TICKETS TORN IN HALF10/10/91: JOHN LEE HOOKER& THE COAST TO COAST BLUES BAND,THE BENSON & HEDGES BLUES EXPLOSION with Buddy Guy, John Campbell,Tinsley Ellis @ THE BEACON, NYC. When a legend is on the bill you must go. When TWO legends are on the bill, you must get as close to the front as you possibly can, which I did. Directly up front and center. I sat next to an elderly man who knew everything in the world about JOHN LEE HOOKER, and was interested in my observations of Mr. Buddy Guy. He nor I knew anything about Campbell nor Ellis but enjoyed their sets. Buddy was as always “on”, and more so in his excitement of sharing a stage with John Lee Hooker.Note:This was two years after THE HEALER album.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF:September 2,1992-RAY CHARLES /BB KING/BLUES FEST@Jones BEACH w/BUDDY GUY,Dr. JOHN, FABULOUS T-BIRDS
There is no way I am going to miss seeing RAY CHARLES heading a bill with BUDDY GUY.This was the only show I desired tickets for in quite some time and good ones I got, great seats up front in the newly re-designed amphitheater known as JONES BEACH. This place has come along way since GUY LOMBARDO used to stage musicals 6 nights a week. More seating and a bit more comfortable but still outside an some of inside is a “no fun zone”.
We arrived late and missed some of the T-Birds who were nearly finished with their set. Seems they went on early. DR. JOHN was wonderful as always. BUDDY GUY on fire followed by BB who was bluesy to say the least and I cried when Ray sang GEORGIA and GOD BLESS AMERICA. “What a night,” as Dr. John would sing.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF:August 31,1996: HOUSE OF BLUES BARNBURNER TOUR featuring JOE COCKER, BUDDY GUY, THE RADIATORS,The FABULOUS T-BIRDS and THE GALES BROTHERS@Jones Beach,Wantagh,NY
I really don’t know if it makes any sense but I was willing to sit through ALL the other bands AND stay for Joe Cocker, for a few songs, just to see BUDDY GUY again. The man is a show unto himself and well worth the price of admission. Story goes: a woman at work takes the morning off, arrives early to get a numbered bracelet to wait in a second holding area to purchase tickets for some/all of the tickets available for the summer series at Jones Beach. I give her my cash and with specific instructions,”only buy me tickets if they are on the floor AND real, real close”. Bingo, I’m in.
THE GALES BROTHERS opened in the late afternoon to a sparse crowd of about 300. What a shame as they were entertaining.The Fabulous Thunderbirds, this being 1996 many moons after Jimmie Vaughn and Duke Robillard, should rebrand as THE THUNDERBIRDS with KIM WILSON. THE RADIATORS are a funky, as in very funky, NEW ORLEANS ensemble that rocked the joint. The crowd was growing by the minute and with each song the applause got louder. The sun was going down as BUDDY GUY hit the stage and before he was done the place was standing and rockin’. Buddy made his venture out into the crowd and slipped pass me, an aisle seat about 14 rows back. He stopped, saw me nod, and played a few licks as if just for my enjoyment. WOW, he was great.
“We’re going to make it so funky you can smell it,” the Chicago bluesman promised early on, standing in front of the logo of the tour’s sponsor, the House of Blues.
Guy showed himself a master of extremes, unafraid to bring the volume of his lead-playing to a level that was barely audible before returning to his ecstatic, tortured leads. If his set’s pacing was sometimes jarring, and perhaps too generous with solos from band members, it was always redeemed by the playing. Guy strolled deep into the crowd, posed for a snapshot and found a seat, all while playing a euphoric succession of mournful, inspirational notes.
After that, even an eccentric blues-pop shouter like headliner Joe Cocker was left in a compromised position. Cocker was at his best with the slowest material, ballads flavored with a touch of gospel, his vocals pushed to the edge of tears. This unlikely British ’60s hit maker was a frequent presence on the charts up through the late ’80s. Unfortunately for Cocker, the night’s best moments were overwhelmingly with the old hits, from his epic version of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends” to the ’80s innuendo of “You Can Leave Your Hat On.”
AMEN to that, Brother.