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Bonnie Raitt “the Great” radiant at Red Rocks

on September 9, 2016 No comments

Bonnie Raitt “the Great” radiant at Red Rocks


Bonnie Raitt’s birthday falls on Election Day, so it was no surprise that last night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Raitt continued her hallmark activism with several progressive political statements.

“Make me happy on my birthday!” she shouted, and announced that nonpartisan HeadCount was on-site to register voters.

Raitt was in appreciative spirits and good humor, super connected to her fans. “Thanks for giving up football for us,” she said, a nod to the Denver Broncos’ rematch of Super Bowl 50 that was happening miles away during the show.

Raitt’s emotional range was as wide as her vocal range. She joked about her hair, applying lipstick for love songs and phlegm. Yet she was dead serious about fracking, the presidential campaign and heartbreak.

Now into the fifth decade of her career, Raitt is arguably the most successful woman in the music business. Since 1971, she’s sold more than 16 million records and garnered 10 Grammys. Rolling Stone included her on its lists of both best singers and best guitarists of all time (number 50 and 89, respectively).

At Red Rocks, Raitt the Great demonstrated why. The woman could make a crowd cry just by singing the ABCs. Her scalding vocals were especially bewitching on stripped-down torch songs “Angel From Montgomery,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and “Dimming of the Day” — performed as a duet with opener Richard Thompson, who penned the song. And her slide guitar, as Bonnie herself once put it, sounded like bacon smells. That is, good, but with a little guilt.


Raitt’s career has traded more on covers than original songs. The set list included tunes by INXS, Los Lobos, John Hiatt and John Prine. But Raitt’s most recent record “Dig in Deep,” features songs she wrote. The band rocked “The Comin’ Round Is Going Through,” a guitar-thrashing protest song.
“Money has hijacked democracy,” Raitt said, “and I wrote this song to get it off my chest.”

Set list: Bonnie Raitt, 09/08/16, Red Rocks Amphitheatre

  1. Need You Tonight
  2. Used To Rule the World
  3. No Business
  4. Undone
  5. Shakin, Shakin, Shakes
  6. Not the Only One
  7. Dimming of the Day
  8. Round and Round
  9. I Feel the Same
  10. Hear Me Lord
  11. Something To Talk About
  12. The Comin’ Round Is Going Through
  13. Angel From Montgomery
  14. Don’t Answer the Door
  15. Gypsy In Me
  16. Good Man, Good Woman / I Believe I’m In Love With You
  17. What You’re Doin’ To Me
  18. I Can’t Make You Love Me
  19. Encore: Nick of Time
  20. Encore: You Got It / Sneakin Up On You/ Burning Down the House (mashup)
  21. Encore: Sweet and Shiny Eyes

Source: © Copyright The Denver Post

Bonnie Raitt and Richard Thompson Trio at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on 9/8/16

by Brett Garske

September 10, 2016

Walking up the stairs leading into Red Rocks Amphitheatre, it appeared the entryway was closed due to a number of people gathered by the gateway.  When I got closer, I realized it wasn’t a line… just music fans of advanced years trying to catch their breath from the steep climb.  It occurred to me that I might not be the Old Guy at the Show tonight.

B.B. King stated, “Bonnie Raitt was one of the best damn slide guitar players (ever).”  Rolling Stone Magazine ranks her in the top 100 best guitar players of all time.  She has a distinctive guitar tone, an amazing soulful voice, and a loyal fan base that has given her a career for over forty years.

Bonnie Raitt started with INXS’ I Need You Tonight from her latest album Dig in Deep (her 20th studio album).  She reshaped the 1980’s pop classic into a slow sexy blues number. Since Raitt has made a career transforming other artists’ music into her own, it was a perfect indicator of the night to come.  A few songs later, Raitt covered Los Lobos’ Shakin’ Shakin’ Shake.  The sign language interrupter off to the side of the stage momentarily stole the spotlight with her expressive signing and dancing (signing a song about shakin’ sure looks like fun).

Opener Richard Thompson joined her to play guitar on Not the Only One (he played guitar on the 1991 record).  Thompson continued to play while Bonnie Raitt covered his song Dimming of the Lights. It was momentous to see two legendary musicians perform together.

Her version of John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery was the highlight of the evening.  Armed with only an acoustic guitar, Raitt’s voice combined with the heart breaking lyrics echoing off the rocks on a perfect summer night melted the audience hearts… “just give me one thing that I can hold on to /to believe in this living is just a hard way to go.

