Raitt Delivers a Mighty Tight Set

Bonnie Raitt - February 18, 2006 - Albuquerque

First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2006, Volume 13, #2

Written by Todd Winge


Seeing Bonnie Raitt perform in a live setting is akin to slipping into a favorite pair of jeans. Though a bit faded and worn, there also is a level of familiarity that is inherently comforting. Presenting a satisfying mix of old and new material, Raitt and her band delivered an inspired show at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque on Saturday, February 18. In fact, three of the four tunes that opened the concert were taken from her recent album Souls Alike, and all of them held up remarkably well against the impressive back catalogue of tracks upon which she drew for the rest of the evening. Although she reached as far back as her self-titled debut from 1971 for a cover of Sippie Wallaceís Mighty Tight Woman, almost half of the 17-song set list was composed of strong material from her two amazing comeback albums: 1989ís Nick of Time and 1991ís Luck of the Draw.

Moving from her vast array of Fender Stratocaster guitars, Raitt settled behind her keyboards for a stirring rendition of the title track from Nick of Time, which she dedicated to her parents. She introduced a smoldering version of Spit of Love by saying, "Love isnít always pretty, and besides, Valentineís Day is over," which brought a chuckle from the audience.

At one point, Raitt gave herself a backhanded compliment about her ability to play guitar, but throughout the evening she proved that she is a master of her instrument. In particular, she displayed her impressive prowess on a quartet of acoustic selections that were tucked into the center of the program.

Raitt and her band were polished and tight throughout the hour and 45-minute concert, and she concluded the main set with rockiní renditions of her big hits Thing Called Love, Something to Talk About, and Love Sneakin' Up on You. Raitt ó who is in her mid-50s, but easily looks as fit as someone half her age ó began her encore with powerful, mood-setting, vocal performances of The Bed I Made and I Canít Make You Love Me. She commented on celebrating her 19-year "sobriety birthday" a day earlier, and then she moved back to her Strat for a strong version Love Letter, which closed the show. Her down-to-earth sense of humor and great rapport with the audience made the evening tremendously enjoyable and gratifying.

Opening the concert was singer-songwriter Paul Brady, who delivered a solid and very entertaining hour-long set. He then joined Raitt and her band during the middle of their portion of the show for three songs, including the hits Luck of The Draw and Not the Only One, both of which he penned.


Editor's Note:  Todd Winge is the Online Producer for the Albuquerque Journal. This article was originally posted on the Albuquerque Journal website. It has been edited and reprinted with the full permission of Todd Winge.


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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box