Buddy Guy at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury
NYCB Theatre at Westbury
October 3, 2013
Legendary Chicago guitarist Buddy Guy has seen and done it all. He is one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. The Louisiana-born, Guy was exposed to the blues at a young age, soaking up the guitar styles and influences of Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Lightnin' Slim and John Lee Hooker. After relocating to Chicago in the late '50s, Guy forged friendships with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Magic Sam and Willie Dixon as well as many other members of blues royalty while playing gigs at the 708 Club and doing session work. The life of a struggling musician is hard. Although, Guy was signed to a number of record deals through the '60s, notably to Chess Records, he released only a handful of singles. Chess didn't release his first full length albums until 1967 when I Left My Blues in San Francisco finally saw the light of day.
As the end '70s dawned, Guy found himself without a recording contract. He released albums in Europe and Japan and in 1981 Alligator Records released Alone And Acoustic with Junior Wells and the solo offering Stone Crazy. During these years Guy did extensive touringmost often appearing in Europe. In the early '90s he released a series of albums beginning with Damn Right, I've Got the Blues (Silvertone Records, 1991) that finally brought him the recognition that he deserved. Today he is recognized as one of the biggest blues acts of all time. Today this guitarist's guitarist is acknowledged as a titan in his field having influenced and/or earned the respect of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Mark Knopfler and Stevie Ray Vaughan (who have all gone on record as saying that Guy is a personal favorite).
On this night he has brought along 14-year old blues prodigy Quinn Sullivan as his opening act. For those who are unaware of Sullivan's talent, it won't be long before he's a household word. At the tender age of three, Sullivan's parents gave him a First Act acoustic guitar and the rest is history. He made an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' TV show at six. At seven, a family friend brought Sullivan to see Guy play a gig in New Bedford, MA. After the show, Sullivan was brought backstage to get his guitar signed. As Sullivan recalls it, "I just did a few licks and Buddy told me, 'You be ready when I call you.'" Guy, who regularly mentors young players was blown away. He explained in a Rolling Stone interview that "I had to unplug his amplifier to make sure it was him. I'm like, 'There's no way in the world you can play these notes.' He was hitting Eric Clapton, he was hitting me, Stevie, Jimi Hendrix. I couldn't even play a radio when I was seven or eight years old! Players like him come along once in a lifetime. I said, 'I need to let the world know about you.'" The rest, as they say is history, or at least history in the making.
Sullivan hit the stage running, playing tracks from his two releases Cyclone (Orafin Records, 2011) and Getting There (Superstar Records, 2013). Musically and emotionally mature beyond his years, Sullivan's tasty licks and stage presence had members of the audience stunned, gasping and smiling as he roared through a set that included Jimi Hendrix' "Little Wing," Eric Clapton's "Got To get Better In A Little While," covers of classic blues songs and originals (including "Buddy's Blues," "Mr. Gloom," and "My Sweet Guitar") either co-written with his producer and drummer Tom Hambridge or penned by Hambridge specifically for Sullivan.
Other highlights of his set were: "Things I Won't Forget" and the instrumental, "Cyclone" that brought the mostly forty-something crowd to its feet. At the end of his set, Sullivan said that he'd be at the merchandise table signing copies of his CDs and that the audience members should stop by to say hello. As soon as he left the stage, the crowd reacted like sharks at a feeding frenzy and Sullivan sold many copies of both of his CDs as well as quite a few t-shirts.