I spent a couple of hours Saturday night with a woman I’ve loved for 47 years — and my wife didn’t mind a bit.

I first fell for Bonnie Raitt in 1977 when she did a concert at my college. I was sitting in one of the first few rows and had never seen a woman command the stage the way she did. With her soulful voice, crisp guitar, and flowing red hair, I became a fan for life.

Since then, I have bought every new album she’s released, including her latest, “Just Like That,” and have lost track of how many times I’ve seen her in concert, including this weekend at the Stifel Theatre in St. Louis. I’m happy to say that, almost five decades later, Bonnie still has it, in every department.

Unlike other performers — particularly her septuagenarian contemporaries — Bonnie’s show isn’t just a greatest hits package. Oh, sure, she played “Something To Talk About,” “Nick of Time,” and the title track of “Just Like That” (which was named Song Of The Year at the Grammy Awards in 2022). But her audience loves her so much we’re happy to discover whatever she wants to present to us. She does it in a classy way, too, giving full credit to each songwriter, sometimes with a story.

She remains one of the best slide guitarists in the world — even the late BB King thought so. Her voice is still pure and powerful. She can get raw on songs like Toots Hibbert’s “Love So Strong,” but when she does ballads like Mike Reid’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and John Prine’s classic “Angel From Montgomery,” everyone in the room listens quietly as her voice fills the space with the sound of heartbreak.

Throughout the evening, Bonnie showed a lot of appreciation for the audience, thrilled that we’re still coming to see her after all these years. In fact, it took quite a while for big success to come Bonnie’s way. Throughout the seventies and eighties, she toured relentlessly (she still does) and built up a small, faithful fan base, but her albums didn’t sell particularly well. I only became aware of her because my colleagues on the college radio station played her songs often enough to catch my ear. They inspired me to dive into the record library and discover some of her other tunes. That’s what led me to the university gymnasium that night, when my admittedly one-sided love affair with her began.

But it wasn’t until her tenth album, “Nick Of Time” in 1989 — for which she won four Grammys — that she crossed over into the mainstream. Suddenly, she was playing larger venues, getting more airplay, and finding herself embraced by a whole new generation of fans. Part of the reason is that — after fifty years on stage, thirteen Grammy Awards (plus a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), and a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — Bonnie doesn’t try to be trendy. Her musical style is rooted in the blues, she understands the pioneers who preceded her as well as those in the next generation who are carrying the torch for what has come to be known as “Americana” music.

The Kennedy Center Honors are long overdue to put their spotlight on Bonnie. In the meantime, I’m happy to have seen her in concert again and look forward to our fiftieth anniversary in 2027.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m still in love with her.