It was a beautiful night for Music in the Zoo in Apple Valley on Thursday night. A little warm, but a constant breeze helped cool things down. Add to that the beautiful surroundings of the Weesner Family Amphitheater, no mosquitoes and GREAT blues music from Buddy Guy and it was a perfect night.
Quinn Sullivan opened for Buddy Guy and proved the future of blues is in great hands. I’ve followed Quinn for a few years and watched YouTube videos of him playing guitar during Buddy Guy’s performances 10 years ago. Buddy would bring him onstage and they would play dueling guitars and Quinn could match Buddy lick for lick. Quinn still looks extremely young (a quick google search gave Quinn’s age as 19), but he has gotten a lot taller. He played with a guitar that had Buddy Guy’s signature on it along with ’09, which I assumed meant Buddy signed it in 2009. A couple other signatures were on the guitar, but no longer legible.
Quinn played songs from his 3 albums along with a few covers. He is a great guitar player and his voice has changed a bit since 2009, sounding better than ever. He was backed by the same band that Buddy Guy plays with (Damn Right Blues band), which was very solid. Overall, I thought a very good performance – I will be buying Quinn Sullivan music soon. He played for 45 minutes and it was obvious the crowd enjoyed him by the applause and ovations.
There was a 30-minute break and at 8:45, the crowd started getting restless. They clapped and cheered for Buddy. At around 8:47, Buddy came onstage to a standing ovation. He opened with an extended version of Damn, Right I Got The Blues, frequently taking singing breaks to chat with the audience. He told the crowd how great it was to be back in Minnesota and took personal responsibility for the lack of mosquitoes. He suggested bringing him back more frequently may solve the situation for good.
The night was like visiting with an old friend. Buddy telling stories about his early days and some of the blues greats that he learned his craft from. Also apologized about his occasional cursing, blaming it on hip hop and his mentors – who used colorful language as nicknames for Buddy. He got huge cheers when he played the guitar with a drumstick and a towel.
A scan of the crowd showed a wide range of ages – teenagers to retirees. I was behind 2 young men, who commented “this guy is great” and were amazed at some of his guitar work. It was a really fun night with great music, great stories, great weather and a beautiful venue. I didn’t want it to end.
I had forgotten how long Buddy has been around and was surprised to find out he is 81 years old. If you are a blues fan, you need to see Buddy Guy. He is a treasure and his stories are priceless – a history of the blues. Buddy recently released a new album – The Blues is Alive and Well. After seeing him and Quinn, it would be hard to argue they aren’t…