Guy and his four-piece band appeared onstage around 10:30 PM to praises and thanks from the audience. Before they even started I heard someone shout: “Thank you Buddy for having this club!” The master was sharply dressed in a black and white pinstripe suit, white brimmed hat, and classic black and white Puma sneakers. Armed with his signature blonde-over-ash Fender Stratocaster, Guy laid into Slim Harpo’s classic King Bee with rock-hard electric blues. Guy attacked each phrase with pure conviction only to ease off into a relaxed, alluring croon.
In between numbers Guy apologized to his audience and said he was feeling under the weather. “I never cancel a show,” Guy said to the room of adoring fans. “If I can’t sing it, Ill string it…(crowd cheers)…you’ll have to put up with it tonight…(more cheers)…you all can sing just don’t fuck the song up!” Naturally, the audience took the challenge and made a point to sing along. Guy then laid into another blues classic, Got My Mojo Working. The band drove the tempo as listeners rocked in place and attempted to keep up. The band grooved on while Guy gleefully called his fans out for “fucking up the song.”
He gave them a second chance during Muddy Waters’ jewel Hoochie Coochie Man. As the band set-down the 12-bar blues, Guy employed his guitar to tantalize the room, starting gentle and seductive then rip roaring with full electricity. He backed off to sing the opening verse, to which the crowd joined in. And much to Guy’s humor and dismay, the audience “fucked up” the lyrics yet again.
Guy laughed the smudge off and gave the audience one last chance to get it right. Luckily they nailed it the second time around, and were rewarded with a howling guitar solo. Guy needed a moment to catch his breath and ordered his band to “play some funk where you can smell it,” and that they did. Loyal and strong, Guy’s men held down the stage with a malodorous mixture of funk crossed blues. Guitarist Ric Hall picked up where Guy left off, laying down his own brand of impulsive electric artistry.
For the second half of the show Guy strayed from the classics and dove into his original catalogue. He grew soulful and sentimental during Skin Deep, fresh and alive for 74 Years Young and tempered and staunch for Let the Doorknob Hit Ya. Guy’s guitar responded to his every touch, for each time his fingers met the strings electric sparks shot out. He would run his fingers down the neck of his guitar and produce waves of feedback, only to abruptly (and flawlessly) transition to soft tinkering. The tinkering was colored with embellished yelps and bends of strings, while Guy coyly teased seductive innuendos into the mic.
Guy was a showman through and through and always kept the audience in mind. At age 74 he managed to pull out an assortment of tricks such as: gifting ladies freshly played guitar picks (I have to brag that I was a casualty of his womanizing), serenading random women, twirling his guitar and of course exiting the stage to solo while slinking through the crowd without missing a note. Once Guy returned to the stage he let loose and unleashed the ultimate sonic threat on guitar. Adding to the theatrics Guy took a drumstick to his instrument and proceeded to masterfully shred raunchy blues-rock.
Guy closed out the evening with an invite to his 11 year old protégé, Quinn Sullivan, to join him onstage. Sullivan was scheduled to open show number 16 later that weekend, and just happened to be in attendance. Thursday’s crowd got a small taste of the young wonder as he and Guy threw down Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile. The power behind Sullivan’s playing was unreal, making it hard to believe he was only 11. The two traded guitar riffs and ultimately joined forces culminating in one hell of an encore.
After two-plus hours of hair raising electric blues my face hurt from holding a dopey smile of sheer enjoyment. As I braved cold gusts of lake effect wind and walked towards the train, I thought to myself “Hot damn! The blues have never felt so good!”
Quinn Sullivan Solo:
This kind of music has greatly influenced me and the kind of music I play. As a guitar player, I always want to improve and I even bought new guitar accessories recently to improve my guitar-playing.