BB King
June 4, 2011
Simpsonville, SC
Charter Amphitheatre
Concert Review by Joseph Hett


Photo by Joseph Hett

BB King Gives A Full Plate Of Blues In Simpsonville

Blues music was in full swing Saturday night at the Charter Amphitheatre in Simpsonville, SC for the Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival. It was a star studded event with legendary blues performers Buddy Guy and BB King.

Buddy Guy entered the stage with his electric guitar blazing. He gave a masterful performance of “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man.” He really let the blues loose with the fan favorite “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues.” The drums, bass and keyboards picked up speed as they performed “Let the Door Knob Hit Ya.”

The elder bluesman even let everyone know his age through “74 Years Young,” a track off of his new album, “Living Proof.” His fingers moved more like a 24-year-old, not a 74-year-old. He then performed a very personal and emotional song titled “Skin Deep.” He explained that his late mother told him that “underneath we’re all the same” to prepare him for racial inequality as he was growing up.

He also took the crowd on a history lesson through the different blues musicians of the past. He would tell a story, and then play just like the artist that he just spoke about. He performed covers of Albert King’s “Drowning on Dry Land,” John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” and “Strange Brew” by Cream.

Guy said that he could have played all night long but had to go to make way for the best blues player there ever has been, BB King.

Now it was BB King’s turn to lay the blues down for the crowd. The band played a couple warm-up songs before the King of Blues entered. He sat at the center of the stage. His guitar, Lucille, was quickly placed on his lap. He then began to pick on Lucille and make his distinctive blues sound.

King began “Every Day I Have the Blues” and picked Lucille, and once the blues rhythm settled down he spoke with the crowd to make sure they were having a good time. He communicated with the crowd throughout the whole show, by telling stories and jokes along the way.

He pointed out that he was 85 years old several times. He can still play and sing like if he was a significantly younger man. This was evident with “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” and “I Need You So Bad.” He had the crowd sing along with him to “You Are My Sunshine.”

For the final song of the night, the crowd erupted and ran towards the stage to get a glimpse of the master perform “The Thrill is Gone.” He made Lucille scream with all of the string bending. He also gave a great vocal performance. King was backed by a very tight and strong blues band which made the night even more enjoyable.

The night ended with a standing ovation for the King of Blues, BB King.