On the night of June 10 at the majestic Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash., on the lip of the Columbia River, the 79-year-old singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell played her first headlining show in 23 years. Her appearance had the air of a comet’s return: rare, breathlessly awaited and well worth camping out all night. That many concertgoers had traveled long distances made the experience feel all the more like a Mitchell song — perhaps one of the poetic highway travelogues recorded on her 1976 album “Hejira,” or even one of the romantic, intercontinental voyages she sang about on her 1971 landmark “Blue.” It was a crowd dotted with tie-dye and graying braids, yes, but also one full of lifelong friends reunited, mothers and children bonding over intergenerational musical tastes and enough homemade Mitchell T-shirts to rival Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. As Mitchell said to the adoring crowd as it held glowing cellphone lights aloft, paraphrasing one of her most memorable songs, “You’re stardust, and golden.”
Loretta Pervier Grant, 64, a lifelong Mitchell fan, had never seen her play live. So she and her husband, Larry Grant, 65, drove from Arizona for the show.
From left: Rose Paisley, Julie Chinnock, Vivian Pedegana, Lola Pedegana and Greg Pedegana. Rose Paisley’s daughters wore their grandmother’s clothes to the show, including her cowboy boots and jewelry.
Dan Waldron and Elizabeth Ford drove from Canada to see Mitchell’s show.
Suzanne Park, 64, said she grew up listening to Mitchell’s music in the ’60s and ’70s, and would play her songs on her guitar in high school.