LOS ANGELES — In times like these, everyone could use some good news.
For guests at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammys gala Saturday night, it was the reemergence of folk-rock icon Joni Mitchell, making a rare public appearance after suffering a stroke and brain aneurysm in 2015. When Davis announced her attendance at the top of the night, the entire audience cheered and gave her a standing ovation, which Mitchell appeared to receive with a smile.
Later in the evening, Davis brought out a "very dear friend" of Mitchell's, singer/songwriter Judy Collins, who delivered a moving, politically charged tribute to her 73-year-old peer.
"Joni Mitchell and I met many years ago," Collins began. "This was a time when we were all struggling. We were out on the street, we were fighting. We were against what was happening in our country and we showed it, we sang about it, we thought about it, we talked about it. We made a huge, enormous difference and Joni's music is part of the ship that carried us. It lit up our lives and reminded us that the beauty in the world is here."
Living through the "dark ages," Collins continued, "Joni's music lifted us in the '60s, and it has and will continue to do so as we continue being active and aware and doing everything we can to bring us back to our senses. And to never, ever let tyrants and bullies anywhere in or out of the government."
After thunderous applause, Collins performed an acoustic version of the Mitchell-penned Both Sides, Now, off her 1967 album Wildflowers.