Rolling the rock away 

And great Raitt and Keb' Mo'

ON: The Third Day.
  • ON: The Third Day.

Third Day
Alltel Arena
Oct. 5

Christian rock band Third Day lit up the Alltel Arena stage last Thursday with opening act the David Crowder Band. The “Wherever You Are” tour show was inspirational, with encouraging messages of love and hope.

Crowder opened his 10-song-praise-and-worship set with “He Is the One,” which began with a haunting violin solo and then exploded into a hard rocking (almost punk sounding) rhythm. I was impressed with the capability of the players to express technically great sound, but I wanted to hear lyrics slightly more original than “holy, holy, holy …”

Before the 20-minute intermission, Third Day bassist Tai Anderson made a plea to the crowd of 4,039 fans for help supporting children in Uganda. After intermission, lead singer Mac Powell began Third Day’s show with the old hymn “This Is My Story,” soloing with his guitar.

About halfway through Powell’s solo, the white scrim dropped and the other five members of the band joined Powell with a hard-hitting Southern rock alternative sound that I felt in my chest.

Third Day’s musical sound can be likened most to a three-way split between Travis Tritt, U2 and Peter Gabriel — extremely high on the inven-tive scale. My 7-year-old leapt to his feet and let out a howl (and I joined him), partly because of the musical awesomeness, and partly because of the beautiful block lights that were arranged around the band on stage.

— Julie Gladden

Bonnie Raitt and Keb’ Mo’
Robinson Center
Oct. 3

My expectations were high for the Bonnie Raitt-Keb’ Mo’ “Souls Alike Tour” show on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Robinson Center, and they were exceeded by a spectacular performance from both artists. Each displayed wonderful pipes as well as exquisite finger-work on a variety of gui-tars, including some of those metal-box National-style blues guitars. I left feeling as good about a show as any I’ve seen.

Keb’ Mo’ was so good in his nine-song set with his six-piece band and summoning up the blues vibe of the long-gone Delta greats that, af-ter a sit-down, one-song encore with Bonnie and a 20-minute intermission, it took a few songs to get into Bonnie’s set. But she started rocking about five songs in on Kim Wilson’s “I Believe I’m in Love With You,” and it just grew from there.

Raitt has a way of pulling you in with such cool, mellow, bluesy stuff like “Nick of Time,” in which she abandoned her guitars for a Roland key-board with her traveling keyboardist, Jon Cleary from New Orleans. She tugged at everyone’s heartstrings with an encore opening “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” but, while Cleary was pretty much flawless and fun in a New Orleans funk way on the keys during the show, he nearly butchered his attempt at free-forming the Bruce Hornsby-style accompaniment on that number.

Their encore also included a birthday cake for Keb Mo, whom Bonnie regularly referred to by his given name of “Kevin” (Moore), and with both bands on stage they offered up funk with “Love Letter,” some Wilson Pickett (“354-5789”) and the soulful “Angel from Montgom-ery.”

Much of Keb-Mo’s set came from his outstanding new record, “Suitcase,” including “Remain Silent,” “Rita,” “The Itch” and “Whole ’Nutha Thang.” I couldn’t help thinking how “Rita” would be a perfect song matching Keb’ Mo’ with James Taylor. “Remain Silent” sounded, in lyrics and in the instrumentation, like a song Bonnie Raitt would record.

Raitt’s banter with her fans brought everyone, from the farthest-away seat in the balcony, into the show. She made light of fretting about turning 40 when she wrote “Nick of Time” 15 years ago. “What was I thinking?”

“You’re already standing up, so I better be good,” a seemingly surprised Raitt quipped before kicking off her set. She and Keb’ Mo’ were better than good this night.

— Jim Harris



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