At last night’s B.B. King/Buddy Guy concert, I met Neal Duffy. For those who don’t know him, Neal works as Tilly & the Wall’s sound engineer/tour manager and also does some photography.
The guys we watched on stage come from a different era of performing. They have large backup bands that have their own names. They’re played on and off stage. They tell stories in between songs. Guy is in his 70s and King in his 80s and their band members are all veteran performers and each one of them has as much, if not more energy, than ever. It’s incredible.
After the show, Neal turned to me and said, “If local bands had half the energy that these guys have, it would be amazing.”
I couldn’t agree with him more. This isn’t to say that local bands aren’t energetic, but the level of passion that these two bluesmen showed for their music is incredible.
One thing that could be taken away is their emphasis on performance, which is a different thing from their musicianship, vocal ability or their songs. It’s the ability to put on a show, to keep people engaged. That’s everything from your songs to stage banter and guitar tricks to dance moves.
A lot of people would say that the songs should speak for themselves, and I agree. But it never hurts to put on a good show. That is, to be entertaining and engaging.