Wednesday, May 26, 2010
MEETING JOHN RAITT
In 1969, I saw John Raitt perform in "Camelot" at the Kenley Players. "Camelot" was always my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and my brother Gary and his wife were supposed to take me to see it in 1962, but that did not happen. They were supposed to take me to see "Oklahoma!" in 1961 but that didn't happen either.
My mother loved John Raitt as did I. In 1992, I was thrilled when I saw the advertisement in our local newspaper that Raitt was scheduled to perform as part of the Fayette Area Community Concert Association. Although I had not purchased a season ticket, I was able to manage acquiring two tickets. The enthusiastic audience was mostly people older than myself. My mother and I thoroughly enjoyed the program as it was Raitt and a piano accompanist performing "And then I sang........" which was exactly what we wanted. He was incredibly handsome, physically fit and with a very strong voice for someone aged 75.
While waiting in line to have my tape and program autographed, another woman and I were discussing the different Kenley Players productions he had performed; I mentioned that I had also seen his daughter perform. She asked, "He has a daughter who performs?" I answered, "Yes, Bonnie Raitt; she's won a whole bunch of Grammys!" The woman said she had never heard of her. I answered that she was far more famous than her father. The woman answered, huffily, "Well, if I haven't heard of her, then I doubt that!"
As I have written before, my mother answered questions with song lyrics and would never allow a child of hers to be "put down". My mother, unlike her contemporary who had just upbraided me, also "kept up" with current music. Mother poked me and asked, "Should I start to sing "Something To Talk About"?" She and I both laughed and started singing! Others "shusshed" us into stopping singing--and into good behavior!
When we were finally in front of Mr. Raitt, I told him about seeing him in the Kenley Players. We chatted about the Kenley productions and he said that I must have been a baby then! I laughed and my mother said, "She's your daughter's age." I said, "My mother and I were just singing "Something To Talk About" while we were in line; we love Bonnie!" He answered, "I heard you!" I told him I saw the wedding photos where he was wearing a kilt and he beamed proudly, and asked, "I sure did a good job there, didn't I?" He was as charming offstage as he was onstage.
As Mother and I turned to leave, the "huffy lady" was next in line. As I left, I couldn't help myself, and I said, "Be sure to ask about his daughter!"