His charisma made everyone at the Ellnora Guitar Festival cheery!
Written by Cesar Diaz Blanco
Saturday night. This time of
the week, usually accompanied by a craving for celebration, was in my case
accompanied by cough, congestion, and more symptoms from the flu.
Fortunately, Buddy Guy was there to save me, and I didn’t even know about him before going to the Krannert Center. I entered the lounge and immediately perceived the spirit of the Ellnora Guitar Festival. After getting my ticket I made a quick search on Buddy Guy and expected a non-stop show with extraordinary guitar solos.
Somehow, the show was more than that. The
experience and control that Buddy has over his guitar completely shadows any
other performance I have seen.
was more than music. It constantly became a theatrical scene in which Buddy
gave life to his guitar and battled with it in every possible way: he would
poke it with a drum stick or even scrub the strings against his suit.
He would then turn our attention from the guitar to the piano and finally to the pianist, whose hands went from the left to right in seemingly random ways that enriched the melody.
this wildness didn’t work to captivate the audience, the show would become a
comedy skit with a nicely performed percussion in the back.
This show challenged what I knew about music
performances and I am so glad I had the opportunity to enjoy it.
wait for the upcoming events and visits to museums.
Legendary blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy wows the crowd at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Written by Danielle Herrera
On September 7th, 2019 I had the opportunity to attend the performance of Buddy Guy, I man who (after a quick google search) I learned was a famous blues artist. I’ve never listened to any of Guy’s albums or songs, but I’ve always loved live performances so I was excited regardless. Little did I know, this performance would open me up to new perspectives of music.
First off, let me just start by saying that I am a huge R&B fan. I love the emotional aspect of music and listening to beats that amplify the mood of the song, whether it be pain, lust, or joy. As expected, Buddy Guy’s musicianship was extremely impressive and the overall instrumentals of his songs were catchy and upbeat. However, the aspect that really threw me off guard was his singing. Buddy Guy’s voice has a raspy, deep sound that is both nostalgic and unique to now. You can physically hear the amount of wisdom and experience this man has just through his vocals, making it perfect for the historic genre of blues.
Although Buddy Guy is a renown singer and musician, he made sure that the spotlight was not always on him; lengthy showcases of the guitarist’s runs or the pianist’s swift improvisations shined a light on the rest of the instrumentalists’ insane talent. I personally was in awe of Buddy Guy’s pianist; having played in a number of different concerts and performances, I know how difficult it can be to improvise blues/jazz on the spot in front of such a large group of people.
In addition, there were a number of quirky acts performed by Buddy Guy that showcased not only his sense of humor, but also his skills as a musician. At some points Guy would be playing the guitar by hitting it against his chest, or by smacking it with a towel. Either way, these moments kept the audience lighthearted and waiting for more.
The greatest aspect of this performance, I think, is the way Buddy Guy interacted with the crowd. Like other artists, he encouraged audience members to sing along with his more famous songs in a call-and-response manner. However, he also did something that I’ve never seen before: mid-concert, Buddy Guy calls for the auditorium lights to turn onto the audience. In that sense, Guy forcibly moves the attention from him to us. This was something I’ve never seen before, and it made me feel like it was our turn now to perform. Buddy guy then proceeded to walk into the audience, singing and interacting with all of us. This act provided a sense of togetherness that I have never felt before when attending a performance; it was like we were all finally on the same level, just enjoying the song and rhythm. Audience members were dancing and singing, and almost everyone was on their feet. It was a scene that could never be replicated exactly the same ever again.
Overall, Buddy Guy’s performance is something that in my mind could never be replicated ever again. The musicality, emotion and sound were one of a kind, and if I had the chance I would for sure relive the experience once again.
Before I went to the Opening Night Party at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, I had never imagined that this party would be so grand, and I didn’t expect so many viewers to arrive there early. Just on the terrace outside KCPA, there were many people gathered. It was about 5:20 p.m. when I arrived, and the band have already started auditioning, while the food stalls on both sides of the terrace were ready for business. When I entered KCPA, I was amazed by the arrangement inside. The whole hall was equipped with many small round tables and high stools for people to chat and drink. The blue-violet lights created a perfect party atmosphere that was very different from the outside scene.
Around 5:45 p.m., several people outside were lined up in front of the food stalls, and people on the terraces were constantly going up steps and sitting. Several stages in KCPA have been basically prepared, and some interesting activities stalls have begun to publicize. I saw several passing children with delicate oil painting on their faces, which was extremely characteristic.
