Written by Ashleigh Cox
Have you ever been to a show and felt anonymous in the crowd? Well, that’s how it began on September 7th. The lights in Tryon Festival Theater were focused on the stage as we awaited the performer of the night: Buddy Guy. I had never heard of him prior to this show and I did not know what to expect.
I was both nervous and excited about the performance; nervous because I didn’t know whether I would enjoy it or not and excited because I enjoy watching people perform. Within minutes, I knew I would love the rest of the show. As soon as he stepped on stage, Buddy Guy and his band showed their talent by featuring himself and the keyboardist in impressive solos. The music from the band was loud enough that I could feel it in my chest, even after they had finished playing.
He had some fun while demonstrating his talent by playing his guitar with a towel and drumsticks. He also played it while it was behind his head. The group seemed to have as much fun playing the music for us and we did listening to it by the way they moved with the rhythms and joked with the crowd.
Buddy Guy told the crowd stories from his childhood in between each of the songs, which helped the audience connect with him personally. He spoke of the artists he had worked with in the past and how there was no Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was growing up. His stories humored the audience, but some were more emotional and stuck with me, particularly this quote: “I’m just going to keep playing for just as long as I can.” He demonstrated his passion for his art in his performance, but also with words and the way he interacted with the audience. It was easy to tell that he enjoyed what he was doing.
His music and stories began light-hearted, but as the show progressed, the audience was able to hear his emotions and struggles as well. One of his final songs, “Skin Deep”, is an excellent example of this display. In his stories, he began to talk about money problems he had while growing up and how his shoes always had holes in them.
While his interaction with the audience became more personal, he made us feel less like a crowd and more like someone he was having a conversation with by the way he interacted with us. He had the lights turned on us and off of the stage so that we were visible. He also asked us to sing with him and made the audience part of the performance. At the end of the show, I was a bit upset that it was over. The kind of connection I was able to make with him is rare in the performances I’ve been too and I hope to experience this emotion again.