March 22, 2022
House of Blues
Review by David Simers
Photos by Will Crews
Buddy Guy Keepin' The Blues Alive
Buddy Guy is a legend. He showed why all night long at the House of Blues Dallas as he mesmerized the sold-out crowd with fantastic music, stories that made you laugh and quips that made you blush.
Colin James opened up the show and got the audience in the mood with some straight-on rock and roll. The Canadian rocker has won seven Juno Awards (equivalent to Grammy Awards in the US) and displayed some terrific licks on the guitar. Then, toward the end of his set, he said, “Let's play one by Stevie Ray Vaughan,” and the crowd erupted. The rock turned to blues and everyone bought into his music. He then played a lonely blues song before finishing with a boogie jam that left everyone with a great taste.
The frenzied audience came to see one man, though, and the great Buddy Guy came on stage with lightning fast fingering that a man of half his 85 years shouldn't be able to do. He took that right into “Damn Right I Got The Blues” and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Ever the showman, he did pelvic thrusts with his guitar and said, “I'm gonna play something so funky you can smell it!”
He was playful, making the strings stretch to make any sound he wanted, played “I'm Your Hoochie Koochie Man” and “She's 19 Years Old” with ad lib lines that only a man of his age can get away with saying. This only further engaged the crowd until the next story that topped the previous tales. Buddy became everyone's favorite after he had the crowd sing part of “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” and they sang at a slow, slow tempo. He stopped, looked out and said, “I didn't come down to Texas for you to f#*k my song up!” As usual, Marty Sammon on keys laid down a groove that made people jump and shout.
Switching from a barely-there chicken scratch to overpowering notes on the appropriately titled “Chicken Heads,” the eight-time Grammy Award winner elicited cheers from the standing fans who hugged the fence to get as close as they could. They really got a thrill when Buddy walked through the crowd toward the end of the night. Until then, though, he was demonstrative and engaging on stage and showed his love of performing live and getting an immediate response from the fans.
The National Medal of Arts recipient talked about his friends in the business as he played covers by Cream and Led Zeppelin, strumming the guitar with a drumstick and slapping it with a towel. Mr. Guy gave a history lesson in a story before jumping feet first into the beautiful “Take Me To The River” and John Lee Hooker's theme song, “Boom Boom Boom Boom.” He finished that mini set with “Strange Brew” by Cream as he told of his long friendship with Eric Clapton.
Guy talked of growing up without water or electricity, learning to play on a two-string guitar and the friends he made in his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career. He then walked through the crowd, stopping periodically to play a lightning fast riff or take a selfie with a fan. His extremely tight band jammed the whole time and never let a second pass without a hard driving note being played.
Buddy got back on stage to play “Dirty Mother Fuyer” and only slipped up on that word once while still shredding after a solid hour-and-a-half. Fans would have stayed all night long to listen to the fabled guitar slinger and master storyteller. Buddy Guy earned his standing ovation that lasted for several minutes until the lights came on and fans buzzed about the terrific show they had just seen.
Buddy Guy is 85 years old and still plays with energy that increases exponentially as the crowd gives it back to him. At his age, he can say whatever he wants – and usually does! As good as his albums are, his live show is not to be missed. He has a rapport with the crowd that is immeasurable.
Special thanks to House of Blues Dallas for their help and hospitality. Check their website as they are constantly adding new shows.