Something to Talk About

Bonnie Raitt. At the Arlington Theatre, Tuesday, February

This Valentine’s Day, while restaurants around town were, no
doubt, teeming with couples wining and dining, the legendary Bonnie
Raitt took stage at the Arlington, pouring her love into a
memorable performance. Raitt opened the night with a bang, playing
three impressive songs from her most recent album Souls Alike. The
politically charged “Unnecessarily Mercenary” set the energy and
tone of the show’s start, followed by the spiritually intense “God
Was in the Water.” Taking a moment to remark on the unfortunate
result of the presidential election, she then moved the crowd with
the defiant “I Will Not Be Broken.” Ever aware of the political and
social impact that fame brings, Raitt frequently uses her music to
speak her mind and her recent show was no different. Living up to
these ideals, Raitt spoke passionately about activism, proudly
citing the tour’s use of Biodiesel fuel as proof of how ideas can
be put into action. Equally passionate about matters of the heart,
Raitt also had a lot to say about relationships and made several
references to her own secret valentine. Even on softer ballads like
“I Can’t Make You Love Me,” her blues aesthetic soulfully expressed
the emotional truth of each song. During one especially poignant
moment, Raitt herself took to the keyboard for “Nick of Time” and
spoke touchingly about her relationship with her parents, who have
both recently passed away. On this emotional evening, Raitt
welcomed opening act Paul Brady to join her on the stage, letting
him know how much his presence means to her. These two skilled
songwriters showed obvious joy in performing three songs together,
including a solid rendition of “Luck of the Draw.” At all times,
Raitt’s graceful vocals and bluesy slide guitar mixed well with
keyboardist Jon Cleary’s subtle jazz touch, most notably on the
ballad “The Bed I Made,” the rock ’n’ roll piano song “Thing Called
Love,” and “I Believe I’m in Love With You.” But it was on “Women
Be Wise” that the duo soared, their chemistry bringing this classic
to new heights. Now that’s something to talk about.


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