Blues legend Buddy Guy electrifies Laxson Auditorium

Buddy Guy performs and engages the audience with one of his stories on Tuesday during a concert at Laxson Auditorium. Photo credit: Caio Calado

Purple and blue lights dimly hit the performance stage. A faint keyboard chord lays in for a few seconds. And then all of a sudden, a huge “BOOM” sound drives from the drums to kick off the first song.

Out from the side of the stage at Laxson Auditorium on Tuesday came Buddy Guy, wearing his elaborate polka-dot shirt he is known for. He raised his hand modestly to the roaring crowd.

Instantly, he broke out into a gigantic guitar solo by bending his strings immensely, hitting notes that skyrocketed from low- to high-pitched ranges. With both slow and insanely fast melody lines, the sound filled up the auditorium for two minutes.

One last note squeals and then finishes. He looks up and yells into the microphone: “You know goddamn well I got the blues.”

The classic “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” played on with the crowd singing along with the lyrics. Every word coming from his mouth was loud and emotional, with vocals that ranged from low and harsh to high and soulful.

Guy had a unique song written four years ago titled “74 Years Young” that was fitting for his instrument playing and personality. His stage antics were hilarious, full of strength and inviting all at once.

The other guitarist he had on stage delivered amazing solos as well. His performance confidence was just as high as Guy’s. He struck a guitar string and then miraculously spun his guitar completely around in circles twice.

Between songs, Guy made lots of jokes filled with cursing of all sorts. It was as if it was a concert and comedy show in one.

Guy loved the crowd’s vibe from his music so much that he stepped off the stage and played in the audience. Not just the front audience. He walked all the way to the back row and then all the way upstairs. He moved throughout the audience while soloing and singing his head off, making it a special experience.

Another surprise in the concert was that Guy brought out his son, who also played guitar just as well. They performed the song “Feels Like Rain” together, which was more slow-paced and gospel-like but still gave room for rocking blues solos from all of the band members, including the keyboardist.

At the end of the last hard-hitting song, Guy spoke his last words to the audience saying, “Whatever you do out there, keep doing it. I love you all.”

And then he waved his hand as he left the stage feeling 78 years young.

Tom Sundgren can be reached at [email protected] or @tomsundgren on Twitter.