I have to admit that when I was asked to attend the Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett concert, I agreed but with some reservations. I am a music lover and listen to all genres, but while I had heard some of the artists’ work, I wasn’t very familiar with their music.
What I found at the concert was a combination of folk, blues, rock and gospel that left me in awe of both performers.
Lovett opened the three-hour show. Shy and a little nerdy-looking, Lovett sat centerstage throughout his set, his leg still recovering after being trampled by a bull six months ago.
While listening to Lovett, anyone not familiar with his work would wonder under what style his music should be categorized. From Western swing to jazzy blues to a Celtic intro, complete with wind pipes, Lovett’s tenor flowed easily with each song.
The Texas native would have been lost amongst his band — which included a four-piece horn section, two drummers, three backup vocalists and a cellist — were it not for his soft-spoken charm.
Lovett chatted and joked with his audience. The crowd broke into cheers as Lovett introduced “The Truck Song” and stated how wonderful it was to be in a place where “people understand what it’s like to be in a relationship with your truck.”
Lovett featured many of his musicians, including a solo by his cellist, John Hegan. The most awe-inspiring, however, was backup singer Francine Reed. In her lush alto voice, Reed brought the crowd to its feet with the 1924 blues song “Wild Women Never Get The Blues.”
Raitt quietly emerged from the shadows during Lovett’s encore. They traded verses and their voices meshed in great harmony in the tune “You Been So Good Up Till Now.”
When they coined the phrase “fiery redhead,” they must have been talking about Bonnie Raitt.
Raitt’s voice was a little raspy as she spoke with her audience, as she was recovering from a cold. A very down-to-earth performer, she joked with her band and her audience.
The cold, however, did not impair her clear, strong voice as she took the stage. Her sultry and distinctive voice soared through the blues-, gospel- and R&B-influenced songs that have become Raitt’s signature style.
Carrying a guitar that Raitt deemed too fabulous for even her, she showcased her slide guitar skills. Looking completely at ease, she showed the audience why so many have called her a slide guitar virtuoso.
Another talent that Raitt showcased was her great ability to pick good songs. She sang old favorites such as “Something To Talk About” and the soulful “Angel.” Her set also featured many songs from her latest CD, Silver Lining, including the title track.
When I first heard the song “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” it was love at first listen.
As the melancholy notes started to play during Raitt’s encore, I fell in love with that song all over again. It is great songs such as this one and the love and talent of artists such as Bonnie Raitt that make songs people remember and love.
Seeing these two artists was definitely a great experience. Raitt and Lovett play the music they love fearlessly and without reservation.
After this concert, Lovett and Raitt have earned the admiration and respect of another fan.