Tonight Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the only nights left. I waited all year for Buddy Guy to play at his own club here in Chicago, and now twelve of the sixteen dates have passed. Living Blues legend Buddy Guy and his Damn Right Blues Band are, with the possible exception of B.B. King, the most famous representatives of the Blues. However, there is no more visible representative of Chicago Blues than Buddy Guy. Most of his year is spent touring with his band literally all over the world, but tradition has him doing a residency at his own club Legends for sixteen nights every January. The shows sell out quickly, and for good reason.
Buddy Guy gives his sro crowd a high energy show that is always over too quickly. He bends the audience with the same proficiency that he bends the strings on his Stratocaster. Along with his band he is the master of dynamics, and when he engages his fans, they stay engaged. The current band has backed Buddy for almost eight years. They are very very good. They are a tight, soulful blues band. Drummer Tim Austin and bassist Orlando Wright are the rhythm section. More than just the heartbeat, Austin adds interest and pop. Wright is steady, and brings to life the catchy runs you’ve come to love when listening to your Buddy Guy library. Guitarist Ric Hall has no problem shining on stage with the great one, and Buddy gives him some time to shine. Marty Sammon on keys uses piano, organ, and occasional vocal harmony to serve as a perfect foil to Buddy Guy. When Buddy grins and eases over to Sammon’s side of the stage, the fans sense the energy. After some back-and-forth between Sammon and Guy, the excitement gets ratcheted to a frenzy. The virtuosity on stage is amazing.
The new Buddy Guy’s Legends is on the Southwest corner of Balbo and Wabash (700 South Wabash). Inside you will find a friendly staff, two floors of blues fun, including three bars. It also is somewhat of a blues music shrine, with walls covered with historical blues memories.
There may still be a chance to see Thursday or Sunday’s shows, but if you can’t, mark your calendar to get tickets for next January’s shows. If you subscribe to this Blues Examiner, you will hear about it when I do next year, which should give you a fighting chance to get in.
Be sure to check out the ChicagoBluesBeat.com Gallery for a glimpse of these shows: