Buddy Guy is a force of nature.
Nothing could contain him during his sold-out performance in The Egg’s Hart Theatre Thursday night — from the songs themselves, which blended together, ebbing and flowing at the legendary guitarist’s whim — to the stage itself.
Throughout the evening, Guy ran back and forth with his instrument, picking and shouting, and ending up in the audience for an entire song mid-set. “Right now I feel like I’m 21,” Guy belted during another tune, “74 Years Young,” off last year’s Grammy-winning “Living Proof.” And from all appearances, he was telling the truth.
Beginning a little after 8:30, Guy stretched out his performance for two hours, touching on everything from soul to rock to funk — and needless to say, lots and lots of blues.
Opening number “Nobody Understands Me But My Guitar” set the tone early on, with Guy’s frantic picking punctuating his dry lyrical delivery.
Without so much as a pause, the band shifted gears, heading directly into Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man.” The supporting cast got some time in the spotlight here, with guitarist Ric Hall and keyboardist Marty Sammon each laying down solos over bassist Orlando Wright and drummer Tim Austin’s relentless backbeat.
“Someone Else is Slippin’ In” featured the first (and not the last) instance of Guy chastising the audience for not knowing the lyrics to the songs when attempting to sing along. The guitarist’s dry sense of humor kept things light and loose throughout the evening — not that the playing wasn’t already in this vein.
Guy’s newer songs, such as “Skin Deep” and “74 Years Young,” brought a different feel to the set, helping to break up the major blues workouts that dominated for the rest of the evening.
While Guy was certainly holding things down fine on his own, the introduction of guests Joe Louis Walker and opener Quinn Sullivan brought things to a whole new level. Throughout songs including “Let the Door Knob Hit Ya” and “I Got My Mojo Working,” the three guitarists pushed and pulled at each other, ripping each piece of music to shreds with knockout soloing. The three continued to play until it seemed as if they would collapse, bringing the evening to a satisfying climax that skipped the clichéd encore routine.
Preteen guitar shredder Sullivan killed during his opening set, easily winning over the early comers with his deft instrumental precision on such original blues-rock songs as “Blues Child” and “Weekend Uniform.” Never mind the child prodigy label — although the 12-year-old certainly qualifies — this was just a set of good guitar playing by any standards.
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