My first real memory of being conscious of the fact that Bonnie Raitt was a singer who exists in the world was back in middle school when the song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was inescapable. I wasn’t particularly fond of the song then. Being all of 13 years old it really didn’t speak to me at the time. It has grown on me over the years, but it’s still not one of my favorite Bonnie Raitt songs. I do know some older Bonnie Raitt songs that either seeped into my world after they came out or which I knew, but as a child never really connected with Bonnie Raitt. Essentially what I’m saying is that Bonnie Raitt first came into my life at a time when I wasn’t really ready to embrace her, but as I’ve gotten older and wiser I’ve fallen in love with her music.
Thus at this late date in her musical career I finally saw Bonnie Raitt live on Wednesday night. I admit that I probably wouldn’t have made a great effort to go see her. She’s also playing at Wolf Trap this week, which as you know is one of my favorite venues but it’s a trek to get to and I don’t know that I would have decided to make it for her. However she was playing at Pier Six Pavilion which is very close to my house in Baltimore and is a nice little venue right on the harbor, so I decided it was definitely a show I should go to.
I’m glad I did because it was a great concert. Sometimes you see people who have been performing for a long time and think I definitely missed out on seeing them in their prime. Bonnie Raitt is the opposite of that in that I thought wow she’s a veteran performer and it shows. She still commands the stage and plays a mean guitar.
She played a really good mix of songs stretching from her decidedly blues songs from the 70s to the more pop rock and country influenced music of the 90s, up to her recent albums that have more an Americana feel. They all blend together and overlap, but I at least feel that’s the way her music has sort of evolved over the decades. She included a number of covers and did a lot of talking to the audience between songs, both of which you know I really like in a concert. She is a fantastic performer and really shows why she is part of musical history.
In addition to the great performance it was just a perfect night to be at an outdoor concert. The view was beautiful and there was a nice breeze coming off the water. It really was a perfect summer night and reminds me why I love this time of year so much. There’s nothing like sitting outside on a beautiful summer night listening to live music under the stars.