Firstly let me start by saying that Jonny Lang is definitely a bad man on the guitar. He's greatly talented, songs are well arranged and delivered, but for me they are a bit too sterile and boring to really do much other than get me in the mood for whoever is playing next. Being that I can talk to most anyone, I struck up some conversations with random people and there was a bit of a mixed consensus on the matter. Some people really rallied around Jonny, praising his youth and ability, but usually they ended with statements like 'he's opening for Buddy Guy!' as if I should be impressed by that fact in itself. Not so much. If anything, he should be more of an 'original' for that fact rather than being given extra grace simply for his opening slot with a legend. Good on him for his talents, building his fan base, and touring with Buddy Guy but afraid he didn't really speak to me.
That being said Buddy Guy surpassed any expectation I may have had. Hard to hate on a man who comes out and the first thing he says is 'I hope ya don't call me a bunch of bad names cuz of this weather, but I'm about to warm you up...Ima play something so funky you can smell it!' Now that's what's up! By now the crowd had been warmed up, place was nicely packed (way to represent Louisvillians), and Guy was ready to wail away on that guitar. Wail away he did, with classics all around and really had the crowd engaged and entertained. There is nothing fake or sterile about Guy, who is the real deal. Having been a 'session player' for over 20 years, in the 60's and 70s, it was amazing to see him come out and deliver his own music in such a way that you knew you were in the presence of a legend. I've seen Chuck Berry and B.B. King, but Guy reminds me of the Jimmy Cliff of the Blues. Comes out rocking a black sweatsuit, throws around some colorful language, and then proceeds to come play in the crowd at the end of the show!! It was truly amazing and if you get another chance to see this 77 year old legend, you should do it for your soul if nothing else.
Photo Credit: Ryan Armbrust and Todd DeYoung (Crowd pictures) - penalty for thievery is legal ramification. Truly.