February 17, 2011
The House of Blues, Anaheim
Seeing B.B. King live is part concert, part sit-down comedy act, part lovefest, and part roundtable discussion. The man loves to talk. He tells inappropriate Viagra stories. He lets you know who he knows (Ray Charles) and where he's been (92 countries and counting). He chats with audience members. He talks about carrying a knife. He tells dirty jokes. He talks about life and love and treating a woman right. He pokes fun at the short guy. At the bald guy. At the fat guy.
At 85, B.B. King is just as much the entertainer that he's always been.
Wearing a flower-pattern smoking jacket that would make Hugh Hefner proud, King seemed completely at home on the House of Blues stage, even though it was his first show at the Anaheim venue.
Despite the lack of actual music played, just being in the presence of B.B. King, a blues mega-legend seemed enough for the crowd on hand. When he did turn to his trusty guitar, “Lucille,” a quick scan of the room showed many closed eyes and swaying heads. At 85, it's hard to fathom B.B.'s career lasting much longer. He mentioned that he'd recently discussed the dreaded “R-word,” retirement. At the mic, he seems just as spry and witty as always. Age did rear its ugly head with a couple senior moments. But even King caught himself.
Do yourself a favor, pay the extra coin, see the man before he bids farewell to the stage.
You'll thank us later.
Personal Bias: People who leave mid-set to get a drink from the bar during a packed show should have to camp their ass in the back. Squeezing back to the front while spilling drinks on people enjoying the music should be a concert no-no.
The Crowd: Young, old. Fancy, casual. Clean-cut, shaggy. Sweet-smelling, haven't-showered-in-days. A bit of everything from all walks of life enjoying themselves some B.B. King.
Overheard in the Crowd: “B.B., you're the king!” one man shouts. “No, I'm not,” B.B. responds. “But I'm pretty good.”
Random Notebook Dump: Dude wearing a fishing t-shirt, holding the purse belonging to his wife/date and her friend. No shame. That's a good dude. The kid with the spiked hair and popped collar who walked by and pointed mockingly at the guy–yeah, that kid's a douchebag.