Buddy Guy’s “Damn Right Farewell” Tour LIVE! at MPAC

Spotlight Central
Spotlight Central


By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

Music lovers inside Morristown, NJ’s MPAC auditorium this Friday, May 3, 2024 evening happily await a sold-out Damn Right Farewell concert by blues legend Buddy Guy. Guy is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who started out performing with bluesmen like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and ended up influencing such major rock guitarists as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page. A winner of multiple Grammys in addition to a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Guy is included on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and is also a recipient of a 2012 Kennedy Center Honors award.

The lights dim, and Guy’s opening act, blues musician Bobby Rush, enters the stage. Stopping for a moment to chat with the crowd, Rush introduces himself, acknowledging, “I’ve been singing the blues for 73 years, and on my next birthday I’ll be 91 years old.” With his guitar in hand, Rush takes a seat and launches into a song about a Mississippi club fire, “The Nachez Burnin’.” Tapping his feet and bending his guitar strings, Rush sings in his deep and soulful style, “Did ya’ll hear about the burnin’?/Muddy Waters was there/B.B. King played there, too,” on this Howlin’ Wolf blues number.

After following up with the rhythmic “Let Me In Your House,” Rush performs his 1968 gold record, “Chicken Heads.” Strumming his guitar strings with his fingers, he wails, “Love that gal/Love them chicken heads, too,” on this funky blues. Continuing with “Bowlegged Woman, Knock Kneed Man,” Rush cries in his deep Southern fried voice, “Me and that woman, Lord/We go hand in hand/Like a bowlegged woman/And a knock kneed man,” on this driving blues tune.

Rush accompanies himself on guitar on the steamy “You’re Gonna Need a Man Like Me,” but leaves his instrument on stage as he makes his way into the audience to sing and play harmonica on the slow blues song, “Garbage Man.” After lamenting “I Got Three Problems” to a gentleman in the audience, Rush gets music lovers laughing as he strolls around the front of the auditorium engaging concertgoers on the humorous and funky “G-String and a Toothbrush.”

Returning to the stage, Rush thanks Buddy Guy for his many years of support prior to introducing singer Mizz Lowe who joins him on a duet version of Koko Taylor’s “I’m a Queen Bee.” To conclude his set, Rush warns, “Take a good look at me tonight/It could be the last time you see me,” on “You Better Take a Good Look at Me Now,” and the crowd responds with an avid standing ovation for this charming and authentic entertainer.

Following intermission, the members of the Buddy Guy Blues Band — guitarist Ric Jaz, keyboardist David Souvigny, bassist Orlando Wright, and drummer Tom Hambridge — take the stage just before Buddy enters sporting a baseball cap and a black and white polka dot shirt.

Opening with “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues,” Buddy wails a bluesy guitar solo before crying, “You damn right, I’ve got the blues/From my head down to my shoes,” on this rockin’ blues tune.

The crowd cheers, and Guy, 87, welcomes the audience, announcing, “If you got a frown on your face I’m gonna take it off!” prior to warning, “I’m gonna play something so funky you can smell it!”

Here, he and the band launch into a medley of blues numbers starting with a down and dirty interpretation of Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man” which has music lovers moving in their seats, and a swinging version of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Texas Flood” which includes an impressive solo from Ric Jaz who, at the end, magically spins his guitar around 360 degrees eliciting enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.

When Guy promises mid-song, “I’m gonna give it the best I got tonight,” he prompts an audience member to shout, “We love you, Buddy,” and Buddy replies, “Oh, sh*t, I like that!” Guy concludes the medley with a dazzling rendition of Muddy Waters’ sultry blues tune, “She’s 19 Years Old,” where he uses his guitar to punctuate the song’s “She’s nineteen years old/And got ways just like a baby child” lyric with bluesy licks prior to electrifying the crowd with a dynamic guitar solo.

On “Love Her With a Feeling” Guy uses his guitar to accent the raunchy “One leg in the east/One leg in the west/I’m right down the middle, ah/Tryin’ to do my best” lyric before the audience joins in singing along on a funky arrangement of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You” which features a whirling and swirling David Souvigny organ solo.

Guy announces, “I want to thank all of you fans for coming out to see us tonight. This next song comes from the bottom of my heart,” as he segues into a swinging interpretation of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” which has the crowd clapping along as he fingerpicks a solo.

Confessing, “I didn’t learn how to play guitar by the book, but the greatest gift I can play in the world sounds like this…” Guy sails into “How Blue Can You Get?” a blues number which dramatically increases in volume after starting out ever so softly.

Continuing with the driving blues, “Five Long Years,” Guy cries, “Have you ever been mistreated?/Then you got to know just what I’m talking about,” prior to making his way into the audience and walking up and down both main aisles of the auditorium while picking out an extended guitar solo.

Returning to the stage, Guy takes his guitar and sets it on top of a large speaker and plays a snippet of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” by tapping on the strings with a drumstick. Then, he uses a towel to strum the guitar’s strings before tossing the towel to a lucky fan in the audience.

Buddy introduces his son, guitarist Greg Guy, and invites Bobby Rush back to the stage for a rendition of Junior Wells’ “Little By Little.” After Rush sings “Little by little, I’m losing you,” he wails on the harmonica and Buddy and Greg soulfully respond with their guitars before the tempo changes and the band shifts into an upbeat arrangement of the song.

For tonight’s final number, Buddy, Greg, and Bobby perform Junior Wells’ swinging “Rock Me,” prior to segueing into the bluesy “King Bee,” where Buddy sings, “I’m a king bee/Girl, I can buzz around your hive,” and the crowd responds with a standing ovation as Buddy thanks the audience to avid cheers and applause.

As blues lovers exit the MPAC auditorium, several comment on tonight’s performance. Declares Michael from North Carolina, “Buddy Guy was phenomenal! I can’t believe his voice sounded the same as it did way back when, and as far as his guitar playing goes, I don’t think anyone else can equal him.”

Marco from New Jersey agrees, explaining, “Buddy Guy is one of the best ever to play the blues. His guitar playing is awesome, and his singing is great, too. I’ve been to three Buddy Guy concerts and, each time, I came away impressed, but tonight I got to see him up close and personal and it was a really moving experience.”

Marilandy from Hawthorne asserts, “Buddy Guy was excellent. His guitar playing is great, his voice is really strong, and his band is excellent, too. John from Milford, PA agrees, calling tonight’s show, “Absolutely excellent,” and adding, “Buddy and his band were awesome, and Bobby Rush was really good, too, making it well worth the trip from Pennsylvania.”

Mark from Belmar asserts, “It was a fantastic show tonight — really, really entertaining,” before adding, “God bless Buddy Guy, at his age, doing what he’s doing — he can still play, and his music is fantastic.” Lynne from Morris Plains concurs, noting, “This was my first time seeing Buddy and I enjoyed him immensely. Plus, I was really happy to see him here at MPAC because I just love this venue.”

Lastly, Roy, a blues musician from Morris Plains, insists, “There’s nobody like Buddy Guy! I first saw him 35 years ago at a blues festival, and he’s still great at the age of 87,” prior to concluding, “If you want to learn how to dunk, you hang out with Michael Jordan, but if you want to learn how to play the blues, you hang out with Buddy Guy, because Buddy Guy is the greatest of all time.”

To learn more about Buddy Guy, please go to buddyguy.net. For information on Bobby Rush, click on bobbyrushbluesman.com. For info on future MPAC concerts — including The 2024 Happy Together Tour on June 14, Justin Hayward and Christopher Cross on July 16, Dweezil Zappa on August 22, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on October 9 — please click on mayoarts.org.



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