© Mary Andrews
Photo 1/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 2/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 3/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 4/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 5/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 6/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 7/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 8/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 9/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 10/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 11/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 12/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 13/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 14/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 15/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 16/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 17/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 18/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 19/20
© Mary Andrews
Photo 20/20

One of the most anticipated concerts of the summer season in Phoenix was the Buddy Guy/Jonny Lang show at the Celebrity Theatre on Aug.17.

Both of these blues legends gave Phoenix jaw-dropping sets filled with incredible guitar work that would please the most finicky blues or rock connoisseur on the planet. AXS was there. Here are the best reasons to catch this show.

 

1) Jonny Lang is a future guitar and blues legend.

Lang is in his late thirties now and he has been playing the blues for over twenty years. His first album was the platinum-certified Lie To Me made at the tender age of 15 years old. His career has had a few twists and turns, but his ability to enchant and work an audience has never changed.

He is a rocker who works hard as he entertains the loving crowd. “Red Light” was a song that started quietly that built a rocking intensity. Lang is a mesmerizing performer with his guitar shredding and his “guitar faces’ match those guitar licks.  Incredibly, Lang plays much of the time with his eyes closed.

Those who never had experienced Lang in concert were instant fans. There is little wonder that Buddy Guy has toured with Lang for several years.

 

2) Lang’s band stayed in tow with the rocker

Lang has picked some of the best musicians in the business to tour with him. Zane Carney on guitar had several solo moments to show the crowd his guitar prowess.

“Rack Em Up” started as a jazzy number as Jim Anton dominated the stage with his bass. The rest of the band joined in and it was magic. Tyrone Sass played righteous keyboards as Carney joined in with his guitar 

Barry Alexander was always beating on time with his drums. For a complete set list, click here.

 

3) Buddy Guy is an unstoppable blues guitarist

Guy is 82 years young and he was proud to reveal this to his fans. One fan remarked I didn’t expect him to move around as much as he did.” If you are expecting the guitar slinger to just stand at the microphone, don’t come to his show. He was not able to move around in the crowd as he typically does due to the theatre’s layout. Still, he did not leave any area of the rotating stage uncovered.

Guy is touted to have influenced some of the great guitar players of rock that includes Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix.

His guitar playing has a lot of punch. Within the first song, one of his guitar strings had broken. No problem, he decided to use the string to pluck the other strings. He proved he could use almost anything to pick his guitar from using a towel to a drumstick, and later his teeth or his tongue. His sound was always amazing.

 

4) The ’Damn Right Blues’ band is not shabby at all

Guy has picked the perfect backing musicians for his tour. It was apparent that the setlist was very fluid and could change at any time. The legend has a full catalog of songs from which he can pull at a moment’s notice. Marty Sammon on keyboards, Ric Jaz on rhythm guitar, and Tom Hambridge on drums were able to go with the flow.

 

5) Guy’s electrifying performance far surpasses his recordings

Wearing his signature polka dot shirt and a baseball cap, Guy ruled the stage. It was his communication with the crowd throughout the night that was so engaging. During “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” Guy stopped the song because he was not pleased with the crowd’s inability to sing along with the lyrics. He quipped, “I just toured in Japan, and they knew the lyrics and sang along much better than this.” A few four-letter words were removed from the dialog.

Guy’s sense of humor permeated the venue as much as his guitar playing. Guy mentioned during the show, “I play music so funky you can smell it.” Many of Guy’s songs have adult themes and he mentioned that he used to worry about singing them. Once Hip-hop and rap music became popular, he never had to worry about that anymore. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer doesn’t have to worry about any of that anymore.

Click here for Buddy Guy’s set list.