Saturday, Feb. 2
At 82, it would be easy for B.B. King to rest on his laurels. But on Saturday night, The King of the Blues showed why the title matches his last name.
King complained and apologized several times for having a cold, and while it showed at times vocally, his hands and guitar Lucille were in perfect health. As soon as he sat down and slung on Lucille, he soloed with the energy of someone a fourth his age. Even with a couple moments of static and King’s obsession with microphone adjustment, it was a fun evening of blues.
King now sits during his concerts, but he uses that to his advantage. He’s like the grandfather we all gather around in the living room as he tells stories and sings songs. A grandfather with a really tight eight-piece band backing him up. While some of his stories were longer than the songs, he held the audience in his hands. To borrow a line from the play and film Inherit The Wind, King is the only man who can strut sitting down.
The set list was pretty familiar, full of King staples like “Every Day I Have The Blues,” “How Blue Can You Get,” a sped-up “When Love Come To Town” and, of course, the closing “The Thrill Is Gone.”
King led the crowd in singing “You Are My Sunshine” and made couples smooch after the chorus. Front row smoocher and local blues guy Gene Deer participated so enthusiastically that King finally said, “Hold it!” Deer’s extended kiss was a little like the show itself: no one wanted it to end.