Even though I am not in a position to write a musically educated concert review of blues legend Riley B. King, known to the world as B.B. King, my expenditure of $138 for two tickets permits me to sadly conclude this should be the last global tour of the “King of the Blues.”

Last night at the Hult Center in Eugene, Oregon should have been a night of celebration of a musical giant. Instead the audience quietly walked away when it became evident that after a little more than an hour the cumulative impact of 87-years young and his 20-year fight with Type II diabetes had prompted B.B. to call it quits for the evening.

bbking

Promptly at 7:30 pm PDT, the eight-piece B.B. King band started its performance of down-home Southern blues. Everyone knew the time was coming closer for the arrival of B.B. He walked out onto to the stage to a standing ovation. “Lucille,” his Gibson ES-355, was carefully placed beside his chair.

One problem: Lucille’s amplifier was kaputt. Kein Problem. B.B. sat down, smiled and introduced the members of his band, including his drummer twice. A second amplifier was brought on stage…and it didn’t work either. Did anyone bother with a sound check?

B.B. seemed to take it in stride as Amp #3 was carried on stage with his band guitarist taking the lead. Finally…after 15 minutes…we heard the first distinctive B.B. King chords. Except B.B. really wasn’t pleased with Amp#3, prompting the arrival of Amp#4.

The high-points of the night came in succession with B.B. leading the audience in singing You Are My Sunshine (encouraging the kissing of your loved one) and then his signature The Thrill is Gone…a truncated version. Soon after, B.B. King announced he was over his allotted time.

Being able to say and remember seeing “The King of the Blues” made the night worth the high price of admission. Still it was not the same as the memories of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Billy Gibbons and The Edge, all in their prime, playing before packed houses.

Age inevitably wins. No matter how hard we try (and we should), age will prevail. Watching Muhammad Ali in his last fight against Larry Holmes (it wasn’t pretty) or the Terry Bradshaw-era Pittsburgh Steelers grow old and lose a step or two all at the same time, sends a sad but certain signal that it is time to move on to the next era of life…whatever that may be.

Reportedly, B.B. King works up to 225 nights per year. He is a “doer” and a “maker” and needs to be saluted and praised. For his fans (and count me in that grouping) his YouTube videos and digital recordings are better than hearing him live. There was exhilaration from hearing the chords coming from “Lucille” for just a few minutes and then the thrill was gone.

There comes a time…I’m sorry to say, for the legend B.B. King that time has come.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.B._King

http://www.bbking.com/

http://www.biography.com/people/bb-king-9364839

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/in-celebration-of-national-diabetes-month-bb-king-tells-it-like-it-is-55482772.html

http://www.hultcenter.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Are_My_Sunshine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thrill_Is_Gone

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucille_%28guitar%29

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