Written by Eddie Ferranti
May 14, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageWhere does one begin when trying to talk about an icon like Bonnie Raitt? Is it the nine Grammys she has scored over her illustrious career?  Is it acheiving thee ultimate place in music history by being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000? Or do you talk about the 18 albums she’s put out over the years?  This night I’d like to dwell on Bonnie Raitt the person period.

Hitting the Houston Verizon Theater’s stage for the first time in “eons” per Miss Bonnie, she came a callin’ without a new album in tow, but instead chose to dust off old classics.  No problem there. Interwoven into this evenings gig was the tribute if you will to long time Austin, Texas fixture Stephen Bruton. Very shortly after she greeted the crowd,  BR became somber and told of the passing of this underrated music legend guitar player on 5/9/09, with whom she’d been friends for 38 years. This was the first Rosie &  I had of his passing. We had seen him in February 2008 and knew he was ill.

She must of dedicated at least 5 tunes to the man. Tears flowed down my cheeks as she did scorching versions of “Something to Talk About” and “Too Many Memories” (For One Heart To Hold), pointing skyward talking to Bruton. Dedicating “Angel from Montgomery” to Bruton’s wife Mary and mama Kathleen was touching as hell. Fab T-Birds “I Believe I’m In Love With You” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was done so powerfully that it left me stunned.  Touching and sincere. There’s two words that describe the musican who is Bonnie Raitt.

As a lucky dude who got to photograph this young lady on this special night,  I had goosebumps watching her play the sexiest slide guitar you’ll ever see. Worrying about “looking like a whale” being photographed made me chuckle. Hell this woman has nothing to be worried about folks. Wearing tight good lookin’ jeans and her patented mane of red hair, she looked marvelous. When she sat down by her lonesome and did a Chris Smithers tune “Love Me Like a Man”, it was as sexy as all get out. The package that IS Bonnie Raitt is the humble “wholesome bad ass” feel that she brings to the stage.

She paid tribute to the Verizon venue itself by stomping on the stage and saying how much she dug its “feel”.  I hear ya there girl.  I miss this venue badly.  With the House of Blues’ arrival, this place has good gigs too far and in-between for my taste.  When the right musicians play this building, it has great sound and lighting, which of course this gig did!  BR’s longtime band mates are sharp as nails, too. George Marinelli (guitar), James Hutchison (bass), Ricky Fataar (drums) and newcomer Ricky Peterson (keyboards) made it smooth sounding all night. Peter Thorn (opening act who kicked it!) stated early in his set how much a thrill it was to be around a caring person like Bonnie Raitt.  He said that she loves her dawg, who is blind and deaf.  Now that’s a lot of caring folks.

Raitt has taken us under her wing now 3 times in HMR’s existence, none better than the 7th row center seats she tossed our way this evening.  My emotions were all over the board the whole night, but her compelling 4 song encore-featuring “Love Sneaking Up On You” made the whole experience complete.  More than just a best selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter, BR has become an institution in American music.  God Bless her kind and caring soul and lets hope she comes back to Texas sooner rather than later……………Out, Edge