Buddy Guy puts on damn right good show at Hollywood Bowl

Buddy Guy Hollywood Bowl 2023 mainbar AK

Buddy Guy’s Damn Right Farewell tour stopped at the Hollywood Bowl on September 6th. Guy opened for Jeff Beck’s 50th Anniversary Concert at the Bowl in 2016. 24-year-old Blues great Christone “Kingfish” Ingram opened the show. Buddy goes back to an era of Blues giants like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon. Although Guy was born in Louisiana, he was a key part of the Chicago Blues sound and was a big influence on Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, to modern guitarists like John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr. Guy’s career took off as a session guitarist with Muddy Waters at Chess Records following recording for Cobra Records and working with Ike Turner on his second record, Chicago’s premier Blues label in the 50’s and 60’s. Guy would also form musical partnership with legendary harmonica player Junior Wells. Guy has won 8-time Grammys, is Kennedy Center honoree, and was Rolling Stone’s 23rd Greatest Guitarist on their 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time list. At 87, Guy still continues to tour and the show included all the antics and humor you’d expect if you’re familiar with Guy’s shows. 

Guy opened the show with “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues,” followed by Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and “She’s Nineteen Years Old.” Guy also played his famous solo including a drumstick and a towel. Guy threw in Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Guy’s band is drummer Tom Hambridge, bassist Orlando Wright, guitarist Ric Hall, and his newest member keyboardist Dan Souvigny. 

For the grand finale Guy brought out Jimmie Vaughan, Kingfish, and his son Greg Guy for Otis Rush’s “I Can’t Quit you Baby.” After Guy put down his guitar he threw out guitar pics and waved goodbye to the audience while the guests and band continued to play and were still playing a few minutes after Guy left the stage. Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, and Eric Clapton all played together with Stevie Ray Vaughn the night before his tragic death in a plane crash the next day following their show at Alpine Valley in East Troy, WI August 27, 1990. It was a 16 minute-jam of Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” that would be SRV’s final performance after an opening set for Eric Clapton.

Words and photos by Alex Kluft