Guy gives his all

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The Spectrum

A diverse crowd of blues fans filled the Center For the Arts on Wednesday to see blues guitar legend Buddy Guy.
To start the evening off, Buffalo native Tom Hambridge warmed up the crowd. Less was more with Hambridge's performance, as the only instruments used during the performance were a keyboard, played by Guy's pianist Marty Sammon, and Hambridge's single drum, with improvised percussion on microphone stands.
The singer/songwriter/producer began with a song that he wrote for George Thorogood, "The Fixer." A few songs in, Hambridge slowed things down with "Shoebox," a song the audience requested.
One of Hambridge's last songs, before he gave the stage to the headlining guitar virtuoso, was "I Got Your Country Right Here" – a song Hambridge wrote, but has gotten Gretchen Wilson some radio airtime.
Guy's band gave him a booming introduction, and the crowd's welcome was just as loud.
Not a second was wasted; Guy began playing the lightening-quick licks he is known for as soon as he hit the stage. Once Guy began to play, two things became evident: why he is a legend and the impact he's had on artists like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
The band rocked out to fan favorite "Nobody Understands Me But My Guitar," before giving a great performance of the blues standard "Hoochie Coochie Man," which had Guy and backup guitarist Ric Hall trading licks.
In honor of the less than pleasant weather, the band played the beautiful blues ballad "It Feels Like Rain."
The weathered musician let the audience know how much he loves the city of Buffalo, and that he has been coming here since 1968. Guy told fans to be on the lookout for his next album, but he was unsure when it would be out because of the way his genre is treated.
"You don't hear blues on the radio anymore, but if you call me I'll come play it for you," Guy said.
Guy then graced the audience with a little history and blues lesson, saying that bluesmen had been playing songs that people loved for years after the British invasion. He also said that blues musicians used the same type of provocative lyrics as hip-hop long before the latter genre was around.
Continuing the lesson, Guy played samples of different blues styles, ranging from John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" to Eric Clapton's "Strange Brew" to a number by B.B. King, which he travelled into the audience for.
Before ending the night on a high note, Guy thanked the audience.
"I love every one of you; you couldn't make me dislike you no matter what you do," said Guy.
Rounding out the end of the night, Guy played the blues/rock classic "Voodoo Child" into "Sunshine of Your Love."
Although the musician has had 73 laps around the block, he sounds just as good as ever. His guitar playing is better than ever and his voice has the same powerful, smoky sound that his fans love. Guy gave an amazing performance and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com