just like that tour 2022

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Concert Review: Bonnie Raitt is Timeless

on August 25, 2022 No comments
by Madison Miller

I first heard Bonnie Raitt’s velvety falsetto on my mom’s worn Magnavox boombox when I was 10 years old. I was immediately captivated by “Give It Up or Let Me Go,” the opening track off Raitt’s 1972 sophomore album Give It Up.  Her twangy guitar and genre-melding style made me an immediate fan. (It helped, too, that she was a fellow redhead.) Her music quickly became pivotal to the soundtrack of my adolescent years.

When it was announced Raitt and soul-music legend Mavis Staples were stopping by Woodinville’s Chateau Ste. Michelle as part of Raitt’s “Just Like That…” tour, I couldn’t pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these two legends take the same stage.

It was a humid August evening — the kind normally best spent convening around an air conditioner — but hundreds of people, like me, knew this experience was worth the sweat.

Staples, who took the stage at 7 p.m. sharp, is 83, but her recognizably rich and husky voice remains just as powerful as it was decades earlier. The Staple Singers’ frontwoman performed old favorites like “I’m Just Another Soldier” and “Handwriting On The Wall” but kept audiences on their toes with inventive, unexpected covers of Funkadelic’s “Can You Get To That” and Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” — the latter of which was a special tribute to David Byrne.

Mavis Staples performing in 2021.  Courtesy of Staples’ Facebook page

Staples unsurprisingly closed her set with “I’ll Take You There,” the Staple Singers’ most enduring hit. It might have been her umpteenth time playing it, but the performance was so spirited that even the mouth-breathing, obliviously chatty corporate types seated next to me couldn’t help but sit up and pay attention. 

After a short transition period, Raitt appeared on stage in a parakeet-green blouse and her scorching red hair curled perfectly to accentuate her trademark bride of Frankenstein-esque shock of white bangs. She opened with “Made Up Mind,” the lead single off her first new album in six years, Just Like That… I was immediately struck by how little Raitt’s voice, put through 50 years of touring, had changed as she deftly navigated “Made Up Mind”’s fluttering falsettos. Raitt continued with other new-album highlights like “Waitin’ for You to Blow” — a song she described as like having a conversation with the devil on your shoulder — “Blame it On Me,” “Livin’ for the Ones,” “Just Like That,” and a few selects from her decades-running discography. 

Raitt’s crescendoing setlist took a somber turn when it came time for her renowned cover of  the late John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.” Before the song began, she shared her memories of Prine, who died in 2020, and reiterated her everlasting love for the singer-songwriter before dedicating the song to him. I didn’t notice any dry eyes within my 30-foot radius, and I’d like to think that was a testament to the power of Raitt’s timeless talent more than the contributions of the plentiful wine refills the audience enjoyed throughout the night. 

Raitt closed with her career-marking hits “Something to Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The audience seemed to know most, if not all the words, to Raitt’s songs throughout the night, but it was these two Luck of the Draw tracks that clearly remain the fondest in most people’s hearts. As I watched this age-spanning crowd belt along with Raitt, I reflected on how many generations she’s impacted, and how, while some music may go out of style, hers never has.

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Source: © Copyright 425 Magazine

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Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples in a WW Bubble

on August 25, 2022 No comments
By Lane Gwinn

Walla Walla – Two legends performed last Tuesday at Walla Walla’s newest music venue. Gospel singer Mavis Staples opened the show, followed by blues guitarist and singer Bonnie Raitt at the Wine Country Amphitheater.

W3Concerts, with partners CMoore Concerts and Knitting Factory Entertainment is producing the first concert series on the driving range at the Walla Walla Golf Course. The gently sloped range is a natural amphitheater with excellent sound. The evening was hot, over 100 degrees; the crowd was large, with over 4,000 fans, yet it felt cool, intimate, and easy.

Mavis Staples is an American gospel singer and civil rights activist who has won Grammys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and honored by the Kennedy Center. She joined the family’s gospel group, The Staple Singers, when she was eleven in 1950. Their music was inspirational and often political as they performed through some of the most contentious decades in the country’s history.

Mavis Staples joined Raitt on the tour this summer. Her voice and energy seem to be timeless.
Drawing by Lane Gwinn

At Wednesday’s concert, Staples sang anthems of freedom and respect from the sixties and seventies. Listening to the lyrics, it was amazing how timely they have again become. Staples sees performing music as an act of kindness and fellowship, and her joyful spirit is irresistible. That generosity of spirit carried over when Raitt took the stage later, brimming with happiness at being able to play anywhere after years off due to the pandemic.

Bonnie Raitt and her band began playing as the sun set in the wheatfield behind the stage. Her set included blues, pop, covers, and originals. She sang personal songs written by beloved collaborators and icons, the music she carries with her. There is no way to remain unmoved when she sings John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.” Her recording of that song is well known, however, when she performs it live, her blues roots are evident as she sings around the tune, making it new and powerful.

Raitt told the audience that she and the tour were traveling in a tight bubble. In the age of COVID-19, an outbreak can derail a tour, and performers are careful after performing live again after the pandemic. The bubble also protects Staples, who though her strong voice belies her age, is 83.

Another action the tour took to protect its stars was to prohibit all photography. As press, I am usually allowed to bring a digital camera with several lenses to take photos of the show and the venue. Typically, at a concert, professional photographers are asked to take pictures only during a specific song, usually the second song of the set. Performers use that time to give photographers the best angles and iconic poses. During the rest of the show, the band can concentrate on the performance and the music, not on how they’ll look in a poorly timed photo.

At the beginning of the concert, the audience was also asked not to take pictures or videos. For the most part, phones seemed to be put away. There are several reasons performers ask fans to put their phones away, mainly for image control keeping unflattering photos off the internet. Another is to create an event where everyone is truly present, no selfies, no social media, and all eyes on the show. It was certainly what I experienced that night with my camera back at the office. I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Source: © Copyright The Times Waitsburg

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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.”

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

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.”

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Source: © Copyright The Lincoln Journal Star

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