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Legend Buddy Guy mesmerizes audience at UB’s Center for the Arts

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Blues legend Buddy Guy performed on more than just the stage Friday night at the Center for the Arts.

As he performed his 1994 hit “Someone Else is Steppin’ in,” Guy walked off stage and traveled so deep into the floor level of the venue that he was no longer visible from the balcony. Audience members ran around trying to catch a glimpse of the action.

Guy shared decades of his music with an adoring, packed audience.

Kim Bonds, a Buffalo resident had a front row seat.

“I was standing at the top of the stairs, I looked back, and here comes Buddy Guy playing the guitar and he stopped right there in front of me,” Bonds said. “I love that about him. You don’t get too many stars that will do that.”

Guy’s showmanship didn’t just end with an audience venture. The 80-year-old musician proved that age is just a number by displaying his masterful guitar tricks.

Guy was unforgettably playful as he performed a medley of songs from some of his favorite guitarists: Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix. He played the guitar with his teeth, a drumstick, a towel and even his behind.

Comedy complemented the stage theatrics. Guy kept things fresh and interesting between songs by messing with the older crowd. His excessive use of f-bombs added to the liveliness of the night.

At one point, Guy asked a woman in the crowd to name his latest album. When a different audience member answered, Guy jokingly put him in his place.

“Shut the f**k up, I didn’t ask you,” Guy said.

This type of humor kept the audience engaged even when the tunes stopped.

When Guy played “Hoochie Coochie Man,” he gave the audience exactly what they came for.

Guy’s full band took the volume to its quietest level during the song. When they brought the sound back up, the band did it with style. Guy shook his legs and thrusted on his guitar as he shredded, much to the delight of the crowd.

“Feels Like Rain” was another crowd pleaser. The laid back tune gave Guy the chance to showcase his aged and beautiful vocals. The seductive guitar solo later in the song was also well received and switched up the mood of the show.

When Buddy wasn’t joking or playing the strings, he told stories of his past to the crowd.

He spoke of playing in Buffalo with Muddy Waters and Junior Wells, as well as growing up without his mother. Guy’s life experience and wise tone added a special flare to an already eventful night.

After speaking fondly of his late mother, Guy brought his opening act to the stage.

Tom Hambridge provided backing vocals as he and Guy performed their song “Skin Deep.”

The heartwarming track advises listeners to be careful of how they treat each other, a lesson that Guy’s mother taught him before her death.

The message touched Vishal Raghu, a sophomore neuroscience major.

“My favorite part of [the show] was when he talked about his mother,” Raghu said. “It was moving.”

Guy’s show was something that Raghu had been looking forward to and something he won’t forget anytime soon.

“It was a memorable show for me,” he said. “It was my first time seeing Buddy Guy. That’s off my bucket list now.”

Audience members will also remember fellow blues musician and Grammy winner Tom Hambridge who opened the show. Hambridge is well known in the Buffalo community and even has a day dedicated to him.

Hambridge performed his set with only a snare drum and a cymbal, receiving assistance from a backing keyboardist. This touch showcased his skills with the sticks as he played them on his entire setup, even the mic stand.

Hambridge’s set in itself was memorable, but he hopes to never forget his experiences touring with Buddy Guy.

“Sometimes you have to step back, shake your head and go ‘Okay. I have to remember every minute of this,’” Hambridge said. “You’re playing with a legend, he’s 80-years old, he’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he’s the last standing blues legend. I try not to ever take it for granted.”

Brenton J. Blanchet is the Asst. Arts Editor and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.


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