Review by Bill Whiting
On April 23, Lucinda Williams and her band took the stage at the Madison Theater, and put on a searing performance in support of her galvanizing disc, Blessed. Drawing upon every aspect of her wide ranging career, Williams took the sold out patrons on a trip back to her 1998 release, Car Wheels On a Gravel Road, with a whirlwind take on the bruising track, “I Lost It.” Williams’ direct presence always lights up a room, and she has a unique connection to her audience via her intricate storytelling compositions, like the swaying burner, “Born to be Loved,” from Blessed. Her touring unit is tighter than ever, and with the rhythm section of David Sutton on bass and Butch Norton on drums, songs such as “Bus to Baton Rouge” from the 2001 long player, Essence, took on new dimensions in the live context. But, it was Lucinda Williams’ strong vision that held court throughout the evening, and the recent, scorching “Buttercup” and “Unsuffer Me” from 2007’s West, were crowd favorites. There were many calls from the the floor for road proven radio staples of the past, and the title track from Essence was a defining moment inside of a powerful, rocking concert. Williams and co. lit up the Madison with one last run through of “Honey Bee” from 2008’s chart topper, Little Honey, before exiting to an overwhelming standing ovation. Returning to encore with “Righteously” from the 2003 album, World Without Tears, Lucinda Williams kicked ass again, and the electricity of the experience had her fellow music enthusiasts buzzing with positive words as they left the building on a cool, late April night. Lucinda Williams and Amos Lee play PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 15, 2011.