At 6 p.m. in the evening, Opening Night Party officially began. I bought a BBQ chicken burger from the food stall outside, and sat on the terrace steps to start watching Toko Telo‘s performance. There were two musicians playing guitar on her side, and Toko Telo had a tambourine and another instrument that I didn’t know the name. When she was singing, she beat the tambourine and shaked the other instrument to create a sound of rustle. She sang folk music and I could feel some elements of Indian songs. Toko Telo‘s singing was full of rhythm, and to my surprise, her treble was very good. I wrongly thought that her voice was more suitable for low-pitched songs at first. Every time when she finished a song, I couldn’t help but applaud with the crowd.
After a while I went back to KCPA to see other performers. I watched Andy Baylor‘s solo and Bombino‘s performance. The former’s songs were country music and the style was lyrical, while the latter’s songs were more lively and had more national characteristics. Bombino‘s performance caused the audience to cheer and almost became the focus at that moment.
It was a nostalgic departure when I must say goodbye to Opening Night Party. It let me enjoyed the music from different regions and I was very grateful to FAA 110 for offering me such a wonderful experience that I’ve never had before.
Buddy Guy, an American blues guitarist and singer, gave me an interesting show on Saturday night at 8:00. If you think this is only a normal blues guitar festival, you are wrong. He is the special one. Before the beginning of the show, lots of people are already seated, and everyone was talking about him how good he can play and how funny is this guy during the show. Since this is my first time to watch his festival, I paid all my attention to his guitar festival. When I finish watching the show, I find out that everything online about him is true. He is special.
At the beginning of the show, He played a blues song to evoke the audiences’ interest and to catch their attention. After that, He did Improvisation and this is my favorite part of this show. He started a song normally, a minute later, he changed. He started to play his guitar by arm, wrist. Lastly, he flips over his guitar and play it by his clothes, and it works, it sounds good. And I think this is music, and I think that is what he wants to tell us. Music is not an objective thing, everything can be music, there are infinitely melody in the world.
Near the end of the show, Buddy Guy did a thing that let me fill this is not a guitar festival, but more like a family meeting. He was playing a song, and during the song, he walked to the audience and played with the audience and when the song is about to finish, he walked back to the stage. In that specific period, everything became one. I think it is similar to a family meeting, a payer is playing a guitar and singing, other family members are sitting around him. There are 0 gap between the player and the audiences. Music made us become one thing.
An introductory experience to UIUC’s beloved performing arts center via the Ellnora Festival.
Extra Credit by Allison Spillane
I was very excited to be invited by my FAA 110 professors to this event. To get a lay of such a wonderful performance venue brimming with passion is always a fun experience. The turnout for the opening of the Guitar Fest truly shows how many people out there truly support the arts!
I was not disappointed by this event in the slightest. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. My favorite part would have to be the general energy of a Krannert Festival. I have always been partial to events like this, with tons of people all enjoying themselves, the scent of great food wafting through the air, and tons of talented musicians to stop and listen to for a while. This was by far an exception to that preference.
When it comes to artists that performed at the event, I would have to admit that I am rather fond of Toko Telo. I had never heard of the Madagascar-based group before that night, but I am unlikely to forget the name! There is something special about music in where, even if you don’t understand the language of the lyrics, you can still feel the soul of the song. The lead singer of the group introduced each song and the topic of its lyrics before each piece, and it was always astounding to me how I didn’t need that introduction to absorb the emotions of the song. Listening to their music in the fair weather of the amphitheater as the sun set was a treat I refuse to take for granted.
September 6th, 2019 – my 18th birthday- I went to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to watch Pat Metheny Side-Eye featuring James Francies and Marcus Gilmore. I have never been very particularly fond of Jazz music. I do have a soft spot for the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong though. On a slow Saturday morning, there is a good chance I am listening to them or Nina Simone whose music has been extremely impactful to my life. Their music has an important place in my heart and in my growth as a musician. On this particular evening, I did not feel any impact, I thought Metheny’s performance was okay. I went in expecting something interesting and new and I left with… well…. a side-eye. I just expected more and wanted more. I feel like all of the songs he played did not leave me satisfied as I feel music is suppose to. The performance was not really a performance and he did not really engage the audience. I was not expecting him to sing or to have rave-like flashing lights. I expected a professional performance and I feel it was more professional than performance.
When I went into the Tryon Festival Theatre I saw an interesting setup and I wanted an explanation for what I saw. The longer I sat looking at the stage the more anticipation I felt. When I looked around at the audience I saw a lot of older men in jeans and black turtlenecks and automatically thought, Steve Jobs must have been a fan. When the concert began Pat Metheny came out on stage and spoke and introduced the audience to James Francies and Marcus Gilmore who played the keyboard and the drums. I thought together their performances did not blend well but when they had their moments to shine in their solos, Metheny included, it allowed the audience to really see their full artistry. All three of them were kind of a weird mix that needed to be better developed.
