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Raitt and band tough to beat

on April 29, 1980 No comments
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by DAVID WINKELSTERN – Journal Correspondent


There were about 1,500 empty seats in the Michigan State University Auditorium Monday night. That meant that at least that many people missed one of the better shows to come to town in a long time.

Bonnie Raitt and her band gave a performance that will be tough to beat. When she spoke, her voice sounded coarse. When Raitt sang, the sound was pure, clean and sweet. If the concert featured only her forceful vocals, it would have been enough. Together with a five-piece band that played with definite authority, it was a show to remember.

THE OPENING group was no easy act to follow either. 81-year-old Sippie Wallace was escorted to a microphone on the stage. She used a cane and she leaned on the piano while she sang. Wallace first recorded in 1923.
Many of the blusey tunes she sang last night were from the twenties. A fine Dixieland style band in matching tuxedos gave the Auditorium more of a ballroom atmosphere.
Wallace’s voice and presence had real class.

There is no question that Sippie Wallace has been around a long time. About ten years ago, she was having an influence on Bonnie Raitt. The two sang together at the end of the opening set.
That first appearance by Raitt was enough to tease the audience.
Wearing tight designer jeans and a low cut black glitter top, she looked and sounded good.

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RAITT RETURNED to the stage with a collection of musicians as good as any you could find anywhere. When they finally left after a third encore, those that did make the show had to go home satisfied.
The songs and Raitt’s singing sometimes rocked and sometimes soothed.
A tasty version of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” or the send-the-chills-down-the spine rendition of the classic “Runaway” were both worth the price of a ticket.
Raitt’s slide guitar work was hot stuff. It did not seem to matter that John Lee Hooker never did show up for an opening set of his own.
The music and performance oozed a feeling of quality.


Source: © Copyright Lansing State Journal Archive
Lansing State Journal – April 29, 1980
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