Keyboardist Mike Finnigan took over vocals for a cover of B.B. King’s Don’t Answer the Door.  “Yes, I don’t want you to open the door for anybody, woman/ oh, when you’re home and you know you’re all alone.” He made the paranoid delusional hostage taking lyrics fun.  It made you want to dance instead of call the authorities.

Bonnie Raitt declared, “I am going to play this heart-breaking song because it comes with the gig” as an introduction to I Can’t Make You Love Me.  She played it on the keyboard with a slight delay for dramatic effect.   Raitt sang with such strong emotion the audience had a collective sigh when it ended.

When she wasn’t talking about the upcoming election or fracking between songs (in her charming non-preachy way), Raitt continuously reapplied lipstick.  She didn’t want to appear as a frazzled red dot for the fans in the cheap seats.  Raitt joked it the real reason behind her strict no camera policy.  It was lifted for the last song Your Sweet and Shinny Eyes.  Raitt remarked, “Look at all those fireflies coming out.”

The Richard Thompson Electric Trio opened the show.  Thompson is a renowned musician that has been performing since the late 1960’s. He started with the rocking Fork in the Road from last year’s Still album.  With his British accent Thompson clarified the title was Fork and to get your minds out of the gutter.  My favorite moment was when he put down his Stratocaster and picked up his acoustic guitar to play 1952 Vincent Black Lightning.  His unique finger picking was impressive and the song is my favorite motorcycle ballad ever (okay… it’s the only motorcycle ballad I know).

My Mother stated if I thought the crowd was of advanced years, she remembers Bonnie Raitt’s late father John Raitt performing on Broadway.  See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one contemplating about re-naming his blog.

Source: © Copyright Old Guy at the Show

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Review: Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

on September 2, 2009 No comments
By Jeremy Simon

Bonnie Raitt’s stunning voice nearly obscured her guitar work at her split bill with Taj Mahal at Red Rocks on Sunday.

Nearly 40 years ago, Bonnie Raitt opened up for Taj Mahal. Sunday night at Red Rocks, Taj returned the favor, in a sense. Not that either of them need much in the way of favors, at least so far as their music career goes. Raitt has won nine Grammy Awards and has been flashing Girl Power since long before any Spice Girl sported that slogan. And pioneering bluesman Taj Mahal was big before you were born.

He’s still big — big, big voice, and now a body to match. Taj Mahal kicked off an unusually blustery August evening fronting his seven-piece band through an instrumental standard blues progression, as if leading the band through calisthenics, and then taking on Bo Diddley’s “Diddy Wah Diddy.”

Sporting a Kangol hat and a khaki jacket, Taj exudes cool sexuality as he always has, but now at age 66 he no longer has to do so constantly. A few well-timed flashes of physical propulsion do the trick. In classics like “Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue” and newer renditions of classics like “Farther on Down the Road,” he let loose with a frosty voice — holding a ten-second note on the latter — that mixed titillation with a bit of road-warrior savvy. He went down real easy.

Would it be too boorish to admit I never realized Bonnie Raitt played some of the wicked guitar lines she clearly does play? No, not because I don’t think a woman can play guitar (I could feel the outrage from Raitt fans rising before I finished that last sentence), it’s just that her voice and sass are so at the forefront, and the rough-road-to-riches story so central to the Bonnie Raitt narrative, that you don’t much think about it unless you see her in person.

The BonTaj Roulet Tour - Red Rocks Amphitheater on the night of August 30, 2009
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The BonTaj Roulet Tour - Red Rocks Amphitheater on the night of August 30, 2009
The BonTaj Roulet Tour - Red Rocks Amphitheater on the night of August 30, 2009

If it were 20 years ago, I’d have seen on MTV, and I’d know better, but then on the cover of “Nick of Time,” you can’t actually see the guitar — only the strap. Like the rest of you, I blame the media.

I wouldn’t make that mistake after seeing her take on some scorching solos, especially during her hit “Thing Called Love,” which featured an exquisite guitar back-and-forth between Raitt and George Marinelli. And yet, she was at her finest during her encore, in a jazz singer sort of role. On “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” she wrung every note, every syllable for emotional content. It was delightful.

