reCAP :: Bonnie Raitt :: 2013.11.19
The earth moved, the walls boomed, and bodies grooved on a cold November night at The Capitol Theatre. The incredible Bonnie Raitt finally made her way back to Port Chester, accompanied by her kickass band and her legendary bottleneck electric guitar style. From the moment she walked out on stage, Raitt was ready to shake up this rock palace she admires so much: “My old stomping grounds, The Capitol Theatre! Thank you!”
After folk-rock musician Marc Cohn opened for Raitt, she took the stage at 9PM to perform a two-hour set of pure rock and roll music. She opened the show with “Hear Me Lord” from her 2002 album Silver Lining, giving the audience an upbeat start to the night. Raitt graciously gave everyone in her band the spotlight with guitar and piano solos, performed by George Marinelli and Mike Finnigan. She cheered them on as they blew The Cap away with incredible blues grooves, showing she’s not just a headline. Bonnie Raitt is a team player.
The stage set-up was electrifying, and rightly complimented Raitt’s intimate, rock and blues music. The lights changed from a gold and purple color to a blue and green color scheme depending on the mood of the song, which accented her bold stage presence.
Her most magnetic moments came from the groove of her bottleneck electric guitar style on songs like “Used to Rule the World.” Bonnie Raitt stomped her left leg down in unison with the thriving drum beat, and sweetly made love to her guitar; every slide, strum, and bend on the strings illustrated infinite passion and soul. She was in an ultimate rock and roll state of mind.
Bonnie Raitt’s down to earth personality triggered a great rapport with the Port Chester audience. She told humorous anecdotes behind songs like “No Gettin’ Over You,” leaving us all with laughter: “When I do this song, I think about the ones that got away — the catch and release program.”
The night continued with Raitt and her band performing covers like “Standing in the Doorway” by Bob Dylan, “Dimming of the Day” by Richard and Linda Thompson, and “Right Down the Line” by Gerry Rafferty. She’s one of few artists who can deliver a cover song with just as much feeling as the original writer. She understands the ache and experience, and shares that depth with her audience; it’s quite overwhelming.
There’s no doubt that “Something to Talk About” was one of the highlights of her two-hour set at The Capitol Theatre. A handful of audience members rose on their feet as soon as she sang, “People are talkin’, talkin’ ‘bout people.” One man even danced up and down the aisle. Another poignant moment of the night was when Raitt performed the classic John Prine tune “Angel from Montgomery.”
She brought out John Hall to back her up on guitar, and dedicated the song to her mother who never earned enough praise for all the musical arrangements she co-wrote with Raitt’s father. When she sang the final line of the song, “To believe in this livin’ is just a hard way to go,” she did so with an incredible belly of soul — it brought rows of audience members to tears.
The first song during Bonnie Raitt’s encore at the end of the night was her 1991 hit song “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The purple lights dimmed, and a sweet spotlight was directed solely on Raitt, center stage. The entire theater was silent and hung on every painful lyric she sang with her angelic voice: “I can’t make you love me if you don’t/You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.” The power of Bonnie Raitt is she can deliver a feeling with her insanely beautiful voice that everyone wishes they can express, but have difficulty doing so.
After she finished performing the song, the audience roared with a standing ovation. Her head fell forward, and she hid her face behind her wavy, red hair — after composing herself, Raitt shared with us that this specific song, “Brought something that hurt me — every night’s a different pierce. Love is a fascinating thing, isn’t it?”
Bonnie Raitt concluded the night just how she started — with a pure rock and roll blues tune; she performed B.B. King’s “Never Make Your Move Too Soon” and Elvis Presley’s “A Big Hunk o’ Love.” Raitt was undoubtedly a red-hot force of nature; her heavenly voice echoing in the legendary space of The Capitol Theatre, and the sweet bottleneck sliding on her guitar, was a total religious experience. Not until this show has The Capitol ever hosted such a comforting, bold, and passionate musician. She’s one of the best things to happen to rock and roll.