Buddy Guy’s Legends, the well of memories that will quench my thirst for a couple lives to come. If I reincarnate as a caterpillar, I’ll still tell the butterflies around, about the times I’ve been in this Chicago’s Blues club.
The club itself was established in 1989 and the sign stating “Honorary Buddy Guy Way” is hanging right in front of the entrance. There, you can always listen to live Blues and every January, Buddy Guy performs from Thursday to Sunday for an entire month as part of his “Residency Performance”. The place had seen the the greatest people visit throughout it’s 25 years of existence. Both, top-grade musicians and visitors with great taste of music.
First Come – First Serve
I’ve called Legends at 2 pm the day of the show. Asked the kind lady on the phone what time should I get there to find a seat for Buddy Guy performance at 11.30 pm. The kind lady said “Now”. I was somewhat intimidated by the Legends “First-come-first-serve” rule but I urge all the first-comers to dismiss doubts. The comfort and intelligent design of the stage did not make it an issue. A gray-haired couple next to me were giving me a run for the money, dancing to the Damn Right Blues Band till 3 am.
When you anxiously locate 700 S. Wabash, you see the corner building with the walls covered in mosaic faces of Chicago Blues Legends: Little Walter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf. Immediately you know that you will remember this visit.
Main Stage Floor
Walking into Buddy Guy’s Legends, you see a cozy, subtle grandeur of Blues history and memorabilia all over. Everywhere around the perimeter, signed guitars are hanging under the ceiling. The walls are covered with glassed pictures, outfits and other items from fans, Buddy Guy and the best of Blues legends history.
The stage itself is a short pedestal in the middle of the back wall. It’s surrounded by a number of tables (that were all packed with people drinking since 2 pm) and on both sides of the hall, bar sections are serving guests. I was truly enjoying how efficient was the entire building as an organism. No lines, no waiting, no discomfort or loss in space.
The staff needs an article of their own for the welcoming, helpful assistance and thorough service provided while making you feel like you are at home. In front of my eyes, one of the security gentlemen took that gray-haired couple from behind a few tall men and moved them to a place where they could see the “Puma” shoes on Buddy Guy’s feet.
I don’t think that it’s something coming form instructions, to do among the avalanche of other duties and I choose to believe that it was a great gesture of human kindness. Special “thank you” to all the staff hard work, making our time there memorable. Special thanks to a beautiful girl, working there that I had a crush on.
Thought I might get bored if I come too early before the main show. The Blues was there throughout the day: Lunch Session, Dinner Jam, Warm-up & Buddy Guy himself. However, my thoughts were fast-dismissed when I came up to the second floor of the Blues club.
There I saw more walls covered with stories of Blues decades past, more guitars, another bar and pool tables. All over, large screens were streaming what was going on downstairs for those who may have felt fatigue and wanted to rest at one of many tables around.
There, hours went by as I was reading the priceless walls, meeting like-minded people, talking to the band members and playing dozens of pool games.
A word of caution: If you care for your beer, finish it before you go outside to smoke. When you will be back, your Buddy Brew won’t be waiting there, where you left it. Same goes for the food. I did not care, the Buddy Brew is a homemade beer of Buddy Guy’s Legends and is more than affordable compared to the bars of Chicago. More so, it was fantastic. I took one home with me and opened it 5048 miles later to relive the memories I’ve gathered one more time.
The Buddy Guy Show
Buddy Guy had much of his stage act inspired by Guitar Slim. This includes beginning to play before he enters the room. He’d done it ever since playing in 1950s Baton Rouge. It hadn’t changed and when Buddy Guy stormed onto the stage from the backdoor, well into “Damn Right I Got The Blues”, the crowd exploded.
Buddy Guy and the Damn Right Blues Band gave a proper show. BG played with a pick, fingers, his tongue and even with his rear, while saying “I just wanted you to know that I can do that”. I considered describing it in detail but would much rather add to the pool of people who would say that a Buddy Guy show is a must-see. It really is, and it is full of exciting surprises. The man will soon turn 79 and he still jumps around the room, setting it ablaze better than most of the performers I’ve seen live and on record.
After the show, the band spent another hour or so welcoming the guests (unless they really need to go to the bathroom after a three-hour performance) and BG would be signing things at the gift shop next to the entrance or saying hello to the guests.
The Damn Right Blues Band
Drums: Tim Austin
Bass: Orlando Wright
Guitar: Ric Hall
Piano: Marty Sammon
Buddy Guy’s Legends
People of all ages (21+) come to Buddy Guy’s Legends and they all share the same sweet aftertaste that lasts them for decades to come. I, in my twenties will say the same thing that a college professor well in his sixties told me when he learned that I was going to visit Legends. He said that it was a blast and that I should go. I am telling everyone who will have an opportunity to go – it is a blast and you should.