On a hot night in Lincoln, Bonnie Raitt’s performance might have been hotter

on August 3, 2022 No comments
L. Kent Wolgamott

Bonnie Raitt clearly loves playing Pinewood Bowl and the 2,500 or so who made it to the Pioneers Park amphitheater Tuesday clearly love her, too.

Taking the stage at 8:15 p.m., with “Made Up Mind.” the first of a handful of songs from her new album that would turn up in the 90-minute set, Raitt then looked out at the bowl and said:

“It’s such a show for me to be in the daytime and be able to see everybody. You look great. It’s a blessing to be out in this festival-like setting again.”

So began another lovely Lincoln performance from Raitt, who cycled through her hits, played the new record and connected the audience through her music and words, spoken and lyrics.

Grammy Award winning American blues singer Bonnie Raitt performs at the Pinewood Bowl, Lincoln, NE – August 2, 2022 © Noah Riffe /Journal Star

The latter occurred touchingly when she took a seat on a stool, picked up an acoustic guitar and introduced a song “Just Like That” she’d written with her friend John Prine — a touching story about a mother listening to her son’s transplanted heart through a man’s chest.

Then came the blues of “The Road’s My Middle Name” before she strapped on her Stratocaster and pulled the crowd out of its seat with a slide-guitar rockin’ “Something to Talk About.”

It was followed by a driving new number written to honor those who died from COVID by “Livin’ for the Ones.”

Raitt acknowledged the evening’s sultry conditions early and often.

“We came in from the dressing room, which is arctic village in there,” she said after the second song. “I’m trying to keep my ‘do together. We’re not used to this heat. We’re usually dancing around up here. But we’re going to keep it chill.”

Later she talked about pulling her bus over to get lemon soft-serve ice cream on the way into the bowl earlier in the day during soundcheck.

Among the other show’s highlights were a swinging version of John Hiatt’s “No Business” and her jerky stomp blues cover of InXS’ “Need You Tonight.” and, of course, her achingly beautiful version of “Angel from Montgomery” in honor of Prine, who wrote it.

Raitt was terrific vocally from start to finish, clear, expressive and soulful and she sure can play guitar as can her guitarist Duke Levine.

Bonnie Raitt and guitarist Duke Levine performing at the Pinewood Bowl, Lincoln, NE – August 2, 2022 © Noah Riffe /Journal Star

As she set up for the set closer – an insistent blues rock run on Talking Head’s “Burning Down The House, Raitt made a final reference to her return to the “beautiful” bowl.

“It’s been a pleasure coming back and playing for you. That we could reunite … It’s been a pleasure playing in this heat with you.”

The legendary Mavis Staples opened the evening with 50 minutes of gospel and soul, highlighted by a deep-hearted take on The Band’s “The Weight” in which she shared vocals with her backing singers and guitarist.

Staples, who turned 83 last month, sat down a few times, resting in the heat. But her voice was there with all its gravelly strength and she was in high spirits throughout.

The veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement continued her lifelong activism with a spirited version of “My Country,” her anthem of struggle rewarded.

But she said the struggle for the country has to continue:

“I’m not too proud right now,” Staples said. “I don’t feel too good about it. I don’t like what I’m seeing. Too many guns, nobody’s doing anything about it. I’m seeing too many babies aren’t getting enough to eat. And you’ve got one guy who’s trying to stop us from voting. You can’t stop me from voting.

“If it keeps on, I might run for president myself. Vote Mavis.”

After turning “I’ll Take You There” into a call-and-response, Staples left the stage with this:

“My family, the Staples Singers, we’ve been taking you there for 74 years and I’m not tired yet. You ain’t seen the last of me. I’ll be back.”

Source: © Copyright The Lincoln Journal Star


But wait, there's more!

Review: Bonnie Raitt gets friendly, frisky and emotional in her return to Minnesota
In her first Gopher State headline gig since 2016, the Hall of Famer gave shout-outs to many local musicians.

on July 30, 2022 No comments
By Jon Bream
Bonnie Raitt – Just Like That… Tour 2022 with Special Guest Mavis Staples

WAITE PARK, Minn. — Before Bonnie Raitt even sang a note at the Ledge Amphitheater on Friday night, she exposed her deep Minnesota roots.

“Minnesota!” she declared when she hit the stage. “Nice to be back. What a beautiful venue.”

After her first tune, she gave shout-outs to Minnesota music institutions Lamont Cranston, Willie Murphy, Tony Glover and Dave Ray. The singer-guitarist, who recorded her debut album on Lake Minnetonka in 1971, reminisced about her hard-partying days in the Twin Cities in the ’70s and ’80s.

She explained that if she hadn’t gotten sober that “a half-hour after I finished [performing tonight], I’d be in that water,” she said, referring to a mini-lake in the quarries of the Ledge. “Buck naked. And all my family from Minneapolis would be with me.”

In her first headline concert in Minnesota since the 2016 State Fair, Raitt was in great spirits Friday, carrying on as if she were in her living room, not a picturesque outdoor venue with 4,200 adoring fans. She kept changing the set list, flirting with an agile dancing man in the front row and apologizing to the sign language interpreters whenever she dropped a word not suitable for this newspaper.

