B.B. King and the accidental racist
[music | Public Image Ltd. - Like That]
Wrote a story about it, like to hear it?
Here it goes
As many shows as we go to, it's rare that we see a No Foolin' Around Living Legend like BB King. In fact, we almost got to see two, the openers were David Foster and the Mohegan Sun All-Stars. They were a really strong group all with long long histories in Blues. I was looking them up because I thought I recognized the organist(/second trumpet?) as having toured with the Ditty Bops in 2005. I was probably mistaken. Anyway, I learned that we just saw the touring septet, and that the full group includes Matt "Guitar" Murphy. Like "YOU BETTER THINK" Matt Guitar Murphy. Damn that would have been cool.
The All-Stars really wound everyone up. People were making more noise for them than you normally see for any opening band, it was great. I think it's because of the crowd demographics at this kind of thing, they tended to be older, probably go out a lot less than we do, and I think just got way more into it than people who go to a few shows a month. I kind of miss that really. In any case, they did about a 45 minute set consisting of a lot of blues standards, including some Joe Cocker (two of the band played with Joe Cocker, and the singer did his impression of Cocker at the mic, which made people laugh). He also looked a lot like Michael Chiklis, like Michael "The Commish" Chiklis, not Michael "The Shield" Chiklis.
B.B. King came out and just tore it up for an hour and 45 minutes, which is just crazy for an 81 year old man. He also told lots of stories of course, many of them were about his early days and growing up in the Mississippi delta region. One story in particular was about segregation and sneaking a drink at a whites only water fountain:
B.B King: "I was raised in the Delta region of Mississippi, and I was raised in a segregated society"
-- ageist digression --
The whole show I was floored by how articulate and dextrous this 81 year old guy was. I think it's because I didn't grow up with grandparents, or indeed both actual parents, my dad would be nearly the same age, that causes me to think of all people over 75 as being Reagan-esque. At the time I was growing up, Reagan was everywhere on TV for 8 years obviously, basically the Country's Grandfather. Sometimes tripping over his own words, forgetting rather important things such as ordering gun sales to Whackjob Iranians so he could overthrow Central American governments he didn't like... Ultimately being shuffled out of office after two terms by his puppeteers with "dignity" so as not to belie the utter fragility of Dear Leader. You know, normal Granddad stuff...
-- end ageist digression --
But anyway, blown away completely, still. This man has more speed in his hands at 81 than I have at 32, it was mesmerizing to watch him play.
If I had to sum it up, "Humor, humility, and blazing fast hands"
If you don't see this tour you fail music, you've been warned.
Thank you David Allen Grier for the story summary.