Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Guitar Legend Buddy Guy Says Goodbye to Saint Louis With Memorable Final Show Here

Buddy Guy performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

 

–by Vicki Lee and Randy Thompson

–photos by Kenny Williamson/RKNPHOTO

 

Guitar legend Buddy Guy made a stop at The Factory in Saint Louis on Monday which was near capacity for his final performance in the Gateway City during his “Damn Right Farewell” tour.

The people were still filling the seats when openers The Ally Venable Band took the stage. The band started slow and smooth with a cover of the Bill Withers classic “Use Me”. Ally has a soulful, clear voice and fantastic guitar licks treating the audience to a long guitar solo on the song while the drummer, Isaac Pulido, kept the beat strong.  Ally then moved into some of her own music including the title track from her new album Real Gone! which drops on March 24th; Buddy Guy also makes a guest appearance on the album.

Ally Venable performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

Then she dropped into the slow/bluesy stylings of “Comfort”, her voice and guitar alternately dripping with honey and wailing in longing.  There were shouts from the audience of “Git it, girl!” and “Tell ‘em!”.  The crowd had shown up and so had Ally, at one point falling to her knees while soloing during an instrumental piece the drums and bass, played by EJ Bedford, supporting her all the way to the floor and up again.  She ended her set with a tribute to her other big guide (after Buddy Guy), Stevie Ray Vaughan.  She played with energy and has blues riffs and heat as well as grace that would have made him proud.

Ally Venable performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

Arriving on the darkened stage to the strains of “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana the guitar came crashing through and the lights came up; Eric Gales had taken the stage with his band in a semi-circle around him.  Eric Gales is an amazing old-style blues man in an updated, current world.  He plays an upside-down guitar and can shred like Hendrix but with his own lyrics, based on his own personal experiences in this current world.  He has the blues licks of Albert Collins but inlays them with his own blend of rock and funk.

Eric Gales performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

Gales started the set with “You Don’t Know the Blues” and he and the band meshed into a well-oiled blues machine with bass, drums, keyboards and sax all playing their part. Gales talked for a few minutes about his journey through addiction and asked the crowd if we would celebrate his six and a half years of sobriety, the full house shouted its joy.  Then he started singing “Survivor” a blues story with a harder, rock edge and a stronger message about how the world is and how we can change and be a survivor. It’s a song that has shredding solos and then a soft, almost gospel refrain.  From there he moved into “My Own Best Friend” and “Put It Back”.

Eric Gales performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

All the music that Eric Gales performed was from his latest album Crown and he finished by expressing his love and gratitude to the audience; he played “Too Close to the Fire” and left the stage.   It was an amazing performance to watch; electric, danceable, hard-driving and vulnerable; if you have the opportunity to see him live, take it!

Buddy Guy performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

I saw Buddy Guy back in August at the Live! at the Intersection Festival and I wondered if the man in overalls and button-down shirt playing guitar and telling stories in the hot sun would make an appearance.  Afterall, the Factory is a much nicer place than stage in the middle of the street.  But when Buddy Guy took the stage with his band, The Damn Right Blues Band, he was still in his overalls and a button-down shirt playing a wicked guitar and telling stories.  The sound was much better, of course, so the songs were deeper and richer when Buddy Guy started singing “Damn Right I Got the Blues” and then “Hoochie Coochie Man”.

Buddy Guy performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

Buddy had to stop at one point in the song and warn everyone “Don’t Fuck Up My Song” making everyone start again to sing the chorus.  Throughout the concert and with almost every song they were stories and mentions of other blues men from Bobby Rush when singing “Chicken Heads” to John Lee Hooker’s “Boom, Boom”.  While playing “Slippin’ In and Slippin’ Out” near the end of the show Buddy Guy decided to come down from the stage and walk through the crowd still playing. The crowd was really wound up and even though people wanted to rush at him they were still very respectful, when someone would try to touch him he would shake his head no and keep moving.

Buddy Guy performing at The Factory. Photo by Kenny Williamson/ RKNPHOTO.

As the concert ended, he brought to the stage his son, Greg Guy, Ally Venable and Eric Gales and they played two songs together while Guy walked the stage, tossed picks, and waved goodbye while the crowd cheered wildly.  At 87 I suppose you’ve earned the right to retire but the crowd will always want one more song from Buddy Guy.

 

Buddy Guy Setlist

Damn Right I Got the Blues

I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man

She’s Nineteen Years Old

I Just Want to Make Love to You

Chicken Head

Skin Deep

You Don’t Love Me Baby

Take Me to The River

How Blue Can You Get

Fever

Someone Else is Steppin’ In

Boom, Boom

Cheaper To Keep Her

 

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