After 50 years of music, Bonnie Raitt still dazzles in Missoula concert
(Missoula Current) The first time I saw Bonnie Raitt was in 1977 at the last Aber Day Kegger. I was working on stage with the sound company (University Center Sound Department) doing the monitors.
As Bonnie Raitt opened her concert at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater on Friday ,46 years later, she mentioned to the audience how she remembered that time as special. Perhaps a few in the crowd were there and also remembered.
This lady of the blues began performing in 1971. By the time she headlined the 1977 Aber Day Kegger, Raitt was beginning to realize commercial success when her Album “Sweet Forgiveness” included the hit single of her remake of Del Shannon's 'Runaway.'
She turned this pop song into an intense blues song that, to this day, resonates as a great story of relationship loss that only the blues can deliver. There's a great video on You Tube of her performance at Montreaux in 1977. As one of the sound people working the Keggers, much of the day is a blur in my memory, however, her singing “Runaway' is one great memory.
The 80's were a time of artistic and personal struggles. Her albums lacked commercial success and she was dropped by Warner Brothers Records. She struggled with alcohol and drug issues but continued touring and appeared in the 1987 Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night.
Soon after this clean and sober she started working on new material that resulted in her seminal album “Nick of Time” in 1989. Raitt has always had the attention of her musical peers. Linda Ronstadt noted, "Of my own peers, Bonnie Raitt has way more musicianship than I do."
David Crosby has said that Raitt is his favorite singer of all time. She has won Grammy's, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, and given a Lifetime Achievment Award by the Americana Music Honors and Awards.
Often, a lifetime achievement award is given near the end of an artist's career. But in Bonnie Raitt's case, she has continued the music that she began so many decades ago. Her live concert is a testament to her brilliance as one of the countries true musical gems.
Producer and master slide guitarist, Roy Rogers, opened for his good friend. Rogers was a member of John Lee Hooker's Coast To Coast Band and also produced four of Hooker's albums. Having him open for Bonnie Raitt was an added bonus that made the clear evening special.