Live Review: Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams at Chastain Park Amphitheater in Atlanta, 6/3/22
For fans of Blues guitarist Bonnie Raitt, her genuinely appreciative nature – she thanked the audience several times for being there – was nothing new. The 72-year-old singer/guitarist also pointed out the presence of the Ukrainian flag on the drum riser, imploring the crowd to help in anyway they could. Throughout her 50-year career, Raitt has been a bastion of activism, supporting such causes as the Vietnam antiwar movement in the 70s, to No Nukes rallies, pro-environmental stances, all the while fighting for social justice and human rights. With her progressive attitudes and actions, lest we forget her rich and successful music career, and her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
With the threat of rain subsiding, it was a spectacular night in Atlanta. Raitt’s voice has stood the test of time, still retaining its rich and beautiful tones. Her well-known slide guitar playing has helped to keep the Blues alive and thriving for continued generations. She is touring in support of her first new studio album in six years, Just Like That… (on her very own Redwing Records) a critical and commercial success, taking the top spot in six different categories on the Billboard charts in only its first week of release.
For the show opener, Raitt trotted out the first single from the new album, “Made Up Mind,” a slow-burning and bluesy gem. She went on to play five songs from the latest release, and judging by the crowd’s reaction were very well-received. Between songs, the artist conversed with the band and included stories of member’s tenures in the group, comprised of James “Hutch” Hutchinson on bass guitar (who has recorded and toured with Raitt for over 30 years), South African drummer Ricky Fataar (The Rutles), Glenn Patscha on keyboards and vocals, Duke Levine on guitars and vocals, and George Marinelli (Bruce Hornsby and the Range) also guitars and vocals.
With all the diehard fans in attendance, Raitt had many sing-alongs, but added some well-known covers that sucked everyone else in to her magical spell. A one-two-three punch began with the INXS classic “Need You Tonight,” a surprising selection powered by Raitt’s solid slide. Up next was the late John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery,” of which Raitt has stated impacted her profoundly, that a man could inhabit a woman’s reality and point of view: “I am an old woman named after my mother / My old man is another child that’s grown old / If dreams were lightning, thunder were desire / This old house would have burnt down a long time ago.” Raitt and Prine performed the song together many times live and on recordings. Finally, the band roared into the Talking Heads breakout hit “Burning Down The House,” with an infusion of funk and blues guitar even David Byrne would be proud of.
A brief encore included the mesmerizing and heartbreaking, “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Contrary to the song’s title, that is exactly what happened in Atlanta. Who doesn’t love Bonnie Raitt? For more information on her tour, and to buy the stunning Just Like That…, visit her website.
Lucinda Williams held the opening slot and despite a 2020 stroke, maintained those sweet Americana and folk sounds. After the stroke, Williams was unable to walk without a cane and could not properly play her guitar. But a steady regimen of physical therapy and a never-say-die attitude prepared her to tour with Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit just a few months later. Now, touring with Raitt has made this a powerful two-woman show with two American icons. Although her movements were a tad slower, Williams made the best of it, pleasing the crowd with several servings from her dynamic career. For more info, visit her website.
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Categories: Live Reviews