We’re dipping into the Far Out vault to bring you the special moment Joni Mitchell performed for a newly-unified Germany as she covered Pink Floyd’s ‘Goodbye Blue Sky’ as part of an unbelievable show.
July 21st 1990, was an eventful day, an occasion which is written into the history books as Joni Mitchell performed at the site of the fallen Berlin Wall for a heaving audience. The imposing structure of oppression had been lined up for destruction the previous November, and it was an evening for celebration as the two sides of Germany were united with the fall of the Berlin Wall at long last.
The Wall – Live in Berlin was a live concert performance by Roger Waters and featured numerous high profile guests who took to the stage to perform tracks from Pink Floyd’s seminal concept album The Wall. It’s safe to say; it was a night to remember with Mitchell’s emotionally charged show being the pick of the bunch.
Opened by Leonard Cheshire poignantly blowing a World War II whistle, the concert boasted an incredibly mammoth sell-out crowd of over 350,000 people. However, before the performance started, the gates were opened, allowing a reported 100,000 people to watch this event for the ages. The event broke attendance records for a paid-entry concert.
Other artists who appeared alongside Joni Mitchell included Rick Danko, Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of The Band, The Hooters, Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, Cyndi Lauper, Marianne Faithfull, Scorpions, Paul Carrack, Thomas Dolby and Bryan Adams. There were also appearances from the actors Albert Finney, Jerry Hall, Tim Curry and Ute Lemper.
Mitchell’s performance was a stand-out moment from the iconic night when she performed a gorgeous rendition of ‘Goodbye Blue Sky’, which featured visuals largely taken from the film version of The Wall. It completely captivated the audience.
The song choice was especially poignant because of the meaning behind the track. The track’s content is centred on childhood and then getting ready to set off into the rest of your life. Considering the situation, with Germany herself setting off into a brighter future ahead of the country’s people, the occasion was a perfect meeting of minds and a soulful, spiritual occasion. The Berlin Wall was now a thing of the past, along with the division that came with it.
In the 2017 book by David Yaffe titled Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, Mitchell shed some light on the backstage antics of her fellow performers which pissed her off no bounds and made the musician become disillusioned with the way that the music industry had become.
Mitchell labelled Cyndi Lauper as “childish”, claimed that Bryan Adams was rude to his girlfriend in front of her and Sinead O’Connor, who she patronisingly described as “a passionate little singer”, before revealing the Irish singer decided to look down at her feet rather than making direct eye contact with her when they met.
“The childish competitiveness, the lack of professionalism—I don’t have a peer group,” she told Yaffe, recalling this era. “All of them, these spoiled children. It’s not what I would have expected in an artistic community.”
Even if the people who she was performing with may have caused issues, this didn’t bleed into her performance and, typically, Mitchell firmly led by example with her stunning version of ‘Goodbye Blue Sky’ that set the bar high for the other performers who couldn’t manage to upstage her rousing rendition.
Watch Mitchell perform to the 450,000 strong crowd, below.