HARTFORD, Connecticut, USA – Dressed to kill in a tuxedo with small gold emblems all over it, blues legend B.B. King walked on the stage in Hartford recently with an American flag strapped on his famous Gibson guitar, which he named “Lucille” long ago.
King, who’s 76, told the crowd that his doctor told him not to stand anymore while performing.
“My band has told me that I have earned the right to sit down if I wanna,” King said. “And I wanna.”
The audience went wild.
But he didn’t sit still.
Throughout his concert at the Meadows Music Centre this month, King said things like “shake whatcha got!”
Then he’d dance around in his chair.
King also talked about his age.
“You always have to give an old man some extra time,” he said. His band was pushing the tempo a little too much for his liking, I guess.
King and his band played well-known songs that the crowd loved, including “I’ll Survive,” “Bad Case of Love,” “The Thrill is Gone,” and “You are my Sunshine.”
Of course it’s hard not to love a song when King is playing it.
King also had at least a couple of solid warm-up acts. By the time my family got to our seats after a 15-minute delay at the metal detectors, the Fabulous Thunderbirds had come and gone.
But at least we didn’t miss the man himself, or two other acts: Tower of Power and Susan Tedeschi.
Tower of Power , which has been around since 1968, electrified the crowd with favorites like “The Younger Crowd,” “Knock Yourself Out” and “I still Be Diggin’ on James Brown.” The band also played its biggest hit, “You’re Still a Young Man.”
Tower of Power is a funk/blues band with a 1970s feel, but modern likeability. Its bass lines are great and guitar riffs superb. Anyone interested in funk should pay them some attention.
Tedeschi didn’t have enough energy in her songs, and the vibes from the crowd were likewise.
But King ruled the night.
After 61 years on the road and two hours on the stage, King’s guitar solos came to an end.
He tossed out handfuls of guitar picks to the audience, and huge gold-colored chains, too.
King then left the crowd with one question: “Maybe I can come back again someday?”
Yes, B.B., you can come back anytime you want.
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