Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010-02-20: B.B. King and Buddy Guy

02-20-2010: B.B. King and Buddy Guy
Where: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis
Went with: Myself

It’s not very often that I’m completely blown away by a performer.

Sometimes I’m impressed. Sometimes I’m amazed. But it’s usually because I know their work and expect it.

Buddy Guy completely blew me away.

I guess I didn’t know anything about him. While I know his name, and I know who he has influenced (Eric, Jimi, Angus, Stevie), but sheesh, Buddy is just AMAZING!


He was funny, happy, totally loves playing the blues, was a little dirty, loved his audience, and when he sang ‘while you were slippin’ out, someone was slippin’ in” it totally hooked me as a forever Buddy fan. Another favorite was the way he altered from face-blistering blues to soft and sweet soulful singing on “Skin Deep”. What great vocal quality. And his guitar tone? Ridiculous.

At 74, I can only hope I can play and have fun like that.

The only downer? He made it impossible for B.B. King to blow me away. I completely loved Buddy Guy and could have listened to him for 3 hours.

I went alone to this show. Got there early, got a beer, and enjoyed the scenery. photoI’ve had a terrible week at work, rough time at home, and actually 2010 hasn’t been very good but was really hoping to get carried away for a night.

I sat next to another loner who is a self-proclaimed concert junkie. He’s seen so many shows and already spent $1K in 2010 on shows. He also travels around the world. Very cool life. Oh, and he has a rippin’ camera so I was able to have him send me a few (the nice ones on this blog). We also got to point to the guy next to us who wouldn’t stop talking during the soft parts. Some people’s entitlement stuns me.

photo 3Buddy opened the show, played for over an hour, then we waited for B.B. to come out.

First came Lucille.

IMG_0028Yep, that’s Lucille. Beautiful guitar. 

Then came B.B. He’s 84 so he’s quite old, yet obviously loves playing with his band and loves his audience so that was fun.

He did have some great licks but I just wasn’t blown away. I almost felt guilty. I mean this is B.B. Friggin KING! He was good, and his band was awesome…in fact I liked hearing his rhythm guitarist more than B.B.

IMG_0044Here he is playing in his famous chair.

IMG_0072…and here he is making funny faces. I wasn’t sure if this was his “I’m playing the blues and I'm in the moment” or his “I’m really old and lost control of my facial muscles” or his “I’m crazy lucky to be playing all these years and have the right to make any face I want to, even if it’s because I’m thinking of the sandwich I had earlier tonight”.

After playing for an hour, he started talking while his band vamped. He told jokes and stories for over 20 minutes…and I could only hear 1/2 of it due to sound bouncing around and accent.

THEN? He was cut off! His ‘helpers’ actually walked back on stage, gave him the big “neck-cut” signal. He stopped talking, started apologizing, sang 2 bars of “The Thrill Is Gone”, then held his elbows up and was helped off the stage. Kind of a weird end to the show.

All in all it was a great show. I’d see Buddy Guy again in a second (I should have bought a shirt). But I’m not sure I’ll pay to see B.B. again. Please don’t hate me for that.

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