I went to see the Buddy Guy and B.B. King concert at the King Center in Melbourne on February 4, 2010. It may be a bit of a drive, but with the Chart House for dinner beforehand, I figured it would be a great night all the way around.
Buddy Guy gave one of the most unique and satisfying performances I have ever seen. Ironically, the last concert I attended featured Eric Clapton. (Clapton benefited much from Guy’s unique and path-finding style and in 2005, along with B.B. King, inducted Guy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)
Guy played so soft you could hear his sweat bead then he would shift to playing tones so loud that all of Melbourne could bear witness to his greatness. Often he would talk to us in between songs and make us laugh. For many the highlight seemed to be a new song entitled “Skin Deep.” It’s a nice ballad, but seemed out of context for the Rock and Roll Blues that I connect with Guy.
After Buddy Guy’s set, I told my wife that it didn’t matter what B.B. King’s performance would be like, this was already a great night!
B.B. King’s set began with his very talented band warming us all up again. The horn section, drummer, bass player and keyboardist were rocking the place! Then slowly, the King of the Blues was helped in to his chair, front and center on the stage. He played and he sang. And then he talked. And he talked. Then he rambled and talked some more. At 85, B.B. is showing his age. During the rest of his set, there were precious few songs that showed the King’s greatness. Instead, there were ramblings ranging from how women should be treated to snipping at his drummer for being too loud. I respect his greatness, but also respect what a hundred dollar ticket means to some people.
B.B. ended the night with “The Thrill is Gone.” At least that’s what I heard at the hotel bar later that night. For us, the thrill was gone about a half hour before that, when we followed other befuddled fans quietly out the door.
Post by Guest Blogger Brian Clyne, Dean of Faculty and Students at Park Maitland School. Brian is a avid poet and music lover.