There aren't many nights like this. Nov 8th was my friend Bonnie Raitt's birthday. Purely by chance i was scheduled to play a concert in San Francisco that night, where Bonnie lives. Bonnie has generously joined me onstage many times before, but this time was something special.
I met Bonnie back in '92, when i was fortunate enough to be her opening act for a tour of Australia and New Zealand. I've never had a better time on the road. Bonnie and I became fast friends and so did all the players, promoters and crew members. After my set was over, i slipped into the audience and watched Bonnie's performance every night. IMHO, Bonnie is the greatest and most effortlessly soulful singer alive, so for me, her show was also a master class.
Once we hit New Zealand, we played a handful of shows with another artist at the top of the bill: Bob Dylan. I'd play for 30 minutes or so, followed by a 60 minute set by Bonnie, and then Dylan.
Was i in heaven or New Zealand? I wasn't really sure.
One night, after my set, Bonnie took me by the hand and said "Bob wants to meet you." We walked into his dressing room and Dylan greeted me with a remarkable amount of kindness and grace. I noticed a book that i already owned sitting on a coffee table nearby; it was Bob's personal copy of his published lyrics. Another master class for me.
I asked him why it was there and he said he needed it to jog his memory in case he decided to do a song he hadn't played in a while. "Some of my tunes have a lot of verses" he said. Uh-huh. I'm not sure if i was able to articulate how much his work had meant to me, but i think i tried. He told me he had enjoyed my set, and that was pretty much it...pretty much.
About ten minutes later, still dazed and overwhelmed from my visit with the King, Bonnie came walking towards me with the book of lyrics in her hands. "Bob wants you to have this," she said. "Open it up." On the first blank page, Bob had written an inscription to me:
"To Marc, if you're looking for songs, there are some in here. Best Wishes. Bob Dylan."
In a house fire... god forbid...my plan is to grab my wife, my children, and that book.
So Monday night, at the Palace of Fine Arts, on Bonnie's birthday...it all came full circle. I told the audience the story I just told you and said "so tonight... nothing could be greater than singing a Dylan song with my friend..the birthday girl...Bonnie Raitt!!" The place went wild of course and Bonnie and i traded verses on one of my favorite Dylan songs, Girl From The North Country.
It was a poetic and transcendent moment for me. Bonnie sounded better than ever. You could hear a pin drop. We finished the song, and my tour manager brought out the birthday cake that had been waiting in the wings. The whole audience sang Happy Birthday to Bonnie and she made her wish. Mine had already come true.
Happy Birthday Bonnie. Thanks for everything.
read all entries
Happy Summer Everyone
Listening Booth Tour comes home for the holidays
There aren't many nights like this
Thank You To My Fans
The New Marccohn.net
Inspiration for Listening Booth:1970
Desert Island Discs
Spring Soul playlist...
In the Studio Listening Booth:1970