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January 24, 2001 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-24

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The Michigan Daily -- Wednesday, January 24, 2001 9

B.B. King proves the thrill a

By Gautam Baksi
Daily Arts Writer
The term "living legend" should be
used carefully. In a world of pre-pack-
aged pop bands, it's easy to lose sight

Fox Theater
fied, six-stringed

of the true musi-
cians who built
the ground upon
which so many
artists stand
That said, B.B.
King has truly
earned the title
of living legend.
At 75 years
young, King has
forever shaped
the modern rock
and blues scene
with his electri-
partner in crime,

action today. Humble, honest and sim-
ple, B.B. King has come to personify
the ideal persona of a blues hero briniz-
ing an overlooked genre of music to
the mainstream. Critics may claim he
lacks the talent of his contemporaries
or doesn't play the "real blues," but the
truth remains that B.B. King is the
most famous blues musician alive
today. Without him, Eric Clapton may
have ended up the lead singer of a
country band.
Gracing the historic Fox Theater
stage Saturday night, B.B. King wasted
no time in con\Versing with the audi-
ence. Though he was seated through-
out the show, B.B. acknowledged the
fact that at his tender age, "A man can
sit if he wants to!" The near-capacity
Detroit-based crowd did not seem to
mind his inability to traverse the stage
as B.B. lived up to lively expectations
with his booming vocals. Though his
legs may have shown the effects of
time, his voice clearly didn't.
Accompanied by the B.B. Kind(

Blues Band filled with a four-piece
horn section and piano, the night's
music was a lively mix of horn-based
blues intermixed with a more primal
guitar blues sound backed only by a
basic band. Early in the evening, B.B.'s
solos were somewhat overshadowed by
the enveloping horn section, but
Lucille's clear tone still rang unmistak-
ably through the theater's grand walls.
B.B. showcased his ability to play
apparently "simple" solos, tilled with
few fancy riffs and lacking fast finger-
work. In their place, B.B.'s signature
sound was a mixture of sharp bends
and wailing tremolos that were accen-
tuated, not merely by more notes, but
rather with silence. The solos were
simple, yet sang melodically. As B.B.
once told U2, "I don't do no chords."
His style is best summarized by saying
that he knows when to play the right
note - and also knows when silence is
better than a string of notes.
During the two-hour show, King
hi "hili hted v ii > ?ol c:- his

in't gone
extensive library, including classics
like "Bad Case of Love" and "Just Like
a Woman." Even an up-tempo version
of "The Thrill is Gone" was tossed in
for good measure near the end of the
night. Audience members, particularly
elderly females, could be seen openly
expressing emotions of love towards
B.B. as they yelled, chanted and
clapped along to all of his songs.
Humbly, B.B. repeatedly asked them
for applause as each member of his
band took turns soloing. However, the
audience's reactions were tame com-
pared to those given to B.B.'s vocals
and solos.
There is no doubt the evening was
magical and amazing, as B.B. Kings
exit off the stage was received by near-
ly ten minutes of warm applause and a
standing ovation. Whether the high-
light of the night was simply to see the
man or just to hear his music (live)
didn't matter: either one would be
worth the price of the ticket. But Satur-
day night, fans got both.

Courtesy o Trudy and David Tannen
B.B. King makes Lucille cry last year at the Minneapolis Orchestral Hall.

Lucille. Instrumental in introducing
blues to a wide audience, it is a
remarkable pleasure to see him in


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