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Concert Review: The Ageless Blues of Buddy Guy

As the doors open, a flood of eager old-timers filled the Lied Center in a matter of minutes. From the fans to the employees it was clear that this was one of the most sought-after tickets of the Lied Center this season. After an extensive period of waiting for all seats to be filled, Derek Kwan, the head of the Lied Center takes the mic to announce the sponsor. This was followed by a roaring cheer, not because of the sponsor, but because everyone knew it was showtime.

(Benji Bloom/ KJHK)

Buddy Guy lets his band warm up the crowd a little bit with some powerful guitar and keyboard solos—yet that was only a fraction of what was to come. After 15 minutes of kill-time, Buddy finally hits the stage. He’s dressed in a blue and white striped, almost train conductor like overalls and a beret, you could tell the crowd felt right at home with his immediate stage presence. He introduces himself with immediate comedy, ensuring that the crowd knows that he is young spirited with his continuous cussing and youthful humor.

His mic breaks seemed to be just as important to his act as the music. It was half a comedy show and half a music concert, maybe that was because of his age and stamina? Who knows, but I know I, along with the crowd was not complaining one bit about that. Along with his humor, he also runs the crowd stories of his youth, the origins of The Blues, and tales of times with his long friend B.B. King. He was truly a class act.

When he wasn’t cracking up the crowd, Buddy was shredding through songs with ease. Covering songs from Cream to Jimi Hendrix to polling from the crowd on what track to cover he proved that he was still versatile at the age of 84. You truly could not tell that the man was 84. He played a full set, danced a ton, he was funny, and played his guitar with hardly a flaw.

Some of my favorite moments of the show consisted of him setting his guitar down flat on a monitor and him playing from it with a drumstick and then a damp towel. Yes you heard that right… He played a flawless riff with a drumstick and a towel. Another highlight, and one that no one will forget was when Buddy went wireless and walked into the crowd, playing in front of various people, including myself. I have been to many shows in my time and have yet to see something like that.

(Benji Bloom / KJHK)

I don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of Buddy Guy until now and honestly, I hadn’t listened to him until about a week before the show. I will say that recordings do not do this legendary musician justice. If you are at all a lover of Rock n Roll then you must see this man live. Not only have I now become a grass-roots blues fan, I have never seen a musician have so much control over their instrument like that. Even though the collective age of the room was higher than I could count, the energy was as youthful as ever, that’s what Buddy Guy does to people.