Coolidge opens concert season at SCCA

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rita Coolidge has wowed audiences of thousands with her rich, sweet melodies.

The two-time Grammy winner has performed in concert halls around the world and toured with some of the greatest rock legends of her era: Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stephen Stills, among others.

Even so, Coolidge says the smaller venues – like the 500-seat Birdsong Theater, in the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, where she is appearing this weekend – hold the most appeal to her. Tickets are still available to her 8 p.m. Saturday show.


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“I like the intimacy of the smaller halls,” she said last week, during a telephone interview from her home outside San Diego. “People are up close … and they seem so happy. It just feels right to me.”

Coolidge, 63, had several hit solos in the late 1970s and 1980s: “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher,” “We’re All Alone,” “One Fine Day,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “I Don’t Want to Talk About It,” and “All Time High” (in the 1983 James Bond film, Octopussy.)

One of Coolidge’s personal favorites to perform ­— “We’re All Alone.”

“That seems to be one that audiencese really like to hear,” said Coolidge. “People have so many memories … about falling in love … attached to that song.

“We’ll be playing the hits that people love to hear.”

The crowd in Suffolk is likely to get a smattering of conversation between tunes, Coolidge said.

“I talk to the people who are there,” said Coolidge, adding that her husband is flying in from Japan to come with her to Suffolk. “I feel like people want to know who I am and a little bit about the songs.

“My shows are very relaxed and informal. I think people come and have a good time.”

Her relaxed shows and her long-time, award-winning stage presence are one reason Coolidge was tapped to head this year’s list of adult-geared entertainment, said SCCA Executive Director Michael Bollinger.

“She has this beautiful voice … and I knew she would appeal to people (in the 40 to 60 age range) who remember hearing her on the radio in the 1970s and 1980s,” Bollinger said. “But I think younger people will remember her music (even if they didn’t realize she sang it.)

“I’ve heard a lot of people say she does a wonderful show.”