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July 31, 2007

BRYAN LEE & THE BLUES POWER BAND @ Buddy Guy's Legends, Chicago, IL 7.26.07

My long-awaited trip to Chicago finally arrived!    Gary and I are BIG Eric Clapton fans -- he's got a 37-year old son named Eric after you-know-who, and I, a more recent fan, have a dog named Layla!   (Speaking of Layla ... she is a VERY SPECIAL Dalmatian, and was just bred -- so we hope to have a houseful of little "Laylas" soon.   As the doggie people say, "Keep fingers & paws crossed!")    Anyway, we are BIG blues fans, and BIG MUSIC FANS in general, and when we heard Clapton was putting on another "Crossroads Guitar Festival," this time in Chicago, Illinois on July 28th ... our summer music festival travel plans were SET.   We both have to work for a living ... I have two young kids (and three dogs) ... as much as we'd LIKE to, we can't do them all.     No doubt about it ... there would be no 10K Lakes or High Sierra or Vegoose or any other trips this summer for us ... we're goin' to CHICAGO!!!

Arriving at our hotel after midnight Wednesday night (with a big thunder storm approaching), we decided it was too late to strike out in search of live music that night (silly us!), so Thursday night, after a day of sight-seeing in a surprisingly BEAUTIFUL and CLEAN big city (with no homeless people sleeping in doorways, and the most gorgeous flowers you've ever seen growing in planter boxes and hanging baskets EVERYWHERE) we headed over to Buddy Guy's "Legends" to see Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band.

Bryan Lee & The Blues Power Band were H-O-T.    This guy is one busy musician ... check out the schedule on his website (http://www.braillebluesdaddy.com/schedule_dates.html) and you'll see he's booked 5-6 nights a week through October.


And for good reason.   His small band -- 2 guitars, bass and drums -- put out a big, bluesy sound.     Bryan's other guitar player is extremely talented!


I read in a Chicago guide that if you could only go to one Blues Club while in Chicago, go to Buddy Guy's Legends.   This was a no-brainer for me as I am a big Buddy Guy fan -- and who wouldn't be, with the likes of Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimmie Hendrix citing Guy as a huge musical influence in their lives.    Really ...the fact that Guy sometimes plays a "Dalmatian-spotted" guitar has nothing to do with why I love him!   :-)

If you haven't seen "Festival Express" ... TiVo it, rent it, or buy it.    A very young Buddy Guy is one of several acts (also The Grateful Dead, Sha-Na-Na, The Band, and Janis Joplin, to name a few) traveling by train to several music festivals across Canada.    The footage shot at the time (late 60's) was lost until a couple of years ago -- they've interspersed interviews with many of the performers (now 30+ years older) and shots of the most gorgeous scenery shot from the train traveling across Canada, and this is a movie all music lovers should see!

The walls of "Legends" are covered with autographed guitars, Guy's awards, photos and paintings of other music legends.     Here's a display case full of Buddy's awards -- I see a couple of Grammys, several WC Handy Blues awards, and so on and so on.


The buzz on the Clapton fan club website (where I'm a member) was that Clapton may very well show up to jam with his good friend and musical inspiration, Buddy Guy, on one of the nights leading up to Crossroads -- and Thursday seemed as good a night as any!    When we paid our $25 per person cover charge to get in to Legends I thought that was a bit "steep" for standing-room-only in a smokey (cigarettes & CIGARS --- YUCK!) blues club, but they told us that Buddy was "in the house," and they expected some "special guests," hinting those special guests were possibly from Crossroads.    Don't think there are words which can adequately describe the excitement in that room ...

Shortly after walking in, while Gary was at the bar getting us drinks, I came face-to-face with Mr. Guy ... who ducked into the Men's Room before I realized I'd just had a close encounter with him.    For a brief second I stood outside the Men's Room with my LG camera phone ready to snap his photo, but quickly came to my senses, realizing that would be VERY TACKY to take a picture of anybody coming out of the bathroom!  :-)

There were no "special guests from Crossroads" (who got up to perform, anyway) other than Buddy Guy himself and the incredibly talented keyboard player from Buddy's band,Tony Z, who sat in with Bryan Lee & The Blues Power Band for a couple of songs.    But let me tell you, anytime you can see Buddy Guy perform ... he'll make it worth your time and money.    He is not only a "blues legend," he is an electric performer and can fire up an audience like nobody's business.   If you've never seen Buddy Guy perform ... DO.    He has got to be one of the most entertaining and talented performers you will ever see.   (Don't take it from me ... take it from Clapton, Vaughn and Hendrix.)


We had to stop to buy t-shirts on the way out -- I'm now proudly wearing my black Legends t-shirt stamped in BLUE (what else?) ... "Buddy Girl."

Today (July 30th) is Buddy Guy's 71st birthday.    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUDDY!


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Lesley, another great review where I felt I was right there with you, standing in that crowded, smokey club listening to the Blues. Love the second picture!


Wow Lesley!! I get more and more jealous of you with these reviews. I LOVE BLUES and I would have loved to see this show! Sounds really awesome!!


Great review ! After reading your description, I want to make a trip to Chicago ! Looking forward to reading more of your reviews.


Thanks for the tip on the video.. haven't seen it. Chicago Blues Clubs are so real... Buddy Guy in a Chicago Blues club.. UNREAL. Good for you. You rock sister.


Fantastic account of a great event complete with amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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