About an hour and a half in, Methany began to perform solo and that was when I started to spark an interest in the show. The way he played reminded me of the feeling of playing an instrument in a childhood bedroom. That was the moment that felt the most passionate. Throughout the performance I felt the crowd was a little overzealous, clapping every 2 minutes at moments I wasn’t sure was the beginning or end of a song. However, when Methany performed by himself, that was the moment that was most redeemable and deserving of praise in terms of my expectations that may or may not be valid as a non-jazz fan. As he was demonstrating his skill and stature he brought out a 42 string guitar, that as a young guitarist, made me anxious. While writing this I read a little about the types of guitars he played and this was one that was made especially for him. It was very interesting to see an instrument that looked unplayable being played.
Overall, I probably won’t go to another Pat Methany performance again. I am not really sure what I heard throughout a great portion of the performance. For a moment, I felt like I was in an elevator and became mindless, just waiting to get off. If this music was Jazz, I am not sure where Billie Holiday would stand within the mix. The most surprising part was how attached he was to the chord progressions. As someone who wants to become a better guitarist, my greatest takeaway was that it was kind of educational. However as a music lover, I am not really sure this performance was geared toward listeners like me. If he would have engaged a little more with the audience I think I would have enjoyed myself somewhat. I kept waiting for more and never got it. 🤔
When I walked into Krannert Center with my friend we were both in shock. The place was full, there was a lot of people of all ages going to see the show, and for some reason to me this scene reminded me a a music festival I used to go when I was in high school. Of course it wasn’t nearly as fancy as this performance but being within a big crowd like that, and seeing people have a good time really reminded me of how happy I was when I went to the festival. This made me really excited for the performance even if I didn’t know who Buddy Guy was in that moment.
My ticket to see the performance.
So right from the start of the show you can tell that it was going to be a very fun experience. The entire time people were swaying to the music, humming, or singing along; and buddy guy kept interacting with the audience. He would tell us stories, he walked out into the crowd and everyone got up and leaned forward to see him, he did call and response, and at one point in the show he turned the lights on and practically involved us in the show. It was truly amazing how this man that didn’t know anything about us, was able to connect with the audience.
Then Buddy Guy made the show very emotional by telling us about his childhood, and how it was very different from us now, and he sang a song that was very moving to me called “Skin Deep”. He had everyone emotionally invested in the show because people where listening to his stories and responding to them. He used his experiences to educate the audience on what it was like to be a blues musician – or any kind of person – during the time of his youth, and it was just amazing how far he has come and how he still manages to be a blues performer at 83. This man is very inspirational and living his best life at 83.
I was truly excited when arriving at Krannert for Buddy Guy’s performance. His name alone carries a lot of weight. My father was particularly excited when I told him about the event, hyping up this show as a rare experience to see a musical legend play live. The entirety of Krannert Center was buzzing as we awaited the main show.
What captivated me most about Buddy Guy’s performance was his stage presence. His technical skill and passion were astonishing, but I had never seen someone as in tune with a crowd as this man was. From the first time the crowd botched a call-and-response section of a song, I knew I was in for a wild night. Buddy swore at the audience, disappointed in our meager response section of mumbled lyrics. It was like the first time you hear a teacher swear, it makes the whole experience seem so much more real. Another thing that Buddy did was bring the audience to a place he was comfortable with. He used his experiences and his storytelling to educate the audience on what it was like to be a blues musician – or any kind of person – during the time of his youth. The insight on his background made his music and lyrics that much more effective. However, probably the most memorable thing that Buddy Guy was his stint into the audience. When Buddy Guy moved, so did the audience. It was amazing to see a group of people so captivated that they quite literally unintentionally leaned their whole body in his direction. Like moths to a flame. Buddy Guy held an audience like I’ve never seen.
On September 5th, 2019, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts hosted the Opening Night Party, featuring many artists and venues.
As I arrived at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (KCPA), I could already see crowds of people outside. There were so many venues and activities outside. There were artists doing chalk art on the stairs leading to KCPA, venues selling food like hamburgers and desserts, and singers getting ready to perform. Once I entered the building, my eyes were drawn to the changing color lights and rows of venues along the sides. There were temporary tattoos, face painting, food stands, and more! There was just as many people inside as there were outside. I spent most of my time wondering around, looking for artists to watch and listen to.
I particularly enjoyed watching Andy Baylor and Toko Telo. Andy Baylor sang his own unique country-style cover of the National Anthem while playing his guitar. Toko Telo, a Madagascar-based group, performed several folk compositions outside of KCPA. Both had very contrasting styles. Baylor’s singing was very melodic and smooth, while Toko Telo had more distinct beats.
I thought the KCPA Opening Night Party was a great way to discover and listen to new talented singers, meet knew people, and enjoy ourselves throughout the night. What I enjoyed the ambient atmosphere created by the changing-color lights, and music performed by Andy Baylor and Toko Telo.
Buddy Guy and his band blew away the crowd at Saturday night’s performance!
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.