B.B. King Blues Festival

Saturday, August 21; Gateway Arch Stage on the St. Louis Riverfront

Aug 18, 2004 at 4:00 am
B.B. King has been recording and playing live for more than 55 years. At this point there's only one other musician left with the recognition factor that King enjoys -- and this kind of longevity in the business -- and that's Tony Bennett. We hope that King will continue to keep on touring for many more years, but it's not wrong to point out that every year you decide to skip seeing him brings you closer to the day when you won't ever get the chance.

There's an interview with Dave Alvin in the new issue of No Depression magazine in which he talks about the experience of getting to see some of the great figures in blues and country-music history perform live. "The tragedy of learning this music from records," Alvin says, "is that you don't get the full effect with a lot of artists, the physical feeling of being in the presence of someone like that. If you had any soul at all, you just responded to them."

This is what you're missing when you've gone this long without seeing B.B. King live. You're missing a chance to hear somebody who absorbed the blues tradition from the people who created it. You're missing a chance to hear somebody who defined the most widely known and deeply personal guitar style in the history of his musical form. You're missing a chance to connect with the music that runs so deeply in his soul to this day.

Remember, this show is free. Realize also that you're getting the chance to catch Dr. John, a legend in New Orleans music, and the very talented Shemekia Copeland on the same bill. There are very few good reasons to miss this show.