Saturday, June 24, 2006

Riding with the King - B.B. King & Eric Clapton

What a musical month this has been. As readers of this blog know, I enjoy live music concerts and will hop in the car for a 2-hour drive up to Myrtle Beach when the House of Blues brings in someone I really want to see.

The trick is to arrive around 5pm and have a burger or sandwich at HOB. Your dining receipt allows you to go to a "special" entrance with a covered walkway while the general public lines up and snakes back through the simmering paved parking lot amidst the three tiny shade trees.

Since you're out of the sun or rain, the decision on when to get in line depends on the artist. Two weeks ago, for Chicago Blues legend Buddy Guy, we showed our receipt one hour before the doors opened and we joined four others at the head of the line. Last Friday we were there to see B.B. King and joined the line 1 1/2 hours early and there were about 6 people ahead of us. Within 30 minutes, about 200 people were standing or sitting behind us.

Being in front of the line means you have an excellent opportunity to race in and grab one of the few barstools in the very large 2-story club. Or, you certainly are assured a spot right in front of the stage, leaning on the cushioned security railing. Either one is great because the doors open one hour before the show starts. You learn to be patient... and to wear comfortable shoes. A bonus for being in front, when the guitar picks are thrown to the audience, you'll probably get one!

King is on his 80th Birthday Tour and never sounded better. He sang and played his guitar he named "Lucille" and joked with the audience and his blues band which features 4 horns, a great bass, drums, keyboard and lead guitar. The band leader has been with him for 27 years and they've toured 90 countries. (I first saw King at Brittlebank Park in 1997 when he was only 71.)

The photo of Buddy Guy was taken in Columbia a few years ago at the Three Rivers Music Festival before he shaved his head. When I saw him last year in Atlanta at The Tabernacle he introduced his bald look. It was the night after he had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

While waiting in line we talked with a local fellow who has been to 125 concerts at HOB and elsewhere. He had a tip on getting good placement for the upcoming Eric Clapton concert in Charlotte...join his fan club and have access to good prices for down front seating. It worked well! We have seats in the 8th row in October. It's assigned seating - like we had for 10th row for the Eagles in Charleston at the Coliseum - so my legs and feet will get a break. I'll have my ear plugs of course. Just in case.

Oh, one final note on music media, I've added a link to PeerFlix. I found it about a year ago and it's an excellent LEGAL Peer to Peer setup that lets you list DVDs that you have and enjoyed but don't need anymore. You get other DVDs from people and earn "points" to use for future trades. Each DVD to you is $1. I've had about 65 DVDs pass through here and, on each one I send out, I add a note to "check my blog." We do what we have to do.

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