Buddy Guy, Looking Fine and Playing Fine, at the Tender age of 79
Live at Star Plaza Theater
By Larry Henderson
November 15, 2015
Buddy Guy at 79 years young can still hold his own with players half his age. Opening the show with “Damn Right, I've Got the Blues", he had the crowd captivated for the better part of 2 hours. Buddy moves around great, and appears to be in great shape, interacting with quick wit and fabulous stories with the Star Plaza audience.
Buddy is an outstanding showman who commands attention from his adoring fans. He’s not just a tremendous talent, he’s also a fabulous entertainer. The Merrillville, IN show was the last night of his tour in support of his brilliant album “Born to Play Guitar”. Released earlier this year, the title track was a crowd favorite on this night. “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “She’s only Nineteen”, and “74 Years Young” were highlights of the night as well.
Buddy was in a feisty mood. As he was telling a story about his son somebody yelled out ‘Johnny Winter’ for some reason. Buddy stopped mid-story and asked the man in the crowd “what does Johnny Winter have to do with my son”? No logical or sober response followed as Buddy replied “If you keep your damn mouth shut you might learn something Mother Fucker” - to a tremendous roar from the Star Plaza audience. His son Greg Guy joined Buddy on stage after that. Greg is quite a talent in his own right, trading licks with his famous father. Buddy told a story about when Greg was young he was more into Prince and Michael Jackson than his Dad’s music. When people would put on his father’s music, Greg was kind of like “not again”. Then Greg went to Legends on his 21st birthday and caught Buddy playing and finally saw what the old man could do. After that he asked Buddy to get him a guitar and soon started playing.
Dressed to kill in solid black overalls and black shirt with white polka dots (of course), Buddy took his guitar out to the crowd for about 10 minutes as he played “Someone Else Is Slippin’ In”. Fans were treated to a real thrill as Buddy just jammed on the main floor and flirted with the women as people took selfies. He complimented the audience participation, which was really worth the price of admission on those 10 minutes of entertainment alone.
Toward the end of the show, the opening act of 17 year-old Quinn Sullivan and his drummer Tom Hambridge joined Buddy on stage. Sullivan has been taken under Buddy’s wing and guidance for the last nine years, and Hambridge is a Grammy award winning producer and writer, and has produced Buddy’s last four albums. They ended the show with 2008’s title track “Skin Deep” and “Meet Me in Chicago” as it was getting close to venue curfew.
I should also mention the “Damn Right Blues Band” backing Buddy, consisting of Marty Sammon-Keyboards, Ric Hall-Guitar, Orlando Wright-Bass and Tim Austin-Drums. This show was a solid 2 hours-plus that I won’t forget soon!