I have been inthe presence of absolute greatness.
I have finally understood.
Last night I saw Buddy Guy, an original star of Chicago blues. The man who is the reason for Eric Clapton, for Jimi Hendrix and for Stevie Ray Vaughan.
This was something special, an experience, to see and hear it, the real thing happening there, within 20 feet of me. It was without a doubt amazing, astounding and eye opening. To give it some sense of context I should say that Blues for me has become somewhat of a religion. It has given the events of my life some perspective, helped me through the hard times, and given me some of the happiest times of my life. I should also say that I play guitar, and that, at times, I have managed to convince myself that I may actually be reasonable.
Buddy Guy grew up in rural Louisiana, near the Delta the birthplace of the blues. He followed the likes of Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf north to Chicago, where he learnt his trade entertaining the punters in the Southside clubs, where the ability to hold the attention of the paying masses meant the difference between eating or not each night. He recorded with Muddy, Junior Wells and the other giants of Chicago clubs, and seemingly did nothing but learn. I say that because in the 50 odd years between then and now something otherwordly has begun to inhabit Buddy, something powerful and holy.
I stood and watched, mouth agape, as he stood at the stage edge forcing notes from his stratocaster. He shook with raw power, and made his guitar sing hoot and holler, and somehow this ordinary man managed to hardwire a connection to my soul. It was then that I understood, this went beyond notes, beyond knowledge, beyond anything that I could begin to put into action. Buddy Guy is a conduit. Music happens through him, he is gloriously and absolutely out of control. He literally vibrates as the sound flows from within his soul and beyond.
I may never, really, come close to having that ability. Yet I must not stop playing, I am empowered to search for that moment. My simple words may not be able to express the truth of the experience. Just know that he is beyond a simple guitar player, and the world is greater for his presence.