by: MaryKay – July 14, 2006
I am not going to begin with, “Bonnie Raitt is a legend come to life on the stage.” Or even, “Ms. Raitt shows us what female guitar icon really means.” Nor will I use, “Bonnie wears her guitar as easily as second skin.” Though I wouldn’t be lying.
This is how I’m going to start. The girl is fearless.
On a hot Sunday night, at the Bank of America Pavilion, fearless Bonnie proclaimed, “It’s good to be back here!” She then banged out Jr. Walker’s “Roadrunner” which set the tone for a show that was at times absolutely rocking, and at times profoundly reflective but always pleasing. Raitt played several songs from her new CD, Souls Alike, such as the mystical “God Was in the Water,” dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. She then teamed up with keyboardist Jon Cleary for a duet on “Unnecessarily Mercenary,” a bouncy bluesy track from the same album.
Bonnie also called on a local blues great Jim Fitting from The Coots (formerly of Treat Her Right) to play snazzy harp during “Never Make Your Move too Soon,” and the steamy “Love me Like a Man.” The crowd of nearly 5,000 went nuts.
Bonnie spoke of how great her band was, praising their synchronicity in a slightly wicked fashion as “the best car, the best ride… the best ‘umm’ you ever had!” It’s these kind of statements that she uses to make the audience feel like they’re just sitting around in her living room. Lifting up her heavy red hair, she also commented on feeling the heat in these last few venues of this leg of the tour. At another point she explained her slight wriggling in her chair, because “my jeans are riding up.” Fearless!
Bonnie Raitt grew up with not only artistic roots – her father, singer John Raitt was well known on Broadway, and her mother was singer/pianist Marge Goddard – but with Quaker sensibilities as well. In the late 1960s she moved from Los Angeles to Cambridge, MA and quickly became engrossed in university (Harvard/Radcliffe) studies by day, and the coffeehouse life at night; learning more about music and social activism. She’s thrived in both areas. She helped co-found MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) and has worked in numerous projects for preserving our forests, women’s rights, and the anti-apartheid mission. After winning multiple Grammy awards, Bonnie Raitt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2004 she joined the Vote for Change tour (Along with this night’s opening act, Keb’ Mo’). As part of her Green Highway project, Bonnie Raitt currently uses biodiesel fuel (B20) in her tour buses and semi’s.
In another candid moment, Bonnie confided she wasn’t sure if she was going to play her next selection, “Nothing Seems to Matter,” it had depended on if she was in a good mood, or a cranky one. She explained that she wrote the song when she was 21, living in Cambridge, and she’s “since made friends with it.” “Matters,” reminiscent of Carole King, was a poignant piece on lost love. It segued beautifully into the anthem “I Will Not be Broken” off of Souls Alike.
The last few years have not been easy for Raitt, both parents passed away in late 2004 and early 2005. A brother has battled brain cancer; luckily the disease is in now in remission. Her bittersweet performance of “Nick of Time” was prefaced by Bonnie stating, “ [sing] this for my parents, as I do every night now.”
She ended her main set with of her more popular tunes, “Something to Talk About,” “Love Sneaking up on You,” and slow, sad but sweet “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Once again, Cleary was given the chance to shine on this last one – finishing the song with a fantastic keyboard solo.
A superb ending to the night was the encore with Keb’ Mo’, together they moved from “Love Letter” to the gorgeous “Angel from Montgomery,” and ended with playful cover of Wilson Pickett’s “634–5789.”
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Concert Review: Bonnie Raitt – Boston, MA (July 2, 2006)