The GuardianPigalle Club
The Daily Gleaner
Big treats, welcome surprises from harvest
Published Friday September 19th, 2008
Blues legend Buddy Guy performs live at the Bud Light Blues Tent Friday night to a sold out crowd.
Yes, I did wait in line for a few minutes before I got to see Buddy Guy on Friday.
No big deal...
I was right. Before I knew it, I was bopping to Buddy. Granted, I did have to listen to the early part of the set out of doors in the mist, including the show opener, Little By Little, which Guy did with Junior Wells all those years ago, but I was inside soon enough (as Buddy was doing Feels Like Rain, no less), and the volunteers were nothing but patient, clear and understanding throughout.
Another good friend had spent oodles of time in recent weeks telling me that Buddy Guy would blow me away. He was right. I was seeing a 72-year-old legend - a man who had literally learned at the feet of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. The line of succession in the seminal blues genre cannot be overemphasized, and it was the sort of privilege for me to see Buddy Guy last week that it was to see B.B. King earlier this decade.
However, Guy did more than show up. He delivered the goods. He is a dazzling guitarist and a singer who is so good that he could have been a star as a blues vocalist if he never played a note. And as for his foray into the audience - the stuff of legend that some of us expected would happen and others were stunned by - it was just icing on the cake.
Meanwhile, Saturday was all about unexpected discovery - another wonderful Harvest tradition. I knew that Trucks and Guy would be great and unique, but I hoped that Sarah Jane Morris would be good and neat. She was far, far more - one of the most evocative singers I have ever seen.
Her alto voice is an unforgettable instrument - a bluesy Joan Armatrading with some Janis Joplin thrown in - and the accompaniment by Dominic Miller on a little acoustic guitar was tasteful and all that was need in the lovely Playhouse.
By the time she was ending a stellar show of originals and never-released new stuff with covers of Bob Dylan's Just Like A Woman, Joplin's Piece Of My Heart, and Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing, Shelley and I were looking at each other with those "This is unbelievable" grins. While the Hilario Duran Trio was a tasteful and virtuosic unit, the opener stole the show.
So, the 18th festival has come and gone, and I was one of its 80,000 patrons. There are so many things on my list of great memories - everything from the headlining stars and new discoveries to local talents and the joy of seeing the city streets come alive.The list of things I will remember is huge.