Buddy Guy at Legends in Chicago, IL

Buddy Guy helps brighten up the cold Chicago nights throughout January with his 16-date annual residency at his club, Legends.

There’s nothing better to get you over the January blues than heading down to Buddy Guy‘s Legends where you get to see the man himself in an intimate setting. Every January he takes to the stage every Thursday to Sunday without fail.

Every night has a different band opening for him and sometimes a surprise mystery guest also joins the legend on stage, making every night a truly unique show. So far, the list of opening acts have included Bobby Rush, John Primer and Billy Branch to name just a few. Still to come are the likes of Corey Dennison and Toronzo Cannon. 

If you’ve never been to one of these residency shows before, do not hesitate, buy those tickets now as these shows usually sell out. They aren’t just a show, but a full-day event. People often line up for several hours (even from the night before in some cases!) regardless of the frigid Chicago weather, ready for when the doors open at 12 noon for them to rush in to get the prime spot at a table in front of Mr. Guy. Throughout the day, various blues musicians come on to entertain the crowd before the main event. Depending on what day of the week you choose to attend, Buddy doesn’t come on until 10.30/11pm, by which point the audience is more than warmed up and raring to go. 

As the excitement built throughout the day, the Chicago fans were eager for Buddy to take to the stage. As usual, the wait was worthwhile, as the blues legend proves once again why the crowds always come flocking to see him. There really is something special about getting to see him in his own club. Unlike the theater shows, Legends (in the style of true Chicago blues clubs of old) does not have a high stage, but rather a very low one that has seats and tables so close they are actually touching it. 

Throughout the night, many are wondering if there will be a special guest joining Buddy on stage, totally unaware that the night’s special guest was sitting in the VIP section and had also been walking through the crowd earlier in the night. Past appearances have come in the form of Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Sinead O’Connor and long-time friend Earl Slick. Tonight’s honors fell on British singer, Joss Stone who blew the audience away with a rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” The bare-footed songstress may only have sung one song but she certainly made an impact on the audience, with her powerful voice, showcasing an impressive range. 

At 82 years of age, Buddy is showing no signs of slowing down. The smile on his face throughout the night says it all – this man was born to perform, and nothing is going to stop him from doing just that. Something that we are all very glad about. Regardless of the Chicago weather, the crowds will always come flooding in. Whilst he may originally be from Louisiana, it’s clear to see that his adopted home of Chicago has taken him in as one of their own. 

From the second he stepped out onto stage, you could feel the atmosphere turn electric with everyone’s attention fixed solely on the stage. For two solid hours, the audience were entertained with a mixture of his own songs, as well as those of his counterparts, including long-time friend, Bobby Rush. Towards the end of the night, Buddy stepped off the stage and wandered through the crowd, all the time playing his guitar without missing a beat, and kicking the energy in the room up another notch. 

Earlier this week Buddy was nominated in two categories for the 40th Blues Music Awards – Best Traditional Album for The Blues Is Alive and Well, and Instrumentalist – Vocals for “Cognac.” We wish he all the best for the awards which will be announced on May 9. 

If you in the Chicago area this month, get yourself along to one of the upcoming shows before they sell out. These really are a rare treat that you will not regret attending. 

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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