After the individual sets by Taj and Raitt, they merged their bands onstage for a showcase dual set with 11 musicians, including two drummers (essentially doubling parts). Raitt and Taj have superb charisma on their own, and are infectious together — they’re friends, flirty and ferocious when they take on the microphone and each other. That said, they’re a few luxury tour buses removed from the blues. Their valedictory electric set together was fun and no doubt virtuosic, but also a bit self-congratulatory.


Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt perform Taj’s “Done Changed My Way of Living” on NBCs The Today Show – July 30, 2009. Taj’s new CD “Maestro” is amazing with guests: Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Angelique Kidjo, Los Lobos, etc… He was just entered into the Blues Hall of Fame!

But they are a great pairing, as had been seen earlier in the evening. Midway through Raitt’s solo set, her band had left and Taj alone replaced them. For a few songs, including a rendition of Mississippi John Hurt’s “I’m Satisfied” in which intricate finger-picking merged with slide guitar, they hushed the crowd and showed it the fruits of 80 combined years of music-making. “It’s hard to turn a place like this into a little club,” Raitt said, “but I think we just did.”

Source: © Copyright The Denver Post – The Know

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REVIEW: Bonnie Raitt – August 29th, 2006 – Red Rocks, Morrison, CO

on August 30, 2006 No comments
By tdwenger

Scene: This show might well have been sold out. It was packed to the top of the amphitheater. The average age was probably a little over 40 with all sorts of people represented. There were bikers, hippies, preppy people and just about everyone in between. Bonnie sure has a diverse fanbase. The weather was beautiful about 70 with a slight chill in the air. Perfect late August night.

Opener: Keb’ Mo. I have been listening to Keb for more than 10 years now and while I think his more recently albums don’t highlight his strength in acoustic blues, I love seeing him perform live. His set was about 50 minutes and concentrated on material from his new album Suitcase. It was a strong set and after the first few songs he really loosened up and began to show his trademark charm. Toward the end of the set he picked up the pace and really got the crowd going with some scorching solos. The standouts in his tight five piece band were the bassist and the harmonica chops of his touring keyboard player. As he left the stage to a standing ovation the road crew brought out two chairs. As I expected Keb emerged seconds later hand in hand with Bonnie Raitt. Each played acoustic guitar trading licks and verses on one of my favorite Keb Mo tunes: “Every Morning” from his first album. Our first taste of Bonnie’s voice for the night proved to me that she hasn’t lost a step since she first played Red Rocks back in 1976, in fact her voice may be better than it was early in her career.

Keb’ Mo’ with Bonnie Raitt – Every Morning – Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver, CO – 8/29/2006

Bonnie Raitt: The lights went down about 8:45 and Raitt and her band took the stage to a thunderous ovation. Dressed a flowing blue blouse that called to mind Dolly Parton, they opened the show with “Roadrunner,” an old blues tune by Jr. Walker. That just gave us a taste of the blues she would serenade us with for the next hour and 45 minutes. Raitt and her band were having a great time all night, whether they were raging through a stomping blues tune, forgetting a lyric or berating President Bush, it was all smiles.

In my book keyboard player Jon Cleary would have stolen the show had it not been for the legend he shared the stage with. His New Orleans piano and Hammond B3 solos thrilled the crowd and had Raitt singing his praises all night. (His own band, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, is well worth the price of a ticket you ever get the chance). He got the chance to show off his vocal skills on a couple of tunes including a duet with Raitt on “Unnecessarily Mercenary” a track from her latest album Souls Alike. His own “Fools Game” was dedicated to anyone in the audience who had been a “fool in love.”

Midway through the set Raitt acknowledged the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting Cleary’s home town of New Orleans and dedicated “God Was In the Water” to all of the victims and survivors of that terrible storm. Raitt made another, more difficult, dedication shortly after when she dedicated “Nick of Time” to her parents whom she recently lost. While her voice didn’t crack once, she could be seen wiping tears away as she sang. The emotion that came through in her voice throughout the show frequently had members of the audience wiping away tears of their own. Despite this she got the crowd up on their feet and dancing several times throughout the night with songs like “Something to Talk About” and my personal favorite “Papa Come Quick” off of her Luck of the Draw album.

An emotionaly charged and highly energetic show came to an end with Keb Mo joining Raitt and her band on stage. Their enthusiastic and playful cover of Wilson Pickett’s 634–5789 was an upbeat way to send the crowd off into the night.

Energy: A-
Sound: A-
Muscianship: A
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: B+

Overall: A-

Source: © Copyright Listen Up Denver!
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