June 17, 2024
Anita Baker
Live @ Spirit Mountain
July 17, 2009
Carmen Miller

She’s still got it! Anita Baker showed up in full form at the Spirit Mountain Casino showplace and put on the show that we came to see. She was maybe a couple of years older and a couple of pounds heavier (who isn’t?) but still performing with the same vivacity, energy and passion that she brought to the stage 10 years ago.

The band was fabulous. Lead by her musical director Ray Chew and held down by former Roy Ayers drummer Ricky Lawson, the band played the songs beautifully, rolling and riding along right in stride with Anita as she soared and swooped her way through most of the songs the audience came for.

The sound people were way off (and up) for the first two songs, but they got it together by song three when she went into a Rapture roll, covering such hits as Sweet Love, Mystery, No One In The World and one of my faves Same Ole Love. The crowd was receptive and sang along when she wanted them to (and sometime when they wanted to) as she bounced and strolled around the stage interacting in turn with the musicians and then the audience members.

Performing for over two hours, she stayed strong, belting out the hits one after another with some genuinely personable rambling between songs. After closing the show (!) she returned for a final rendition of Joy that was inspired and had everyone on their feet for what must have been the tenth time. This was a show not to be missed.

Rather than succumbing to the stereotype of the old singer doing self covers to make the rent, Anita Baker was in rare form. She put on a show that rivals any performance you can see in Vegas tomorrow, or the next week. The songs she sang may be from another decade but the performance was timeless.

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