Listen to Buddy Guy on Rhapsody

Words by: Martin Halo :: Images by: Rod Snyder

Buddy Guy :: 04.05.07 :: Kimmel Center :: Philadelphia, PA

Buddy Guy :: 04.05.07
“Gypsy woman told my mama before I was born, gonna make pretty women scream and shout,” says Buddy Guy in a whisper before a dead silent capacity crowd at the Kimmel Center. Isolated, frenzied responses to the line bounce off the walls of the acoustically impeccable hall. As Guy arches his back, the shadow that was cast over his face from the brim of his derby hat recedes. His eyes are closed as the 70-year old blues legend sent licks flying into the air.

With his cream colored Stratocaster glistening, Guy lets out a moan that shatters the formal intimacy of the performance and opens the floodgates to a full-blown American blues revival. Philadelphia has fallen under his spell. He asks us, “Do you want me to play something funky?” Following the inevitable applause his backing band leans into it and Guy says, “It’s so funky in here I can smell it!”

Buddy Guy :: 04.05.07
The crowd teeters on hysteria. Guy continues to work the room. “You know there have been a lot of great musicians who are now gone, and when I stand on this stage I can feel them.” With that, Guy released the pent-up excitement in the room by venturing into the audience while manhandling his instrument.

The once awkwardly tame crowd explodes. As the house lights rise, Guy walks down the aisle firing off solos. Everyone is on their feet, and the band sways in sympathetic rhythm. Guy continues to testify, and like a religious experience a hot flash rushes down my spine. The groove brings back memories of poppy vinyl and silver spoons, my personal relationship with the American Blues flashing in my mind’s eye.

Buddy Guy :: 04.05.07
Guy shifts gears as he makes his way up to the first balcony and launches into “Rock My Plimsoul.” Microphone in hand, he leans over an unsuspecting woman and shouts, “Rock me baby! Rock me all night long!”

By the time he returns to the stage, the blues stank was so pungent it moistened the soul. Fittingly, Guy then paid homage to a few selected peers, performing John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom,” a faithful reproduction of Cream‘s “Strange Brew” and a wah-wah caressed take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile.”

Ringing feedback from the neck of his guitar, Guy slowly brings the instrument to his mouth and picks it with his teeth. The response was overwhelming and sincere. “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” capped off the night just before 11 p.m. There was no encore and no disappointment for anyone lucky enough to be present for this spectacular 12-bar ritual.

Check out JamBase’s interview with Buddy Guy HERE.

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