Bonnie Raitt

Decades Rock Live: Bonnie Raitt and Friends

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Would that this package were the other way around, but Bonnie Raitt and Friends is a DVD/CD project. The DVD contains an entire set recorded at the Trump Taj Mahal from 2005. Raitt, guitar goddess that she is and overall phenomenal spiritual presence on-stage, is joined by friends Alison Krauss, Ben Harper, Keb' Mo', and Norah Jones for two songs each, while all the while ripping through her own spirited and inspiring repertoire. The CD contains half the guest performances and most of Raitt's own show. For those who are not big music DVD fans, the entirety of the concert would have been wonderful on CD -- that's a hint, Capitol! What's really exciting about the show -- either way you catch it -- is that the edges in Raitt's voice that have been there from the beginning of her long and celebrated career, which are so often rounded off on her studio records, are present here, adding to her entirely soulful manner of phrasing and singing (being a song stylist is something she is rarely given credit for). Tracks like "Crooked Crown," "God Was in the Water," "Hear Me Lord," and "Trinkets" are deeply moving. Of her guest performances, "I Don't Want Anything to Change" with Norah Jones is stellar, as is "Unnecessary Mercenary" with funky-as-hell keyboardist Jon Cleary and "Two Lights in the Nighttime" with Ben Harper (all three appear on both discs). But Raitt shines best on her own; she needs no one and never has. There's plenty here to like, and some of it even to celebrate, but fans will have to pick their own moments.

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