It is not often you get to see two living legends on one night. However, that is what happened on July 12, 2012 at Wolf Trap. British blues legend John Mayall opening up for blues legend Buddy Guy. Surprisingly there were some empty seats despite a great line up and nice weather.
John Mayall opened the show with a fabulous hour-long set featuring eight songs. His set featured blues classics that have spanned his career. Mayall looks surprisingly healthy for a man who will turn 79 this year. His vocals were strong, his keyboard and harmonica playing were even stronger. Drummer Jay Davenport and bassist Greg Rzab anchored his rhythm section. Greg also turned in an incredible bass solo during “Room to Move.” Rocky Athas shined as Mayall’s guitarist. He had no problems playing the guitar parts Eric Clapton used to play in songs like “Have You Heard about My Baby” and “Hide Away.” Athas also delivered some wonderful guitar solos that were uniquely his especially the guitar/keyboard dual with Mayall.
Buddy Guy will be 76 at the end of the month and still has a lot of energy. He proved he could still hold his own with anyone on the guitar. Buddy is a showman, his guitar playing is flashy but he has the skills to back it up. He played the role of showman, blues ambassador, and the person passing the torch. He started his set with “Nobody Understands Me but My Guitar.” Then he visited Muddy Waters with a lively “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “She’s Nineteen Years Old.” The audience participated in singing an entertaining version of “Someone Else is Steppin’ In.” This was followed by a song confessing his age “74 Years Old.” He then went on to give a guitar clinic of John Lee Hooker and Albert King licks as we walked around the entire Filene Center Pavilion.
Next Buddy Guy invited a 13 year-old guitar player named Quinn Sullivan to take the stage. Quinn’s debut album was independently released by Buddy Guy and he has been touring with Buddy since last year. Quinn led the band through three songs including Sullivan’s single “Sweet Guitar.” Sullivan stayed with the band when Guy came back to regain the spotlight for the last three songs. They covered Cream’s “Strange Brew” with Buddy Guy on acoustic guitar. They ended with a great version of “Feels Like Rain” and an exit jam.
It was a great evening of blues music featuring two living legends. It also featured an introduction to someone who could be the next generation’s guitar legend.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission between John Mayall’s set and Buddy Guy’s set.
Buddy Guy with special guest John Mayall played one night at Wolf Trap at The Filene Center – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. on Thursday, July 12, 2012. To view upcoming events at Wolf Trap, check out their calendar.