Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Monday, April 09, 2007 
Hamer Hall

Few gigs can have had such an appropriate support act as tonight's show. The raw howling jumped-up blues of Mia Dyson and her band are the Australian equivalent to an early Raitt gig, visceral, edgy, warm, oozing integrity and as down home as any fan could want. Though her delivery makes The Best Of James Reyne sound like an elocution lesson, the feeling is there, and that - along with the warm affection with which she treats the crowd and her hero, tonight's headliner - is what translates. Playing several unnamed new songs, there seems to be no great shift from her Etheridge-fronts-Little Feat earlier work, and the whole set goes down very well, with I Meant Something To You Once being a clear high point, as is her glorious lap steel playing.

The mostly middle-aged audience (some with families) who filled the Hamer Hall are loudly appreciative of Raitt from the moment her name is announced by her pianist, co-vocalist and sometime-percussionist Jon Cleary. Instantly warming to the crowd with the same authenticity, sense of humour and quiet confidence found in her songs, and increasingly rare to find in any artist, Raitt wastes no time in doing what she does best. Working her battered Strat (AKA "the right wood for the job") and crooning her impeccable blues-rock she kicks off with a rollicking Sure Do. She soon begins dedicating songs, God Was On The Water for those in New Orleans and the Soloman Islands, Matters Of The Heart for "One of the greatest soul singers ever, regardless of colour, race, creed or nationality, Renee Geyer!" and All At Once to her recently deceased parents. Her guitar playing is incredibly proficient, tone and sustain impeccable, and her versitility between slide, lead and acoustic is so smooth. Her touring band is unaltered since her last trip ("if it ain't broke don't fix it") but many songs are new, from 2005's covers album Souls Alike. If there is anything Raitt can do as well as she plays guitar and sings (and that is VERY WELL) it's pick songs. Tonight's version of John Prine's Angel From Montgomery is truly breathtaking, as is I Can't Make You Love Me (the 8th best song of all time according to Mojo) and it's testament to her songwriting that hers sit so well amongst these; All At Once particularly. Also going down well this evening is the warm effusive wit she brings to everything; repartee amongst the band, Australian slang and jet lag come in for a ribbing tonight, so when she encores with a "nightclub session" no one gets uneasy. After showcasing another up and coming songwriter (Mia Sharpe) Renee Geyer is brought out of the audience and duets on an unrehearsed number before a visibly nervous Mia Dyson makes a dream come true with an equally unrehearsed Junior Walker cover Roadrunner and Bad Case Of Loving You. It was all in all a hugely entertaining evening; you know what you're getting with Bonnie Raitt, and after nearly 40 years in the game, she still loves surprising.

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