The legendary Buddy Guy, along with his 15 year old protégée Quinn Sullivan, turned SunCenter Studios into a blues oasis reminiscent of Chicago’s Grant Park last night.
When the baby faced 15 year old white kid wearing jeans and a tee shirt was introduced to open the show, a few folks applauded while I was surprised there was an opening at all. After about the 3rd note, I gave him permission to stay. Quinn Sullivan was discovered as an 8 year old coming on stage at a Buddy Guy’s show. He was so good, Buddy has had him on the road with him since.
Buddy Guy wasted no time showing off his guitar chops. The distinctive cacophony of electric guitar distortion pierced the gorgeous night air and reminded all within earshot why his style influenced many of the great rock bands. For a 78 year old to stand and play as he did, and to sing so many songs ranging from soft ballets to grimy blues, justifies why he’s in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The amphitheater facing Concord road and backed up to the old Sun Center auditorium seats a surprising 1500 people. The sound had perfect clarity which isn’t alway easy to accomplish outdoors and it was just loud enough not to annoy. It is a perfect setting.
Some came early and tailgated. Other’s purchased from the concessions and sat at the picnic tables set up in the back. As with most blues shows, the crowd was 95% white and mostly over 50, but there was a nice smattering of youngsters, too.
I was so excited to see Buddy Guy. Whenever I see him perform on tv, he always appears to be just a step beyond the other guitarists on the set. Because he mixed in a lot of singing, he didn’t play as much as I expected considering how greedy I am, but he ain’t 40 years old either.
Buddy made no bones about how disappointed he is that blues gets no radio play other than on satellite which is the main reason he’s grooming Quinn Sullivan to continue the blues tradition in hopes that it becomes mainstream again. Personally, I’ve never been disappointed at a live blues show. Those guys are built to entertain.
If you ask a kid what R&B stands for, you probably will hear, “rap, and something else.” At least that’s the answer I always get. Unfortunately, the B for Blues has faded from black listeners ears. I wonder why.