The first day of the first ever Deni Blues and Roots Festival has officially been declared a success with Bonnie Raitt turning in a stunning set for her first ever trip into inland Australia.
A regular visitor to Australia, Bonnie told her audience how she had never before driven into inside Australia and “how much Australian’s should appreciate their beautiful country” after she made the 3 and a half hour drive from Melbourne, Victoria to the New South Wales border town of Deniliquin on Saturday.
Bonnie Raitt released her first album in 1971 but it was her John Prine cover ‘Angel From Montgomery’ from her 4th album ‘Streetlights’ that showcased her brilliance in the remote location also used for the Deni Ute Muster today. The audience was silenced as she delivered that great song many outside America heard for the first time on the No Nukes soundtrack of 1980.
It got better. Bonnie played her masterpiece ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ in the encore. Both Prince and George Michael have covered that song of hers. At the end of the song, Bonnie whispered to her keyboard player Mike Finnegan “Beautiful”. It really was a beautiful moment.
Bonnie’s best line “It’s Saturday night. You’re not going to get laid. This is as good as it gets”. That was an uncomforting thought at 6pm when the sun was still shining.
To see Bonnie Raitt, one of the world’s greatest talents, in the town of Deniliquin, population 7000, was an incredible experience. That is the magic the Deni Blues and Roots Festival is delivering.
With support from the New South Wales government who are smart enough to recognise the arts (as opposed to the Victorian government petrol head mentality) tourism in regional Deniliquin, NSW has been given a boost.
Ironically, Australia’s closest capital city to Deniliquin is Melbourne and it was obvious by the registration plates in the carpark at the Deni Blues and Roots festival that NSW is pulling the revenue out of Victoria for this festival.
The Deni Blues and Roots Festival on Saturday also featured Chris Isaak, Tony Joe White, Zac Brown Band, Newton Faulkner and Jason Mraz.
The line-up for Sunday, March 31 is:
11:45pm: Lime Cordiale
12:20pm: Marco Goldsmith Band
1:00pm: Howlin’ Steam Train
1:45pm: Morgan Evans
2:30pm: Dirt River Band
3:15pm: Jimmy Cliff
4:30pm: Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk
5:00pm: Steve Miller Band
6:30pm: Ward’s Express
8:45pm: Collard, Greens & Gravy
9:45pm: Status Quo