Buddy Guy interacts with the Kirby crowd. Photo Credit: Jason Riedmiller
Buddy Guy interacts with the Kirby crowd. Photo Credit: Jason Riedmiller

Legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy, accompanied by the prodigious Jonny Lang, co-headlined the stage of Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center to perform to a sold-out crowd on Feb. 23.

Lang opened the night and started with his song “Don’t Stop (For Anything).”  His performance included powerful blues anthems as well as his own renditions of songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.”  After an hour-long set, Lang left the stage, leaving the crowd eager for more.

Guy entered shortly after adorned in a patriotic outfit of red, white and blue with his Fender Stratocaster in hand.  Greeted with a standing ovation, he opened his set with what is regarded as his theme song, “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues.”

After playing two songs, it was clear that the 76-year-old Guy was excited to be in Wilkes-Barre.

“Unlike in most towns, I don’t have a curfew tonight,” Guy said.  “I’m going to wear you out.  I know you don’t get this kind of thing all the time.”

Then Guy talked about where his roots came from, making a reference to Muddy Waters, the blues guitarist he first saw 56 years ago in Chicago when he was only 15.

“I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout the roots you people go back to,” Guy said.  “I’m talkin’ about my roots.  The roots your people got their roots from.”

He performed two of Waters’ songs, “Champagne and Reefer” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You.”

To end the concert, Guy brought Quinn Sullivan on stage, a 13-year-old blues guitarist who wowed the audience with effortless performances of songs like Cream’s “Strange Brew” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile.”  Guy, who first met Sullivan when he was only seven, said that he struggled as an up-and-coming guitarist and wanted to make life as a rising musician easier for the teenage prodigy.

Afterwards, local fans who still wanted more made their way over to the River Street Jazz Café in Plains to attend a “Blues After Party” headlined by local musician Clarence Spady.  There, many conversations opened with the same question—“What did you think of the show?”

Spady is also a blues guitarist and has performed with Guy in the past.

Both Guy and Lang were invited to join Spady at the Jazz Café, attracting a crowd larger than usual.  Although they never arrived, Spady’s performance did not leave the audience disappointed.

Guy is a six-time Grammy award winner and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He has influenced musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  Lang, over a generation younger than Guy, started playing guitar when he was 12 years old and has toured with B.B. King and the Rolling Stones, among others.