After winning the Gershwin Award for Popular Music from the Library of Congress, the iconic singer-songwriter surprised the audience with a performance.
In 2015, legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell had a brain aneurysm that left her temporarily unable to speak or move. Since then, she has made a spectacular comeback, giving a rare live performance and winning yet another award for her musical skills.
Joni Mitchell Sings THE CIRCLE GAME
If only I could convey to you the profound sense of awe and wonder that I felt when I heard Joni Mitchell’s rendition of George Gershwin‘s “Summertime” at DAR Constitution Hall. At that moment, it was as if the very essence of the divine had descended upon the room. The music resonated with a power and beauty that defied explanation, leaving me with a sense of awe and reverence.
On Wednesday, the singer-songwriter performed with her right hand clutching a gold microphone that matched her jauntily cocked hat.
Mitchell used the intricacies of her husky voice to seem both sensual and languid when she sang George Gershwin’s “Summertime” in the otherwise hushed DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
She embraced the music and confidently unfurled the Porgy and Bess standard, ignoring the teleprompter at the rear of the room that rolled the song’s words.
For those who have been living under a rock, Mitchell has returned. The 79-year-old Canadian icon’s newest honor is the Gershwin Award, established after the famed songwriting duo George and Ira Gershwin to reward a live musical artist’s lifetime accomplishment in advancing the song genre.
Both the Kennedy Center Honor and the MusiCares Person of the Year awards were bestowed to her in 2022.
The Library of Congress awarded Mitchell this year’s Gershwin Award for lifetime contribution to popular music earlier this month. A star-studded concert was recorded in the nation’s capital to celebrate the milestone, and it will appear this Friday at 9 p.m. ET on PBS. Mitchell performed, and many of her musical peers and fans, including James Taylor, Graham Nash, Brandi Carlile, Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox, Marcus Mumford, Cyndi Lauper, and more, paid homage to her.
According to Ken Ehrlich, the producer of the PBS special, “The Circle Game” was a late addition to the concert. Ehrlich revealed that they did not include the song in the show until a couple of days before the performance. He explained that he wanted to find a grand finale that would unite everyone after Joni’s rendition of “Summertime,” and they had not yet decided on “The Circle Game.” During the one rehearsal they had for “Big Yellow Taxi,” Ehrlich introduced the idea to the women in that number, who loved it.
However, he purposely did not rehearse it before the show to make it seem authentic and spontaneous. Ehrlich aimed to make “The Circle Game” a fitting and impactful conclusion for Joni, and it turned out to be successful.