Bonnie rates with Big Sky audience By ALEXIS MANTE Lone Peak Lookout
Bonnie Raitt gave a first-rate performance last week, playing hits from yesteryear and songs from her new album, “Souls Alike.”
Performing to a sold-out crowd of over 3,000 people, the Meadow Village Pavilion was packed, but there was still plenty of room for people to dance and sway along with Raitt.
Mary Jane McGarity, with the Big Sky Community Corporation, said Raitt Gate ‘08, a pre-party event for the concert, was a success. Three hundred people braved windy conditions for a good cause. All the money raised through the event will go to the BSCC to fund projects including the Community Park. In all about $30,000 was raised and McGarity said the BSCC would love to continue to work with the Arts Council of Big Sky on future events. She added that there was nothing but great feedback from the community on the event. People were able to enjoy beer and wine and pulled pork sandwiches. A few people got their dancing legs under them during Raitt Gate while listening to the bluegrass group Steam Powered Airplane.
For Big Sky resident MaryLou Cook seeing Bonnie Raitt was a blast from the past. It was 40 years ago when Cook first met Raitt. She had just finished her freshman year at Radcliffe College and was backpacking through Europe with her roommate. Cook, along with her husband, three kids and pregnant with her fourth, were living in Greece and they were Raitt's roommate's contact in Greece. Raitt stayed with the Cooks for a few weeks and sang and played guitar for Cook's children every night. Cook said she hasn't kept in touch with Raitt over the years and the concert was the first time she had seen her since their time together decades ago. Cook, who attended the Raitt Gate, said she doesn't usually go to big events but because it was Bonnie Raitt she made an exception.
“I had a wonderful time. I thought there was a great turnout and it was a well organized event,” said Cook, adding that the Raitt Gate was also a great event.
As ticket holders shuffled into the event it seemed the end of summer was just around the corner with cold gusts of wind and ominous dark clouds threatening rain looming over head as the opening act, Richard Julian, got underway. Julian performed songs from his new album, “Sunday Morning In Saturday's Shoes,” and with lines like, “Life is a dream that comes in between your birthday and your heart attack,” it's easy to understand why Raitt picked Julian, however the audience was far more into Raitt then her opening act. Once Raitt took the stage she let the audience know that Julian was an incredible singer and songwriter and he deserved a bit more respect.
As Julian wrapped up his set the clouds began to disperse. When Raitt and her band took to their instruments on stage, the sun came out and the weather turned much more pleasant.
Raitt played all her staples, “I Can't Make You Love Me,” “Something to Talk About” and the John Prine cover, “Angel From Montgomery.” Behind the lighting and sound crew could be found a wide variety of people dancing and singing along with the show. Raitt also covered a Toots & the Maytals song, sipped black licorice tea, and told Big Sky she would get her knees dirty anytime for them.
Raitt played a variety of guitars, one being made of recycled aircraft parts handcrafted by Larry Pogreba, a Montana native who currently works out of Three Forks.
By the end of Raitt's set hundreds of stars shone brightly above the pavilion lighting up exit paths for the star-struck audience to venture home.