The Lead up…
The second day of the Garlic Festival started early. By 12:30 p.m., Nashville’s Andy Childs was up on stage with his acoustic guitar playing his set of country rock covers and originals for the early comers.
Soon afterwards, South Florida’s Billy Bones performed his one-man-band set of covers and originals. Digital tracks churned out the rhythm section as he sang and jammed with his saxophone.
Billy Bones cut his own set short to let his teenage son, Justin, showcase his singer/songwriter abilities. Clearly, he was no rock star, but I would be lying if I told you he had no potential. That and I would feel awful for ripping into a kid musician.
The full bands got going at around 4 p.m. with Hollywood, Florida’s The Republik. Their sound begged the question, “What if Slash played with Dave Matthews band?” Naturally, Slash and Dave Matthews are a smidge better than these local boys, but that’s not to say The Republik was terrible. Their music was just fine for a fan of Y-100 pop rock.
The last band to perform before the headliner was a rock outfit out of New Jersey called Outside the Box. Their hard rock sound gave them a much bigger presence than the acts that preceded them, but it was nothing compared to what was just around the corner.
…To The Legend.
The sun had set on Delray Beach a couple hours before. By 8:30 p.m., the concert area was packed like sardines in a can. The crowd sprawled out from beneath the tent on all sides. The band kicked things off with a brisk blues for his introduction. Then, to a thunderous wave of cheers and applause, Buddy Guy took the stage.
He wore a white beret and an ear-to-ear grin on his head. His guitar screeched and snarled like a hellhound out of the furnace. The man is 74 years old, but projects the youthfulness of 21, and he made a point of saying it with his tune “74 Years Young.”
Buddy’s band was so tight you couldn’t thread a needle through it, and he held the controls like a black magician. With a wave of his hand, they would stop on a dime and drop the dynamic way low. So low it was almost inaudible even through the massive PA set up for the event. Then, the hounds would come again and the band would escalate to a guitar-ripping fervor before closing out the tune and doing it all again for the next one.
During the second half of the set, he left the stage and wandered amidst the audience. The only indications of where he stood were the cameras and phones pointing at him.
The highlights here included a medley of classic tunes like “Mustang Sally,” “Voodoo Chile,” (listen here) as well as some John Lee Hooker and Cream.
Buddy pulled all the stops, from banging on his guitar with drumsticks and towels to playing with his teeth. The audience just couldn’t get enough of it. Their deafening cheers and applause goaded Buddy on and on throughout the night until the band called it quits at 10 p.m.
It was a performance fit for a legend of the blues.