Bonnie Raitt needs no introduction; she has just released her impressive twentieth studio album, Dig In Deep, earlier this year.
Bonnie Raitt arrives in the North East of England for a sold out show at the prestigious Sage Gateshead on the banks of the River Tyne. Raitt opens her marathon two-hour career spanning set with one of the several covers included in the show this evening, “Need You Tonight,” once made famous by rock band INXS.
An overnight journey to Glasgow follows the show, and it seems fitting that Raitt would pay homage to one of her favorite artists and one of Scotland’s most famous sons Gerry Rafferty, by performing “Down The Line.” As with her approach to all of the covers in the set tonight, Bonnie makes them her own.
Despite a capacity crowd being attendance, the show has an intimate feel to it. Pulling up a pew at the front of the stage, Bonnie treats the audience to an acoustic blues segment featuring the likes of “Round and Round,” “Woman Be Wise,” and “I Feel The Same.” Bonnie’s story telling ability and wit brings the audience closer to her.
She builds up a rapport with the fans, having worked up a sweat during the show Raitt declares “I’m hot now” to which a member of the audience replies “You’ve always been hot” to which she replies “Thank you, honey. I will drink some tea to that.”
Raitt has a humbleness which you only get from a long and fruitful career in show business, whether she is thanking the artists she has worked with before each song, or her band and stage crew, she has gratitude in abundance.
Bonnie Raitt’s band features a world-class ensemble of musicians. She has great stage chemistry with guitarist George Marinelli; the pair plays off each other all night long. Likewise, keyboard player Mike Finnigan shines throughout, particularly during his spellbinding rendition of B.B. King’s “Don’t Answer The Door,” even Raitt seems transfixed by his playing as she watches on perched on top of her amp, before accompanying him with some sublime slide guitar play.
The Sage Gateshead is world renowned for being acoustically perfect, and that just makes witnessing Raittâ€™s, soulful vocals, and blistering slide guitar licks even more enjoyable particularly during timeless classics like “Angel From Montgomery” and “Something To Talk About.” The audience responds to each song with rapturous applause.
Raitt pulls up a seat alongside Mike Finnigan and accompanies him on keyboards to close out the main set with “What Your Doin’ To Me” from her latest offering. But they aren’t done yet, returning to the stage to finish the show with the beautifully heartfelt number “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” her take on the classic Talking Heads number “Burning Down The House,” and “Your Sweet And Shiny Eyes” from the 1975 album, Home Plate.
With a career spanning 45 years, Bonnie Raitt proves she is still one of the best in the game, can I get a witness.
Photo: C. Elliot