Bonnie came out about thirty minutes late because the band before her played late. She burst out on the stage, very energetic and she praised the previous band (Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Tim O’Brien, Bryan Sutton) and said she couldn’t believe that she had to follow them. She said it was nice to be back and “You’ve had the bluegrass now we’ve got the blues! Let’s rock out!”
She started with Help Me Lord and did a cute little dance during the break and it was much slower than on the album. She admitted it was a little scary to be in Telluride but she was glad to be here.
She then said, “Now we’re gonna sing some songs from Souls Alike, this one’s from Souls Alike!” She did Two Lights In The Nighttime and added the best voice break to the first chorus, last ‘do’.
She made a call out to her friends from New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama because they were still waiting for the right kind of help. She said she wouldn’t be here if not for the Mississippi Delta. She sang God Was In The Water.
She said, “Speaking of people from New Orleans, my favorite city, John Cleary!” They sand Unnecessarily Mercenary.
She kept pointing during the “don’t work on me” and did a side-step shuffle during the break and did a little butt-wiggle dance. She said, “That’s what I’m talking about” (Her set was taped to the back of her white guitar).
She joked that she had John trapped over there in the piano corner and she introduced her next song as a song by Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and that she loved roots music and bluegrass was roots music and roots music is roots music and then she stopped her logical string in a “Long live roots music! Real instruments with real musicians!”
Then she said, “One, two, buckle my shoe” and started into I Believe I’m In Love With You. At the solo she tossed in a “Watch this honey” and ended the song out of breath, “This altitude’s one way to get high. In case you’ve wondered what I sound like panting, (pants into mic) listen and weep.”
She did her intros and intro-ed drummer Ricky Fatar as being “just far back enough to kick my ass” and then went back to the altitude. “Lord, it’s high up here.”
She switched to acoustic, taking off her scarf but changed her mind. “It’s heating up in here, just on the inside (scarf has been taken by now) can I have the scarf back, it’s kinda chilly got a scarf for me?” Manny Alverez brought it back out for her and she sang, I Don’t Want Anything To Change.
She said, “Man it’s freezing. Hope you got your hands in something interesting and warm.” She walked to the piano, “Folks, I don’t write much but when I got something to say that no one else can say. This is for my folks.”
She sang Nick Of Time and John ad-libbed the solo to another song and Bonnie said, “keep a good thing going on” and then blew the audience kisses. Then she said, “How about a hand! This is my soul brother right here. So nice and soothing, now I believe I must rock. She went to the guitar stool and had to find her finger picks. She shrugged, “Oh well, I’ll play anyway.” But someone found them for her.
She said, “I wrote this with someone I used to know well.” She put her picks on and said, “There, I’m ready to rock.” But her guitar hit some sour notes and she laughed, “Guess not”. That was fixed too and then she played Longing In Their Hearts but near the end, she broke a string though she kept going.
She introduced the next song as a new, old song. She was brought a heater but had them put it on a platform a few feet away because it “will probably heat up the guitar more than me. This is from Luck of the Draw. In fact, it is Luck Of The Draw. Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s just keeping your eyes open.”
She started another song but then laughed and picked up her capo. “Oh, that I forgot I need that. Can you bring that heater over here, this has got lots of pickin'” She went over and squatted by the heater and then played Papa Come Quick (Jody & Chico).
She said it was “time for a little blues, but not the sad blues, it’s too beautiful for those.” She told her Sippy Wallace story and said, “Now I get to be the old blues woman”. She did Woman Be Wise, commenting “just like I like ’em” to John’s solo. People found the song very funny. She used “don’t talk about your man” and told John that he better serve her up another round of that there piano.” The final verse she turned to first person.
She tried to get her other guitar back, and someone asked what happened, to which she answered “I broke it” and shrugged. She said it was their first summer show and they were saddling up for another four months and that she was pulling the set list from the sky and what a beautiful sky it was, she said, “you can bend me all you want baby but I Will Not Be Broken!” During each break in the verses, she went over to the heater, it was that cold.
She said, “People are talking, give ’em Something To Talk About!” As an aside, she was shedding hair like crazy. She then said, this one will get ya dancing out there!” and did Love Sneaking Up On You. She did a few more finger warmings and thanked us for bringing, “us to you”.
“We got some surprises back there. The big surprise for me was the heater back there. Anyone with a broken heart? This is for you, I Can’t Make You Love Me. She stuck her hands in her armpits to keep them warm while singing. “It cuts deep even in these mountains.”She brought out all of the Telluride Allstars (the guys before her) and did Thing Called Love. Before she asked, “Is Sam here, do we have Sam back there? Sam’s not here, but everyone else is. Sam had to go home.”
After the song she said, “I love being out of breath. For anyone at home listening on the radio, we’re all naked. I only have my scarf on.”
She gave a big thanks to the bus and truck people, all on biodiesel and said, “Lets give the farmers a little love. Corn and soy. Let’s let the Middle East be someplace in Indiana for a change. This song was written by John Prine, he’s not here but give him my love on Sunday.” Angel From Montgomery and said, “Tim O’Brien another Celtic palate.
And one more we’ve been saving up. We want you to have a great festival, it was fun greasing the pan.” She stepped back with the rest of the group and said, “You can still see me, I’m the one with the red hair!”
She was waiting for the guitar so she said, “I bought a new shirt, but I guess I’ll have to look at it in the hotel room. They weren’t kidding when they said wear layers. This temperature’s making this puppy go out of tune.” Manny Alverez got her guitar and she said, “Manny plugs it in and makes it feel good.”
She talked about the festivals in the ’70s and she said, “Nothing stands the test of time like a good song and a good man” Louise. She finished by thanking us for making it a special moment and she said, “God bless all, here’s to peace. (blows kiss) and thanks to my special guest, these guys I found in back lookin’ for a good time (double kiss, Namaste bow).
Clothing notes: Blue and white shirt with band of sparkles on bottom. It was covered by a black jean jacked, tight blue jeans with a Y shape on the pocket and a belt, leatherette circles with silver circles on top on her waist above the sparkles on the shirt. Pearl and sparkle earrings and the high-heeled boots and a yellow-ish multicolored scarf finished the look.
Other Telluride Notes:
Sam Bush actually went to the hospital after the All Stars set, but noted, “You don’t know what it’s like to live until you’re in the back of an ambulance going to the hospital listening to the radio and you hear Bonnie Raitt invite you on stage!”
Neko Case seriously rocked my socks.
John Prine is a funny, funny guy.
John Cowan doesn’t look like John Cowan when you see him on the street. But he’s a nice guy.
Sam Bush is cool in person, even if you are at the very end of a four-five hour signing line. (We actually went and ate and came back at the end…)
The Greencards are amazing – and they did a kicking version of Patty Griffin’s “What You Are.”