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B.B. King @ The Molson Amphitheatre August 31/05


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It was a good night of blues at the Molson Amphitheatre by the King Of The Blues. I missed David Gogo's set but I caught the last 45 minutes of Kenny Wayne Sheppard, thankfully that was all I could take of him. It's not that Kenny is bad, but his shredding guitar and over-the-top Texas blooze-rock wears thin after a short while - as it did during the cover of Voodoo Child ( Slight Return ). Kenny is a good technical guitarist and wears his heroes on his sleeve - Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. If Sheppard lacks anything it's in originality.

After B.B.'s band played their second instrumental to begin their set, B.B. was led to the side of the stage in a wheelchair. He slowly ambled to his stool in front of the band. It's really exciting to see this larger than life man - gifted with one of the most powerful and soulful singing voices alive.

B.B. thanked the crowd, charming as always, especially to his favourite subjects - the blues, women, and Mississippi - then went on to play nearly an hour of Chicago blues. During the many ( almost too many ) chatter-filled breaks either in the middle of a song or during, B.B. informed the audience that he is nearly blind from two eye operations - I'm guessing cataracts. Thankfully there's nothing wrong with his voice or Lucille.

B.B. was in fine form - his guitar sang, notes coming much faster than he's often given credit, and delivered interesting and altered interpretations of " When Love Comes To Town " and " Ain't That Just Like A Woman ". " Thrill Is Gone " ended the night, as it should, and the 7500 in attendance roared their approval.

The soon-to-be eighty-year old legend should not be missed and the great thing is that he won't retire until he dies - uttered by the Man himself. And Mr. King still has a lot to say, constantly challenging himself musically while continually suprising his fans. Long Live B.B. King!!

*** (out of 5)

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