Concert Follow-Up

Still working out details, which will take a while.

I've received a few emails from friends asking how the concert went. I must say: I'm somewhat embarrassed that the tickets were only $45 each. Could have sat up in the regular seats, but I think we had the perfect deal. See here.

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And here's a wide-angle shot of the venue, just as Charlie Musselwhite took stage.

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It was a good time, though I think that Charlie and Buddy Guy would have been sufficient. "George Thurlgood and the Deleware Destroyers" — the headliner — were great, but I'm familiar with all their stuff. Interestingly, Bea was somewhat unfamiliar and loved George (especially the "I Drink Alone" song). But she got it, and this please me immensely. On the drive home, she says, "I see. It's all about the Blues, isn't it?" Yep.

I really enjoyed Charlie Musselwhite, playing his harps. He did a number of things, old and new, and then something he learned in South America where street performers in Rio have managed to fuse blues and Latin rhythm. It was interesting and something I can definitely enjoy in reasonable doses. But mostly, it reminded me of a friend from way back in my days of living in France. He was the youngest of the sons of Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, journalist and founder of L'Express, author, and politician. My friend spent much of his childhood in the U.S., and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. He was doing his 2-yr French Military Service when I met him and we spent a lot of time getting "integrated with the local French bar scene." Anyway, one of his hobbies was that he had learned to play a really respectable blues-harp, and with some encouragement, he'd take it out and play for everyone at the various drinking establishments or private parties we frequented. He was really damn good as far as I could tell and I was always interested to know what kind of effort went into learning to play like that. Maybe Ron Good knows.

Buddy Guy. What can I say? He goes to the top of the list in terms of performances I've ever seen that I liked. I'm really at a loss to describe it. How about this: he's 72 years old, and I'd have preferred watching his masterful performance, then, to watching any cocksure 20 or 30-something I could possibly have thought of. How about that? Some may be better than him when they're 72, but we won't know that. In the meantime, I'm plenty satisfied that reality marches on and when executed properly, there's no substitute for solid and competent experience.

He did his various impressions, and threw a good-humor f-bomb or two when the audience objected in hushed boos to his assertion that we only knew the great blues because the Brits (re) introduced them to us. This was after his BB impression, and right before his Eric Clapton impression, which, I must say, was hilarious and touching all at the same time. Here's the deal: how many people even could imitate Clapton playing blues guitar? Whether he's right about the Brits and blues wasn't important. It was all in the context of entertainment, and I was just fine.

I was hoping for a Jimmy impression, but I hoped in vain. Well, at least Buddy complained a time or two about not having enough time. He'd have played until he dropped, had he been allowed to. That was the impression we got, anyway. I don't usually speak for "we," but I feel safe in this single instance. Buddy, as I've learned, in one of his entertainer trademarks, like to visit with the audience. In this case, he B-lined it for the cheap seats, and here's what my iPhone shot.

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The respect, admiration, and goodwill in that scene was thick enough to cut with a knife.

Now, here's a couple for my friend, who taught me to pay attention to that which "nobody notices unless you fuck it up."

Thorogood getting the treatment of the full light capability (the other shows didn't).

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And now with lights on the audience, signaling that some sort of audience response is desired.

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2 Comments

  1. Ron Good on August 18, 2008 at 16:34

    Hiya Rich: I don't know the harp player you're referencing, but I do know a fair bit about what it takes to learn to play harp decently: the line between successful practice and full-blown OCD is not a thick one :-)

    But here's the skinny on playing any instrument: the easy stuff is easy and the hard stuff is hard–doesn't matter which instrument. Pick up any instrument and half pay attention to what you're doing for a few weeks, say, and you'll make some sense of it fairly soon.

    Ah, but the tricky stuff takes the rest of your life, and you still never get *all* of it down pat; doesn't matter how much you practice. Really concerted practice over a period of many years just gives you a much better idea of how much you don't know and how much there is to learn.

  2. Special Occasions on January 28, 2009 at 20:29

    Thank you for sharing something so incredible.

    Rose.

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