Psst, hey Buddy....
"Blistering" would be a good word to sum up the playing by Jonny Lang a few nights ago at the PAC.
He was the opening act for Buddy Guy at the Performing Arts Center.
I had seen him before onstage with Buddy at a salute to Jimi Hendrix, also at this venue, about a year ago.
Some reviewer had written that Jonny "had mellowed" and had "backed off" his wild and exciting guitar work.
He has NOT. If you were there, you know that!
Especially when he does his "Walkabout."
He moved through the crowd around the stadium at ChazzFest on Daniel Island.
On a freezing January night at his club in Chicago, I saw the floor had painted lanes that said "Do Not Stand Here"
He likes to come off the stage and mingle with his fans.
Bedlam ensues and flashes flash.
People stand and wobbily balance themselves on folding chairs to keep him in sight as he roams the audience in various venues.
I look forward to the Buddy Guy Stroll.
Shouting out comments. Yelling unintelligible phrases.
Hootin' and hollering.
He started a quiet work and then stopped and stared at one overly-talkative fan.
He waited. We waited. The fan kept yapping.
Buddy finally suggested the man "Shut the f*ck up."
It was very moving.
Then he gave a demo of various Blues Masters he liked and played some licks in their style.
You have to watch his face when he plays.
Constant interpretation of what he's playing. What he's feeling.
What the music does to him and to us.
While he was seated for a few acoustic songs, you noticed that even the wooden stool was painted with his patented polka dots.
He sang a song that highlighted his age.
"74 years young" was a proud recap of his life so far and I smiled because I too am 74... well, until April, when I turn 75.
Obviously, we both can say Damn Right, I've got the blues
After he finished, he remarked "Hmmm, I wrote that three years ago. Now I'm 77 years young."
At many clubs and concerts I look around
and feel I'm the oldest one there.
This night I am sure there were others around even older than I. All of us long-time fans of Buddy Guy.
A fine story-teller from a man who played with the best.
He told of auditioning for a dubious club owner in his early days who dropped coins in the jukebox and asked "Can you play like this?" as he chose different artists of the day.
Well, of course he could. And did.
Toward the end of the show, he said a young lady had approached him to ask if she could come onstage and play a song with him?
All the times I have enjoyed Buddy Guy shows, I had not seen this before.
Robert Randolph and The Family Band had agreed to having two guys come up and play with him at the Music Farm.
Buddy said he asked her - a young lady named Julie - if she could play really well?
She said yes so he called her out to share the stage.
The Lady and the Legend. Hope you were there.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
Did you read what was printed in the front of the polka-dotted drum set?