Bristol shone with the Music From Bonnie Rait
The night was warm, and the people flocked into Colston Hall one name was on everybody’s tongues Bonnie Raitt. All eyes looked towards the slender figure of Bonnie Raitt who whilst taking centre stage, was in total command from the moment she said hello until the final wave goodbye to the stage and audience at Colston Hall tonight. Back in the U.K. after a three-year absence Bristol was welcoming her with open arms. Tonight, the last night of the UK leg of the Dig Deep Tour was an opportunity to hear music from her latest album and the many favourites filed under Bonnie specials. The set was entertaining, an enthralling two hours of music combining lyrics, tears, smiles and delicious slide guitar and the Californian sun-kissed bonhomie that exudes from Bonnie herself.
With a thank-you guys from Bonnie, and without further ado she opened with Need You Tonight. We certainly needed the music tonight and the familiarity of the INXS number, with its lively rocky blues tempo and the red-haired temptress on slide guitar. The drama was completed by the Nanosecond accuracy of the lightening and beat stopping together which just hit the visual mark. The combination of spotlights and the changing hues of the painted backdrop fitted every number. Bonnie’s slide took us on a ride of deep blue-hued grooves with lead breaks from George Marinelli’s guitar and Mike Finnegan’s keys.
Her interaction with the audience was flawless, her quips cutting and speaking in the crystal clear tones reflected in her glass slide on her finger. Her twentieth studio album Dig In Deep was mentioned as she talked about heartbreak, the dark side of love the effect of a cutting tongue on a relationship and we were hearing Undone live. Bonnie’s vocals were crisp and clear shaped with emotional colouring we cried with Bonnie, we laughed with Bonnie and sighed with Bonnie. The music was breathtaking the rhythm section of Ricky Fataar and James Hutchinson referred with affection as ‘Hutch’ by Bonnie filled in the deep tonal contours of the music they were the power that enabled the magic of Bonnie to fill the hall. The Acoustic guitar was now in her hands the worn Strat given a rest as a tribute was paid to Little Feat’s Lowell George as she thanked the audience and said it felt intimate like singing in a coffee house. Changing the set list as she went we heard from Give It Up, Love Me Like A Man another Chris Smithers number that suits her blues tone so perfectly. In the mix a Los Lobos cover, Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakin’ and Gerry Rafferty’s Right Down The Line. Bonnie understands the blues, the feel, the history and it’s ability to absorb from life’s experiences new tones and textures. Integral to the blues, and Colston Hall for few minutes tonight was filled with gospel led clapping. Tonight’s music is something we will be talking about for a long time and appropriately we heard Something To Talk About as the stage was swathed in pink lights. Followed by The Comin’ Round Is Going Through this was a powerhouse of acoustic perfection. Bonnie a Capella then picking up the melody on acoustic and the band joining in muted and the mandolin adding another layer of interest. The music washed the lyrics as her raspy vocals cascaded across the stage and into the auditorium. The applause was louder and warmer with every song. The tribute to BB King was special, handing over vocal duties and lead to Mike on keys, there is no doubt that the spirit and soul of BB entered Colston tonight with Mikes deep blue vocals and the organ full of light and shades of the blues. We were transported back in time by the music. Then the tempo picked up with some funky grooves and licks. All too soon Bonnie was leaving the stage full of energy after two hours of performance. The Crowd stood, stamped cheered we were rewarded with four numbers in the encore. Including I Can’t Make You Love Me, Bonnies eyes glistened with emotion and the audience had tears in their eyes as the music paused and flowed into Too Long At The Fair the emotions were running high. Bonnie drew breath as she once again thanked the band and praised the team around her heartfelt and full of warmth and for the cooking especially the custard! Somehow despite the capacity audience, tonight was an intimate show, Bonnie sang for each of us individually, her smile was for us and she was talking to me. Bonnie has a rare talent in entertainment the ability to make every note, word, and movement personal like a conversation between two best friends.
Tonight in Bristol the weekend started early on a Thursday night and nothing could top the music we heard tonight. Thank you, Bonnie Raitt, for dropping by and sharing music from deep within your heart and soul.