Written by Dave Clements
ImageEvery now and then I will have an opportunity to first pinch myself to make sure it’s really happening and then have a sense of honor that I am able to do what I am doing at this time of my life.  Last night was such an evening and it couldn’t have happened at a better venue than Houston’s House of Blues.  I got the chance to cover someone who is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1987.

The opportunity was to finally witness Mr. Riley Blues Boy B. B. King up close and personal on stage live making his guitar do things that I didn’t think were possible especially for a gentleman 88 years old. Or better yet 88 years young.

While many people still living at B.B.’s age are in their rocking chairs kicked back and reflecting on their lives, this gentleman is out there showing that you can still  be young at 88 if you have a mind to.  As one of the best guitarist of all time he can still put it all out there and get the crowd going.  He sure did this night; no questions asked!

Before B. B. hit the stage a local group with national ties opened the show. The group was Eric Demmer and the Sax Dawgs.  They did a very nice job all though I admit I was impatiently waiting for the headliner.

Eric has been around for many years and knows his craft well.  Eric has performed with many well-known artists such as Carlos Santana, David Sanborn, Buddy Guy, and the Allman Brothers.

ImageHis music was soulful and spirited, and the audience seemed to really enjoy him and his band mates. My only negative comment would be that the entire time I watched him moving around on the stage I was afraid he was going to keel over any moment because he is such a very big man.

Now back to Mr. King.  It wouldn’t have taken more than a few minutes of experiencing him on stage for me to be happy with his performance.  Just to be able to witness him eye to eye was so amazing. The fact that he stayed up on stage for way longer, chatting frequently, playing us several tunes was all icing.

His band was like a fine tuned engine.  Every time B. B. either hit the accelerator or took his foot off the gas and coasted they responded appropriately.

When he had the pedal to the metal his was freakin’ awesome and there is no doubt in my mind as to why Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 6th  best guitar player of all time or why Gibson ranked him 17th of all time.  That would, I guess, on average, make him 12.5 of ALL TIME.  For sure he is way up near the top of the food chain when it comes to knowing how to excel at his chosen career.  B. B. you may play the blues but you also rock.  You are a role model for how to keep ‘life’ going!

Just to hear ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ performed live by this icon was like a music dream come true.  It was like hearing Bob Seger singing ‘Turn The Page’ and Jackson Browne singing ‘Stay/Load Out’!

ImageI know you might ask why it took me so long to see him.  I really don’t have a good answer other than the opportunity never presented itself before this point in my life.  My bad!

If you like music, especially the blues, and you haven’t seen him live my strong suggestion is to go now before it’s too late.  He has done over 15,000 performances worldwide and who knows how many he has left.  Based on his enthusiasm, alertness, and the total quality of his effort though – heck there might be another 1000 in him…at least!

My hat’s off to you Mr. King…you certainly live up to your last name.  You truly are a king of blues and master of that guitar!

Thank you sir for giving the world your beautiful gift for over 65 years now.  I was humbled to be able to stand before you with my camera and pen in hand!

Until next time please remember there is no time to kill.