Words by Audra Tracy
There I was, minding my own business, sitting 7th row at the Count Basie Theatre, when 75 year old blues legend Buddy Guy descended off stage and headed in my direction. His cream colored guitar in tow, Guy walked up the aisle, ripping riffs and pushing through the flailing arms of loyal fans.
As I feverishly filmed on my iPhone, Buddy stopped right in front of my aisle seat and let loose. Just inches between me and his axe, we were eye to eye as he smiled and said ‘Hiii!’ before carrying on up the Basie’s walkway. It was a typical Friday night in Red Bank, New Jersey. You know, no big deal.
Guy had returned to the Basie for a double bill with guitar prodigy Jonny Lang, a white boy from North Dakota who can sing the blues like no other. Lang opened the show with originals like ‘A Quitter Never Wins’ and ‘Lie to Me’, and sneaked in a few choice covers by Stevie Wonder (‘Living for the City’) and Muddy Waters (‘Forty Days and Forty Nights’).
The audience at Count Basie Theatre on 6/8 experienced the evolution of blues live, led by Guy, a man who’s lived and rocked through it all. From Albert King to John Lee Hooker to ‘The Cream’, Guy’s set paid tribute to a 50+ year lineage of soul-dripping swagger. It was kind of like a music lesson, except this professor repeatedly tells mouthy pupils who interrupt his lecture to ‘Shut the f*** up, I’m not done’.
The night closed out when Lang and a elementary school-aged kid named Josh joined Guy on stage to jam out one last time for the Red Bank revelers. Josh got the crowd on their feet as he effortlessly worked the harmonica like only an old soul could.
His style may be rooted in the past, but Buddy Guy is still making new music, and he promised his pupils he’d hit the studio this November to record the follow-up to 2010’s Living Proof. Words rang true as he sang to the crowd on this night, ‘I still know how to have my fun/’cause I’m 75 years young’.
TheWaster.com | Red Bank