The Buddy Guy Damn Right Farewell Tour passed through Montreal on Friday evening, and the venerable guitarist, soon to be 87, did not miss his outing.
Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues! It was to the thunderous notes of this flagship song from his 1990s discography that the guitarist roared his Fender Stratocaster in front of the 3,500 spectators present for his arrivederci.
Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier was full to the brim. In the background, a canvas with the image of the South Side of Chicago, we saw the sign of Buddy Guy’s Legend, Theresa’s Lounge, with its name in large letters with a neon look.
The bluesman was accompanied by four musicians, including the brilliant guitarist Ric Hall who entertained us well on each side of the stage. The great George “Buddy” Guy of Lettsworth, Louisiana, overalls over his usual polka dot shirt, is back to basics.
“Hello, Montreal!” I love you! Am I playing too loud? exclaims the one who was raised on a cotton plantation – as a kid, he received $2.50 for every 100 pounds of cotton harvested.
Then he continues with I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man, a song by Willie Dixon tinged with eroticism and salacious overtones. Jimmy Smith, Chuck Berry and Motörhead have made interesting versions of it, but never so much on point as when Buddy Guy sings it to you with the appropriate gestures, the band pounding a crushing beat on the ground.
This Friday evening, not a spectator present sulks his pleasure, a real show stopper.
I got a black cat boneI got a mojo tooI got John the ConquerorI’m gonna mess with youI’m gonna make you girlsLead me by my handThen the world will knowI’m the hoochie coochie man.
Follows Muddy Waters’ She’s Nineteen Years Old, in which the guitarist can be seen holding the notes on his neck with his left hand, while the right is stretched along the body. It’s whistling! Then the bluesman continues with I Just Wanna Make Love To You by Willie Dixon, another bedroom song.
« I came to Montreal to fuck with you. » C’est dit, papi !
Then he started Chicken Heads by Bobby Rush, How Blue Can You Get by Johnny Moore – popularized by B. B. King. Further on, the irresistible Boom Boom by John Lee Hooker takes the audience on board. Jimi Hendrix’s corrosive Voodoo Chile makes his instrument roar before he lowers the temperature with Feels Like Rain, a ballad by John Hiatt covered by the bluesman in 1993.
Surprising choice that this Grits and Groceries of Little Milton. It’s classic soul and it’s good. Buddy Guy jokes around with the first few bars of Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love, then stops. Stretch the elastic of pleasure, play on the anticipation and launch Al Green’s Take Me To The River.
And we go from surprise to surprise, for 75 minutes. Surprising, however, that a colorful revivalist of his caliber has not played songs from The Blues Don’t Lie, his most recent album.
It is undoubtedly his best years at Chess that best reflect the spirit of his farewell to the Montreal public. The audience that cheered him on from the Esquire Show Bar to the Rising Sun, from the Montreal Forum, with his epic guitar duel to the center stage, at the Jazz Festival. And we owe him so many other shows with us. We say thank you!
As a curtain raiser, a visibly won over audience gave a warm welcome to Christone Kingfish Ingram and her three accomplices. The young guitarist from Mississippi continues his steamroller work started the day before, grimaces during the solos, but with a concern to offer songs that are always well told. The guy has a very round and warm voice. Rock, muscular blues, one or two incendiary boogies lying on a routed piano, it heats up.
To a heavy jazzy-funk groove, the crowd started clapping, he put his guitar down on his monitor in front of him, grabbed his phone, filmed the cheering crowd and left the stage, and his three musicians ended up without him.