Urbana-Champaign gets a taste of the legendary blues icon
Written by Edward Huang
On September 7th, fans of old and new gathered at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to watch Buddy Guy perform. Their energy filled the concert venue long before he appeared on stage. Whether they were addicted to his vibe or simply respecting his art, the fans could not wait for him arrive.
I would not say that I’m a big fan of the blues, but I do think that there are many unique musical aspects that can only be incorporated into blues music. Before arriving at Krannert, I had never heard of Buddy Guy. Perhaps it was the generational divide, or simply just my own ignorance, but I was unsure of what to expect. I figured that I would at least enjoy the music, because I play the guitar myself. I certainly did not expect to witness the raw power and skill of Buddy Guy, which I know now is nothing short of legendary. He didn’t just play the blues–he lived and breathed it. It was evident in the way that the audience jumped onto their feet the moment he walked into their view.
He began the show with a series of his own songs. There would always be members of the audience singing along with him. Immediately, I could feel that this concert was different from any other concert I’d attended before. Buddy guy treated his fans not like spectators, but like old friends. As if they had been with him his whole life, watching him grow and develop into the blues staple that he is today. Even though I had never heard of him before, that night, I felt like I’d known him for my whole life. He interacted constantly with the audience. There were many songs where he encouraged the audience to sing with him. It was a musical conversation. At some point during the performance, he lifted the house lights, taking the spotlight away from himself and putting it onto his fans. The lady sitting next to me told me that he loved to walk among his audience. I thought it was such a humble gesture, especially coming from such a renowned figure.
At the end of the night, I felt that the concert was time well spent. I can now confidently say that I love the blues. Buddy Guy sparked a new kind of passion within me. He showed me how to appreciate art of music rather than just the technical parts. I know I will listen to his music for the rest of my life.