This review is long over due. Bonnie Raitt graced the stage of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre June 1st. I don’t use the term “grace” euphemistically. From the moment she walks on to the stage she treats her audience with the utmost class and respect. You never feel like she is dialing it in. For a performer with five decades and seventeen studio albums under her belt, she could just go through the motions. And she did mix it up when she joked with her band “Just because I made the setlist doesn’t mean I read it.”
While this was a tour prompted by the release of “Dig In Deep”, a album well worth a listen or ten, she only played a few tracks from this latest recording opening with “Unintended Consequence of Love”. She managed to include crowd-pleasing hits like Something to Talk About and Thing Called Love. She even responded off script to an audience request of Nobody’s Girl which required a couple of takes and a guitar retuning. She rocked the house with a sizzling spin through Talking Heads’ Burning Down The House, but was equally comfortable with a beautiful rendition of Angel From Montgomery. For that one, I had to text my daughter in Toronto to implore her to catch the upcoming show in TO.
Her band of George Marinelli on electric guitar, Hutch Hutchinson on bass, Ricky Fataar on drums and the great Mike Finnigan on organ were tight and professional. She took a one song break when Finnigan took over with a BB King number joking about having to follow Angel From Montgomery. By the time he was done, we really didn’t remember what he had followed.
The audience did appreciate Bonnie’s reference to it being good to be north of the border for a bit. We were glad to welcome her and would be happy to have her stay longer.
Royal Wood opened for Bonnie and gave us the warm up we wanted. He was musical and very personable. I imagine many were unfamiliar with his work and were pleasantly surprised. For my money, one of the classiest moments was bring Royal Wood back on stage for a curtain call.