After helping coax Joni Mitchell back onto the public concert stage for the first time in nine years in July at the Newport Folk Festival, Brandi Carlile has pulled off the impossible once again. The two artists will perform June 9-10 at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash., with Carlile headlining the first night and then backing Mitchell the next night for a reprise of the Newport “Joni Jam.”
Carlile broke the news during an interview yesterday (Oct. 19) with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, first by reflecting back on the Newport experience.
“I still can’t believe that happened,” she said. “[Mitchell] always has a plan. She knows what she wants to do, even if she doesn’t say it. We didn’t know she was going to do that. We thought it was a jam. We didn’t know that she was going to sing all the leads on those songs. She just started singing! We’d rehearsed the songs ourselves and we didn’t know whether we should stop or what we should do, you know? So we just sang with her, and then it turns out, she completely took over the show and became the performer that we all know that she is. We didn’t go to sleep that night. We stayed up ’til the sun came up, just loving what happened. Joni flat-out loves to perform, and she’s awesome at it. She’s every bit as good at it now as she was.”
Much to Carlile’s surprise, “after Newport, Joni said, ‘I want to do another show.’ She said, ‘I want to play again.’ And we got to thinking about it, and we decided on a venue, which is the Gorge out in Washington State. So, we’re gonna play there. It’s one of the most beautiful venues in the world.”
The two shows are billed as Echoes Through the Canyon, and ticket on-sale information is available here. “No one’s been able to buy a ticket to see Joni Mitchell play in 20 years, so this is enormous,” Carlile said, referencing the fact that Mitchell essentially retired from performing after her 2000 tour and has been in frail health since a 2015 brain aneurysm. “And she’s so excited, because it’s close to Canada. I can’t believe it’s happening, but it’s happening, and she is going to crush it. So if you can get there, get there.” Mitchell turns 79 next month.
Carlile was in New York ahead of her tour-concluding Madison Square Garden show on Saturday. She’s also ring in New Year’s Eve with a concert in Portland, Ore., and reprise her Girls Just Wanna destination festival beginning Jan. 8 in Riviera Maya, Mexico.