Buddy Guy! Live and Alive with Energy!

How can words describe it?

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Quinn Sullivan

It’s not everyday a living legend takes the stage. A man who learned his guitar – playing craft, not by playing, by listening to the masters of the Blues  themselves.

Think of J.K Rowling sitting next to John Steinbeck or Ernest Hemingway and learning how to write. That is exactly what Buddy Guy lived. In lieu of these famous authors, Guy sat down with legends such as Muddy Waters, T- Bone Walker and B.B. King. Friday night at the Metropolis in Montreal, the seventy- six year old passed on his lessons to a sold – out crowd.

Following a jaw – dropping set by Guy’s prodigal child; fourteen year old Quinn Sullivan, Buddy took the stage and made sure everyone knew what was on his mind .. ‘ Damn Right I Got the Blues!’

That opening song, introduced Guy to a 2013 audience in fine style. The very same tune which placed him on the map to stardom in  1991. Fame may have come late in a career that saw Guy play on Muddy Water’s ‘Live at the Copacabana’ in 1967 yet once it arrived – there has been no turning back.

Never mind the licks, the precision finger – picking’ which has established Guy as one of the finest guitar players ever, it is when Buddy opens his mouth to sing – that’s when a spectator is aware, a special moment is present. The power that escapes his mouth like a circus performer shot from a cannon, is so overwhelming – everyone’s little hairs on the back of their necks stand on guard for Buddy. It is that profound.

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Hoochie Coochie Man, the Willie Dixon – penned classic song made famous by Muddy Waters, allowed Guy the looseness to pay homage to his elders and teachers. His voice resonating around the club like a boomerang flying around the globe – returning to the home of the Blues each time. Guy’s fingers,  older compared to a guitarist like Keith Richards, a man who is seven years Guy’s junior. Buddy’s digits remain. Stalled at the age of twenty.

‘Someone Else is Steppin’ In’ demonstrated Guy’s experience. His ease on stage. A self – noted shy man offstage spins tales of love lost while integrating the lyrics of pain and heartbreak from the soul of a man who has been there a couple of times. Humor and that look – oh that look which freezes the most cold man in his tracks. When Buddy Guy speaks or sings – people listen.
Some people write lyrics. Some people sing lyrics. Some people live lyrics.
aaaa“Let the Door Knob Hit Ya’ continued the tale and the wit through words and licks.
Guy’s guitar becoming the voice of both sarcasm and truth. The ‘punters’ – lapping up each word and note like kittens hungry for their lost Mothers.
Half the people in the crowd – dumbfounded with the  energy and the ‘court’ which Guy holds as one of the last cogs in the Blues’ long and eventful history. Part Jester and part King.

‘I Just Want Make Love to You’, signaled a torch which was lit by Muddy Waters via Willie Dixon in 1954. A fire which sounds good when the Rolling Stones play it. However as the sultry chords and sexy lyrics echoed through the venue, the iconic song hit closer to home through Buddy Guy. The real apprentice of the Blues’ greats shining through with a smile and a wink. History heard. History played. History never sounded so good …

“I’ve been all around the world, everywhere is home/drank wine with Kings and the Rolling Stones/I got a few scars from the battles I won, ’cause I’m 74 years young”

Those words, autobiographical at the time they were written, summedqqqqqqqqqq up the mood of the crowd. Everyone aware of Guy’s ‘legendary status. A musician, if he / she or they survive,  reaches different levels as time goes by. The inevitable rise and peak, the fall, the rise and the exit or staying power. At one point – regardless of hits or ‘chart topper’, a plateau of God – like status is obtained and held until death. Guy is at that point in his life and career. He is the man along with B.B. King as the last men standing from an age which saw the Blues and Gospel, the Godfathers of so many genres, give birth. Guy’s guitar playing on ’74 years young’? Hendrix is smiling somewhere.

‘Drowning on Dry Land’ summoned the next leg of the Blues journey to the stage as Quinn Sullivan joined his mentor for a last lap towards the finish line of the show.
Combined with ‘Strange Brew’ – Cream’s biggest and most devilish tune, Sullivan and Guy traded licks, looks and love.
Love for each other, love for the guitar and love for the Blues. Buddy Guy discovered Quinn at the age of seven. Mr. Sullivan is only now discovering Guy in his purest form as his age is allowing him the view of a non  starry – eyed student.
‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Voodoo Chile’, a pair of  songs before a medley engulfed the Metropolis. Sullivan and Guy – note by note, lick by lick stealing each others glory. Back and forth they battled and played. Something to see as a music fan. The elder statesman and the younger student dueling in friendship. Sullivan displaying maturity beyond his years and Buddy discovering youth through and beyond Sullivan.

Damn right I got the Blues …

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