Review: Bonnie Raitt/Keb Mo in Hollywood

Mary Katherine Aldin
Sun Jun 14 14:43:19 EDT 1998

Well, what a thoughtful gesture on Bonnie's part, to do three nights at a
theater that's right down at the bottom of the hill I live on!
Here's a brief review, prefaced by the caveat that she was kind enough to gift
me with two tickets ($47.50 each!) and backstage passes, and that she's been a
good friend to me for over two decades. That aside, if I had bought these
tickets I would still have gotten my money's worth.
The Pantages Theater is an  old Hollywood landmark, often the site of the
Academy Awards in days of yore. A classically beautiful theater in the grand
Keb Mo did an excellent opening set, switching between acoustic guitar and
National. He was occasionally accompanied by a young man who played banjo and
guitar (not simultaneously!), and despite the fact that Keb introduced him
three different times I didn't catch his name. My fault. Keb played selections
from the 2 CDs that I have by him and several new songs as well, including one
called "Henry," about an old man who plays the steel guitar, that was very
powerful. Bonnie joined him for one song during his set, and later called him
out during her part of the show. He played at least 40 minutes, and got a
standing ovation and an encore (from a crowd that was primarily there to hear
Ms. Raitt).
Her set was mostly high energy rock-and-roll, which was what the audience
wanted. It's a smaller band than in the past; Jon Cleary (from Britain via New
Orleans) on keyboards, Rick Vito on guitar, Ricky Fataar on drums and Hutch
Hutchinson on bass, and they really put out some smoke. She did quite a few
numbers from her newest CD, Fundamental, which I had just gotten but hadn't
heard yet, and now probably never will hear because my daughter Jennifer, who
was my date for the evening, was so taken by the new material that when she
dropped me off at home after the show she hooked my copy. In addition to the
new material Bonnie did most of her recent hits, and one old song from her
(first?? second?? Dick would know this) LP, "Give It Up or Let Me Go." There
were a couple of nice bluesy moments, such as when she called Keb Mo out and
they sat stage front in two chairs and did an acoustic duet of Memphis
Minnie's "Ain't Nothing In Rambling." (I told her afterward that I would bet
even money this was the first time a Memphis Minnie song had ever been
performed on that stage.) Other guests during the concert included Jackson
Brown ('These Times You've Come" and a closing "Angel From Montgomery") and
her dad John Raitt, who sang---you'll never guess -- "OK-lahoma" and got a
standing ovation for doing it.
It was as good a show as I've ever seen her do, and I've seen quite a few of
them by now.
By the way, Jon Cleary is about done with his (second?) solo album, which John
Porter's producing.

Mary Katherine

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