was stunned, CBS News reported.
Supported by an all-star cast of musicians that included Marcus Mumford on drums, Mitchell took to the mic and gave her all. What some fans may not have realized though, is what it took for her to make a comeback.
Mitchell was found unconscious in her home on March 31, 2015. She was rushed to the hospital where it was determined she had suffered a brain aneurysm. It took away her ability to play the guitar. But determined not to give up, Mitchell taught herself how to play again.
"I'm learning," she told CBS correspondent Anthony Mason.
"I'm looking at videos that are on the net to see where I put my fingers, you know. It's amazing what an aneurysm knocks out — how to get out of a chair!" she continued. "You don't know how to get out of a bed. You have to learn all these things by rote again. I was into water ballet as a kid, and I forgot how to do the breaststroke. Every time I tried it, I just about drowned ... a lot of going back to infancy almost. You have to relearn everything."
Her name may have already been written into the bill for the weekend's event but until Friday rehearsals, no one including Mitchell knew whether she would be up for performing.
"I've never been nervous about being in front of an audience but I want it to be good. And I wasn't sure I could be," she told Mason. "But I didn't sound too bad tonight!"
It has been a good year for Mitchell, who was a Kennedy Center honoree, and MusiCares' Person of the Year at the Grammys. With her career being widely celebrated, she admitted the accolades felt "very rewarding."
"You know, a lot of doors were shut to me. Like the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. They kept me out of that for a long time," she said.
"So, you're feelin' the love?" asked Mason.
"I'm feelin' the love, yeah," she replied. "It feels good!"
Zoe Papadakis ✉
Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.
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