Joni Mitchell thrills concert audience just by showing up
LOS ANGELES — As an adoring-but-anxious crowd wondered if she'd appear at an all-star concert celebration on her 75th birthday, Joni Mitchell was stuck in traffic. It was only fitting for a singer and songwriter whose music helped define the experience of modern Southern California.
Glen Hansard could have been describing the guest of honor when he sang of “a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway” in his rendition of Mitchell's “Coyote” soon after the show finally began, nearly an hour late.
James Taylor, Chaka Khan, Kris Kristofferson, Rufus Wainwright and Seal were also among those serenading Mitchell with her own songs Wednesday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.
Mitchell didn't speak or say a word all night, but just showing up was a triumph. For 3 ½ years, she has been almost completely absent from public life after an aneurysm left her debilitated and unable to speak, and little has been revealed of her condition since.
“You know, Joni has had a long and arduous recovery from a really major event,” Taylor, one of Mitchell's oldest friends, told The Associated Press before the show.
“But she's doing so much better.”
Mitchell needed help walking in and getting to her seat in a front corner. The audience greeted her with a standing ovation and spontaneous chorus of “Happy Birthday.”