Caryl shares an exclusive playlist from Joni Mitchell's 70th birthday concert
The last time I saw Joni was in Toronto in June of 2013. The occasion that brought her back on stage was a birthday happening. For two nights, performers and musicians came to together in a concert celebrating the legendary singer’s 70th birthday next November. For the past decade, Joni Mitchell has not performed because of health reasons--she has Morgellons Syndrome, a parasitic infestation some doctors claim is delusional--and a voice that with age has been reduced in range.
Joni Mitchell's extraordinary career spans 50 years and mixes together the genres of folk, jazz, blues and a bit of rock and roll. The birthday tribute show that was part of Toronto's Luminato Festival, lasted almost three hours the night I saw it. Combining familiar and obscure songs chosen by Mitchell herself, the concert featured performers with reputations ranging from the little known: Liam Titcomb who sang the poignant If to the famous, Rufus Wainwright who peformed the Yeats poem Slouching Towards Bethelehem acapello reinterpreting it like “a Scottish folksong”. Wainwright told the audience how he didn't grow up with Joni's music. His mother, the folk singer Kate McGarrigal who died last year, was kind of competitive, he said, and banned the more successful Mitchell's music from the family's home.