Joni Mitchell thrills con­cert au­di­ence just by show­ing up

The Progress-Index - - AMUSEMENTS - By An­drew Dal­ton

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.”

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