Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA, 6/15/2022; Let's Give 'Em Something to Celebrate


Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Bonnie Raitt played The Mann Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday night, June 15th armed with her 18th album, Just Like That, her slide guitar, and her crackerjack touring band. One of Raitt's strengths, in addition to her music, is the way that she speaks to the audience. Opening the show, she said that she was very glad to be back on the road following a two year Covid layoff. Raitt thanked the crowd for coming to the show and the thunderous applause that she got throughout sounded more like a sold out large arena or stadium (if you closed your eyes) rather than The Mann, which wasn't quite full. 

I was glad too, being that this was my first time back seeing live music since December 2019. Despite several excellent live streams, there is nothing like seeing a live show in the flesh. During the song "Something to Talk About," I kept thinking that this was something to celebrate. 

The sound at The Mann that night was outstanding. Raitt's touring band sounded terrific at every position. The band included longtime cohorts drummer Ricky Fataar and bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson. The band sound was phenomenal for Raitt's voice and her slide guitar, too. When she played "Blame It On Me," she mentioned playing it on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert the night before and also how cold it was in the studio. It's no secret that Colbert keeps the temperature in the studio even lower than David Letterman did; Letterman kept it cold to keep everyone awake and alert. The song, from her latest album, sounded amazing and you can watch the televised performance below. 

Raitt did numerous selections from her new album, including one that she said was written in the style of John Prine. Prine's name elicited a big cheer from the crowd. Raitt got a similar reaction when she mentioned John Hiatt, who wrote her hit "Thing Called Love." Hiatt has been known for crediting Raitt for putting his kids through college from her version of that song.  Raitt called Hiatt a genius for his songwriting. I was reflecting on the concert the next morning as I listened to WXPN, which also got a big cheer when Raitt thanked them for their support over the years. As XPN played Hiatt's "Drive South," I had the thought that Bonnie could have followed her Hiatt rap with "Drive South" or any of his many compositions. Not that I didn't love hearing "Thing Called Love," but I figured that's been played a lot and sometime I like a live set to surprise. 

Photo: Elizabeth Robertson, Staff Photographer, Philadelphia Inquirer

At one point Raitt mentioned the good work they do at the Rhythm & Blues Foundation.  She co-founded the organization and I would suggest that you follow the link to read all about their story.

Raitt also talked about feeling at home here in Philadelphia. She mentioned that her first gig here was in Pennypack Park; I had forgotten that they used to hold concerts there. In the late '60s, I do remember going there to see Sweet Stavin Chain. Raitt reminisced about playing the Second Fret and the Philadelphia Folk Festival, saying that those afternoon workshops were some of the most fun she's ever had. 

Unusually receptive to audience shout-outs, Bonnie answered a request for "Angel From Montgomery" by saying something like we couldn't not play that but you have to have some vegetables first. When she did play John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" she followed it with The Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" to close the set.

Euphoria reigned at the Mann until Bonnie came back for an encore. She sang a gut-wrenching "I Can't Make You Love Me" followed by the Paul Brady composition "Not the Only One," both songs from Luck of the Draw (1991). During the encore, Raitt said that she wished she could play another two hours and I'd bet that most of the crowd did, too. 

The Late Show performance of "Blame It On Me" from "Just Like That," June 14, 2022

Bonnie Raitt Setlist

  • Made Up Mind
  • Waitin' for You to Blow
  • No Business
  • Blame It on Me
  • Nick of Time
  • Thing Called Love
  • Back Around
  • Just Like That
  • Something to Talk About
  • Livin' for the Ones
  • Have a Heart
  • Need You Tonight  
  • Angel From Montgomery  
  • Burning Down the House  
  • I Can't Make You Love Me  
  • Not the Only One  

Photo: Elizabeth Robertson, Staff Photographer, Philadelphia Inquirer

The show began right on time at 7:35pm. Although Lucinda Williams is a headliner on her own, this show offered both artists on one bill. I'd seen both of them a few times before, but it had been too long since the last time for either one, so this show was a must. Considering all the hassle of going out to see live music, as soon as Williams started to play, I was glad we came. 

Maybe it was because there was two headliners tonight, there were none of the sound system shenanigans that happen to opening acts. The sound was phenomenal right from the start. One of the many things I love about Lucinda's career is that she always, always, always has a superb guitarist in her band. When I say guitarist, I'm talking primarily about electric guitar and the guitarist in question at this show was Stuart Mathis. Her current touring band also includes Jim Oblon on guitar and keys, Butch Norton on drums and David Sutton on bass. 

Right out of the box you could hear every instrument clear as a bell, yet the band sounded just as muscular as you could want. Williams' voice was in great shape, too. In fact, it showed no effect from her recent stroke. She explained, from the stage, that's the reason why she wasn't playing guitar.

You can see her setlist below. Her tight 60 minute set included some songs from her recent catalogue, as well as some earlier chestnuts. "Drunken Angel" followed by "Lake Charles were both good to hear and still resonate. The crowd really dug "Changed the Locks" and she closed with a fiery take on "Joy." There was no encore. Even though the set was shorter than usual, it was superb to see Lucinda and hear the music sounding so good. 

We honored the tour's request for no cameras, but found this video of Lucinda performing "Are You Down" earlier this spring. Enjoy!

Lucinda Williams, Buskirk – Chumley Theater, Bloomington, Indiana, 4/14/2022
Posted by Blythe Spirit

Lucinda Williams Setlist

  • Steal Your Love
  • Crescent City
  • Drunken Angel
  • Lake Charles
  • Fruits of My Labor
  • Are You Down
  • You Can't Rule Me  
  • Changed the Locks
  • Honey Bee
  • Righteously
  • Joy


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