Bonnie Raitt is simply generous, and during her 90 minutes on stage at the Leader Bank Pavilion on Friday night, this characteristic came up again and again. She made sure the audience knew who was playing with her by introducing her band (including Boston’s own guitar master Duke Levine – “his hometown team!” exclaimed Raitt) after the second song rather than towards the end of the show. She shouted out by name to some of her longtime Boston friends and former Globe music critic Steve Morse. And she paid tribute to contemporaries in music, especially John Prine (“I miss him every day”) before playing a hushed version of Prine’s song she made her own, “Angel from Montgomery.”
As usual, she also gave flashes of her characteristic outspokenness and compassion. She made sure to point out the Ukrainian flag displayed on stage and went on to characterize Vladimir Putin with a choice epithet and remarked that what he was inflicting on Ukraine had a level of cruelty and barbarism that she didn’t. had never seen before.
And, as usual, she offered a set that did not deviate radically from her habit. She’s touring behind her latest album, “Just Like That . . . “, so she gave a good sample of the record, starting with “Made Up Mind,” then the very funky addiction anthropomorphization, “Waitin’ for You to Blow”. The title track, which she sat down and played on acoustic guitar, was a beautiful musical display of her compassion. “Livin’ for the Ones,” her memorial of pandemic losses, had a precocious Bonnie touch and swayed as hard as anything she had ever done, while the moving “Blame It on Me” indicated that the ravages of time have not visited upon themselves. the places where she is able to take her powerful voice.
Alongside the new were the tried and tested tracks: “Angel from Montgomery”, “Something to Talk About”, the reggae-tinged track “Have a Heart”, the hit song “Nick of Time” and “No Business”. . which gave the evening’s first taste of Raitt’s singular bottleneck moan.
There have been a few forays off the beaten track, including “Back Around,” her co-writing with Malian griot Habib Koité, which she called a “concoction” of Malian blues and John Lee Hooker; she played it on a resonator guitar, paired with Levine’s acoustics, to wonderful effect. But overall, it was a familiar performance, and it showed that Raitt was still doing what she did best.
The effects of the stroke that opener Lucinda Williams suffered in November 2020 were clearly evident during her time on stage (and she spoke about it), but what was also evident is that she overcame all the effects it had on his singing voice, which sounded louder than ever. A simmered, extended version of his “Are You Down” was the highlight of his hour-long set.
Stuart Munro can be reached at [email protected]
With Lucinda Williams. At the Leader Bank Pavilion, Friday