Bonnie Raitt with Marc Cohn

Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, PA Nov.11, 2013

Reviewed by Michael Rampa


Bonnie Raitt sure knows how to deliver on a promise. At her first show in Pittsburgh in nearly a decade, she announced, “Tonight, there’s no dancing or pyro, just a lot of real good music. For the next two hours, sold out Heinz Hall got just that in a generous 18-song rock/blues hybrid set from arguably one of the best  female guitarists ever. She recently celebrated her birthday with a Stratocaster cake. With her signature flowing red locks, high energy  and sexy moves, you’d never know it was her 64th.

The band has prepared over 40 songs for this tour, so you never know what you’ll get on any given night. Half of the set showcased her latest grammy winner, “Slipstream.” Her signature slide playing  is peerless and  more than did justice to the two bluesy Dylan covers , Million Miles and Standing In The Doorway. Citing Lowell George as an influence, her own No Gettin’ Over You felt exactly like a Little Feat song.  Her overly capable four member touring band of 25 years complemented Raitt when needed and took over the spotlight  on occasion. Guitarist George Marinelli engaged her in a few fret blazing duels while keyboardist Mike Finnigan took lead vocals on a few songs. Finnigan has played with Etta James, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker and CSN.


She dedicated a beautiful version of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” to her late mother.


Thankfully, theater management extended her enough time for the peppy pop of Nick of Time from her most recognizable 1989 album of the same title.

Marc Cohn’s brief set was performed with academic precision and culminated with a mellow, breathy version of the grammy winning “Walking In Memphis.”

After dropping the names Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and John Lennon, Cohn hailed Raitt as the greatest living singer. It was quite a stretch but as Raitt took her final bow with “Brownie”,her favorite Strat, in hand, it became abundantly clear that she has demolished the barriers to the once exclusive boys club of blues and electric guitars.