Buddy Guy, blues legend and seminal figure in the history of guitar, brought down the house at a sold-out show Sept. 20 at Reynolds Performance Hall, featuring some of the award-winning artist’s best work.
Guy and his band opened with a spirited rendition of “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues,” immediately rousing the crowd.
He smiled at the conclusion of his opening song, and said, “Excuse my language, but shit, y’all could make me play all night.”
Before launching into his next song, Guy said, “I’m about to play something so funky y’all can smell it,” then launched into a cover of Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man.”
Guy involved audience members throughout the night by encouraging the audience to sing along and talking to them about himself and his music. Near the end of the show, Guy even walked offstage and into the crowd while playing a blistering solo.
His talent was on full display, but he didn’t hesitate to let the other members of his band take the spotlight and demonstrate their mastery of the blues. Marty Sammon, Guy’s keyboardist, layed down several soaring solos. Ric Jaz, Guy’s rhythm guitarist, played a scorching solo during the band’s rendition of “(You Give Me) Fever.”
Guy also brought Quinn Sullivan onstage during his show. Sullivan, Guy’s opening act, quickly demonstrated why Guy chose to tour with the 18-year-old prodigy. Sullivan proved himself as an extremely skilled musician, playing original songs like “Cyclone” and “Midnight Highway” before the main show.
A wide variety of people were in attendance at the show, from students to members of the community, as well as UCA faculty members, including UCA President Houston Davis.
“I was absolutely blown away,” Davis said. “I knew that he is a world-renowned talent, but getting to see him in person was incredible. He’s just an artist, someone who was blessed with talent from the
get-go. For him to still be able to do that at 82, that’s pretty special.”
Freshman Brayden Discenza said, “I was raised on blues. It’s really cool to hear somebody you listen to and you’re raised on live. It’s one of the best feelings to just watch people jam.”
Like good cognac, Guy has aged to perfection. The seven-time Grammy winner’s guitar playing is as startling and electrifying as it ever was, proving him a master of his instrument. Rolling Stone Magazine ranks Guy No. 23 on its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list.
Near the end of the show, Guy paid tribute to several of his favorite blues artists, all friends of his, with covers of the late B.B. King’s “Sweet 16,” John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” and Eric Clapton’s “Strange Brew.”
“It was awesome. I’m so glad we came. Even at 82 he can still tear it up,” freshman Brandon Yant said. “You can tell he’s having fun up there.”
Photo by Lauren Swaim