July 19, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, Bonnie Raitt!

Later in the day we're off the boat and back on the lawn, where the crowds have filled it up for the day's headliner, the perennially-popular Bonnie Raitt.

Thank god for IMAG or I never would've seen the girl.

We disagree about which song she used to open the set, he says Something to Talk About, I say Thing Called Love. We're probably both wrong because there was wine involved. But regardless, the darnedest thing happened. She broke a string on the first song. This can't be an unusual occurrence. So she calls out to her guitar wrangler for another guitar. Nothing happens. May I have the brown Strat? she asks again. No brown Strat comes forth. The momentum established by the first number grinds to an uncomfortable halt. "Bring the girl her brown Strat!" a woman sitting near me and I call out almost in unison. We look at each other and giggle and mime a fist bump. I almost never anymore call out at concerts, but again, wine involved.

It seemed like forever before a sheepish guy came out with the guitar, and I thought, that's one guy who'll be looking for work tomorrow. But the weird part was the reaction of the band. They stood there like deer in headlights, like no one had ever broken a string on stage before. No vamping, no teasing, no interplay. Silence. If there's one bit of road lore that follows Bonnie and her band everywhere it's that she and her boys are tight. Why weren't they supporting her? She wound up looking kinda silly. I realized then that even if you're the front gal holding the mic, the boys behind you hold most of the power.

Makes me wonder if there had been a little tiff earlier in the green room?


Bonnie, I suspect, has been dipping into the Miss Clairol #37R Kiss-My-Ass-Red. Artfully done. Her perfectly maintained silver streaks say, I have been around the block, boys and girls, and I plan to go around a few more times. Then I'm gonna stop by your house and kick your butt with some rockin' blues.

I don't mean to sound disrespectful, because I worship this woman. I mean, I'm not a lunatic fan, I just realized we don't even have Nick of Time in the collection. But as I write this I've got Luck of the Draw going for inspiration on the iTunes, and I find myself singing along loudly (sorry neighbor guy) with every lyric. By heart. Cuz I can't make you love me/if you don't. Her music has accompanied many scenes from my life, and I've loved every note of it. She makes you feel great about being a girl.


Anyway, all ended well. With brown Strat in hand, she regained control and reestablished the momentum of the evening, and we all wound up on our feet and clapping our hands and singing along, exactly where she wanted us. She wins over our wisecrackin' little Chicago hearts every visit.

'Bye girlfriend! Til next time!

1 comment:

Merlin's Mom said...

I'll match your Bonnie Raitte with an Emmy Lou Harris and raise you a Jo Dee Messina, Can't beat those strong women performers!