Joni Mitchell Live on the Grammys Telecast

By Chris Willman, Variety | February 5th, 2024

Her first performance at the Grammys at 80 years old


Joni Mitchell was a surprise performer at the Hollywood Bowl concert honoring the late jazz great Wayne Shorter on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Los Angeles. Pianist Herbie Hancock, left, hosted the evening and was a consistent standout among the nearly 20 musicians who performed. The lineup included guitarist and singer Lionel Loueke, right. CREDIT: George Varga/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS).

Joni Mitchell performed on the Grammys telecast for her first time ever on Feb. 4, 2024.

Mitchell has won nine Grammys in the past, and picked up a lifetime achievement award from the Academy in 2002. She is nominated this year for what could be her 10th Grammy, for best folk album, for her Brandi Carlile-produced 2023 release “Joni Mitchell at Newport [Live].”

The Grammy performance comes on the heels of a gradual return to live appearances Mitchell has made in the last two years – three concerts in which she was joined by Brandi Carlile and other friends in “Joni Jam” celebratory ensembles.

Mitchell was assumed by many to retired from public performances after she suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm in 2015. Then word got out that she was actively participating in informal musical gatherings at her home that came to be referred to as “Joni jams.” The concept went public when she was at the center of a surprise “Joni jam” at the Newport Folk Festival in July 2022 – a gig captured for posterity on her currently Grammy-nominated live album.

She made two more subsequent public concert appearances last year – an officially advertised “Joni Jam” at the Gorge in Washington state last summer, followed by a Brandi Carlile & Friends show at the Hollywood Bowl in the fall that largely turned out to be another Mitchell-centric ensemble gig.


2018 books about boomer musicians and influencers, including Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Stevie Nicks, Art Garfunkel, and more 


The Recording Academy celebrated Mitchell as its Person of the Year at a 2022 all-star concert and dinner in Las Vegas in early 2022, in which the singer-songwriter walked the red carpet and eventually joined the ensemble of stars on stage for the finale, although she only sang a few lines at that untelevised tribute, a few months before her official return at Newport.

Mitchell’s previous Grammy wins span a period from 1969, when she won best folk performance for “Clouds,” to 2022, when she won best historical album for the boxed set “Joni Mitchell Archives – Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967).” Her only win in one of the top four general categories came at the 50th annual Grammys, when she was one of multiple winners of album of the year for “River: The Joni Letters,” as one of the guest singers on Herbie Hancock’s tribute album.

The Grammys aired on CBS live coast-to-coast from L.A.’s Crypto.com Arena on Feb. 4.

Performers for the telecast include U2 (in a remote appearance from Las Vegas’ Sphere), Billy Joel, Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo, Luke Combs, Travis Scott and Burna Boy.


FEATURE PHOTO CAPTION: Joni Mitchell was a surprise performer at the Hollywood Bowl concert honoring the late jazz great Wayne Shorter on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Los Angeles. Pianist Herbie Hancock, left, hosted the evening and was a consistent standout among the nearly 20 musicians who performed. The lineup included guitarist and singer Lionel Loueke, right. CREDIT: George Varga/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS).


Article edited to reflect post-Grammy publication date.

Click here to see the Grammy’s 2024 performers 

More from Boomer

Did Taylor Swift Spark a Watch Choker Trend?

By Anna Tingley, Variety | February 13, 2024

Dance Lessons of Life

By Joanne C. Parsons | February 6, 2024