Her friendliness was engaging, but the casualness also negated the momentum of the show. There were many highlights (as two full standing ovations and four partial ones attested) but no flow toward a climactic pre-encore finale and no familiar, high-energy sendoff (she opted for the obscure “One Belief Away” with its deliciously liquid Afrobeat rhythm).

However, there was a consistent emotionalism throughout that made the 100-minute performance rewarding. Lacking the road-weary rasp of the past, her voice was rich, soulful and strikingly heartfelt, especially on the impossibly sad ballads “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (featuring newcomer Glenn Patscha’s elegantly despondent piano) and John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery,” about a woman trapped in a marriage.

Equally emotional was the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s slide guitar work, with a remarkable range of moods including mournful (“Blame It on Me”), mystical (“Back Around”), sensual (“Need You Tonight”), joyful (“Something to Talk About”), stinging (“Livin’ for the Ones”), sly (“Have a Heart”) and funky (“You Got the Love”).

Raitt, 72, offered five selections from her excellent 2022 album, “Just Like That,” including the title track, a true-story ballad about a woman who lost her 25-year-old son but got to hear his heart transplanted in another man. It was a riveting tale of grace that enthralled the sellout crowd.

Other standout new numbers included the slow-burn blues “Blame It on Me,” the night’s first cry of sadness, and the hopeful Stones-like rocker “Livin’ for the Ones,” dedicated to Raitt’s late brother Steve, a longtime Twin Cities sound engineer/producer.

Before the night was over, Raitt mentioned the State Fair, First Avenue and the Joint bar as well as Spider John Koerner, Willie & the Bees, the T.C. Jammers, Melanie Rosales, Ricky Peterson, Margaret Cox, Bobby Vandell (who was in the audience) — pretty much any Minnesota musician on the scene before Prince.

“I love you, too, Minnesota,” she shouted after the night’s final standing ovation. “I feel it, too.”

Opening the concert was Mavis Staples, 83, a force of happiness, inspiration and positivity. The Rock Hall of Famer’s spirit, energy and growling gospel messages were infectious. It’s too bad that she didn’t duet with Raitt as they did when they toured together 10 years ago.

Jon Bream has been a music critic at the Star Tribune since 1975, making him the longest tenured pop critic at a U.S. daily newspaper. He has attended more than 8,000 concerts and written four books (on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan). Thus far, he has ignored readers’ suggestions that he take a music-appreciation class.

Source: © Copyright StarTribune


But wait, there's more!

REVIEW: Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples offer a night to remember

on July 30, 2022 No comments
by Bruce Miller

Bonnie Raitt made waiting through the pandemic worthwhile.

Playing at the Orpheum Theatre Saturday night, she reminded us why live music is so important and why you can’t take magic moments for granted – or embrace them through a cellphone video.

Offering up plenty from her new album, “Just Like That,” including a nice chunk from “Nick of Time,” and singing a couple of memory songs, she brought plenty into focus and led us to believe she could be back in the Grammy hunt.

The title cut, inspired by a woman who was about to meet the recipient of her late son’s heart, captured so much of the pain, hurt – and hope – we’ve been feeling, it emerged as something more than others have produced during the past three years. Other songs – “Made Up Mind” and “Living for the Ones” – combine to paint a picture that we couldn’t.

Bonnie Raitt’s 21st studio album, “Just Like That,” addresses issues close to her heart.© Marina Chavez

Paired with “Angel From Montgomery,” a song Raitt has been performing with the late John Prine, and, well, you got a very succinct look at the way emotions can manifest.

Luckily, Raitt had those upbeat hits like “Something to Talk About” to keep the night from becoming a “what was.” She was good at bantering, too, and putting everything in context. A Ukrainian flag represented her support for the people of that war-torn country; a screen with what looked like a vast sky at various times of day, set the scene for everything.

She talked about old friends that were no longer around, dished about a new venue that looked like it was made out of “Flintstones rocks” and admitted “Blame It on Me” was one of her favorites from the new album.

Her voice was still just as touching as always; her guitar ability was sharper than ever.

Her choice of openers, too, was pretty darn good. Veteran Mavis Staples, she said, was an inspiration.

At 83, Staples was more than that. A force (that’s the easiest way to describe her), she sang like she was bringing the whole Staples Family on stage. On “This Is My Country,” she cut through all the talking-heads nonsense and put the nation’s divide into perspective. On “I’m Just Another Soldier,” she dug deep and pulled out that rasp that made breastbones rattle.

When a fly started buzzing around her, Staples tried to swat it away but couldn’t. After the song was over, she said, “That shows I still got it,” and burst into laughter. “That was the biggest fly I’ve ever seen.” Sioux City would be known as the place where “giant flies are swarming around the artist.”

After “My Country,” Staples said, “I just might run for president.” If Saturday’s crowd was an indication, she’d win in a landslide. She did plenty of her family’s songs (Staples music has been around for 74 years) and closed with “I’ll Take You There,” a classic that was about as perfect as an opening act could get.

Raitt picked up the baton and continued the charge, winning plenty of admirers for that new album and a place for herself in the business as someone who remembers the past but builds for the future.

Another Grammy for Raitt’s shelf? Bank on it. Saturday’s concert was a down payment.

Bruce Miller is editor of the Sioux City Journal. He has covered entertainment for more than 40 years and teaches newswriting at Briar Cliff University.

Source: © Copyright Sioux City Journal


But wait, there's more!