Posted in music | tour dates on April 9, 2014

BB King @ BB King's, October 2013 (more by Dana [distortion] Yavin)
BB KIng

A lot more people get called living legends than actually deserve it, but B.B. King is certainly one who does. At 88, he's still going with a full slate of concerts this year. (We shot him last year in NYC when he was given the Isabella and Theodore Dalenson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americans for the Arts.) But a concert in St. Louis over the weekend didn't go so well:

For a while, the audience was with him, laughing at his jokes and asides. But it was 45 minutes into the show before King performed anything resembling a song. Even then, his playing was shaky. He explained that he and the band had been off for two months, causing him to lose confidence.

After a capable run-through of "Rock Me Baby," he played "You Are My Sunshine" and asked the crowd to sing along. The house lights came up and King began noticing individuals and waving to them. As the song went around again and again, nattering on for -- and this is not a misprint -- 15 minutes, audience members began to heckle, yelling out requests or simply calling for King to "play some music!" Some walked out. - [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Video of that show is below. Let's hope it was just an off night, though the YouTube comments are full of other examples. It's a tough position to be in. He clearly still loves performing live but, like sports figures, you have to face retirement (or partial retirement) at some point. On the other hand, no matter how bad the show is (or expensive the tickets are), you shouldn't boo B.B. King.

As mentioned, B.B. King is touring, including Lehman Performing Arts Center in the Bronx on April 19. Tickets are on sale. Also in the new york area he's playing Red Bank, NJ's Count Basie Theater on April 16 (tickets), and Bridgeport, CT's Klein Memorial Auditorium on April 18 (tickets).

All dates are listed below.

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B.B. King at the Peabody St. Louis, MO April 4, 2014

BB King -- 2014 Tour Dates
Apr 09 Hard Rock Rock Csino Northfield - Northfield, OH
Apr 11 State Theater Ithaca, NY
Apr 12 Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel - Providence, RI
Apr 13 Lynn Auditorium - Lynn, MA
Apr 16 Count Basie Theatre - Red Bank, NJ
Apr 17 Palace Theatre - Albany, NY
Apr 18 Klein Memorial - Auditorium Bridgeport, CT
Apr 19 Lehman Performing Arts Center - Bronx, NY
May 30 Coronado Performing Arts Center - Rockford, IL
May 31 Rialto Square Theatre - Joliet, IL
Jun 1 Michigan Theatre - Ann Arbor, MI
Jun 6 Gold Strike Casino - Tunica Resorts, MS
Jun 7 Beau Rivage Theatre - Biloxi, MS
Jun 10 House of Blues Houston - Houston, TX
Jul 10 Hampton Beach Casino - Hampton Beach, NH
Jul 13 Indian Ranch Casino - Webster, MA
Jul 17 Warner Theatre - Washington DC
Jul 18 Penn's Peak - Jim Thorpe, PA
Aug 27 Humphreys Concerts by the Bay - San Diego, CA
Aug 28 House of Blues Aneheim - Aneheim, CA

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Tags: BB King, booed

Comments (34)

S.T. Ong

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:33 PM

This is the case with many of his shows these days. Obnoxious, but nothing new. Stop buying tickets, he'll stop touring.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:34 PM

I was saying BOO-urns.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:37 PM

Sad.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:41 PM

1:37, kudos.

I saw him with Buddy Guy in 2010. This has been his thing for awhile. I don't think he can handle playing a full set, so he tells ALOT of stories (most of them go nowhere) and jokes. I've seem him do the You Are My Sunshine thing. It can get annoying. His band usually comes out first and plays for a bit. Some guys just need to know when to hang it up. But like Buddy Guy has said "Bluesmen don't retire. They die first". Goes without saying that Buddy lit the place up before B.B. went onstage. He's an old-timer that is not exempt from schtick, but he plays his ass off and doesn't waste too much time between songs.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:42 PM

Sad. Somebody's exploiting a legend and it's just sad.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:45 PM

Better than Perfect Pussy

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:49 PM

Saw him twice back in 2002 and i think '03? He played tunes then too, but lots of stories. One story I do remember is he played the Blues Fest at PNC and the massive black out hit--he came on stage and just said, "Someone told me their ain't no electricity...well you always have electricity when you got the King."

That always stuck with me.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:52 PM

It was the same last year in California. James Brown in his final years was almost the same.

I do not blame either of them. Both have performed magnificently for DECADES.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 1:53 PM

dudes got 15 kids by 16 diff women...50 grandkids! As long as he can get paid, he'll be out there putting on a "show". He's a legend no doubt, sad to see things deteriorated like this. I saw him on his 70th bday and didn't think he could keep it up much more. he's proven me wrong.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 2:04 PM

you should boo BB King if he's wasting your fucking money.

nobody's paying to hear this dude tell storie.s

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 2:05 PM

females of a jewish persuasion

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 2:08 PM

This is why euthanasia should be mandatory. You make it to 80, youre done.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 2:11 PM

88 is really old.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 2:13 PM

there were a lot of stories and a sing along at the hudson river blues fest last year but when he played it was honestly like his fingers were magic. putting up with the sing along and stories was worth it for the bits of songs. he will and should keep putting on his show as long as he can, i doubt he could stop he genuinely seems to enjoy it as much as any fan ever could.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 2:56 PM

he's been pulling that shit for the last 10 years, if you ever saw him recently this is no surprise, out of a 45min set, he's playing guitar for less than 15min, it's a joke, he needs the money and the ticket price is sky high. not worth it at this point.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 3:37 PM

I saw him in the early 90's at the Beacon. He played a 40 minute set and then spent a 1/2 hour shaking hands with people in the audience...I swore I would never waste my money or time seeing him again. Just not worth it...
p.s. Don't rag on his age, you little pieces of shit, you'll all be old one day!

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 3:42 PM

douche chills

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 3:58 PM

Fuck it, he's BB KING, he can do what he wants. Hope he makes it to 100…you can't see Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Jimi Hendrix, and many others…you might as well catch some of those licks while the maker is alive, because once they are gone they are GONE….soon all that will be left are effete twits lisping their version of the blues and talentless people standing behind laptops on stage, so enjoy the biggest living legend of the pre-rock world while you can. Chuck Berry is 87, Mose Allison & Fats Domino are 86 and Little Richard is 81. Check out the list. http://www.ihopeidiebeforeigetold.com/oldest-living-rock-stars.php

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 4:02 PM

4:02PM

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 4:21 PM

"Bluesmen don't retire. They die first".

...and people who spend a lot of money to see 88 year olds "perform" get what they deserve.

Posted by Anonymous | April 9, 2014 7:50 PM

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away
You know you done me wrong baby
And you'll be sorry someday

Posted by Anonymous | April 10, 2014 9:38 AM

Saw BB at the Hard Rock outside of Cleveland, the article about St Louise is exact mirror of what we saw and heard.. When he said he was done everyone thought it was a Joke.. He is a legend he can sing you are My sunshine very well...

Posted by G | April 10, 2014 9:56 PM

Nigga should call it quits.

Posted by Anonymous | April 10, 2014 10:22 PM

We saw him last night in Ithaca NY. It was a very strange concert. I didn't know in advance how far he has deteriorated both musically and physically. We were saddened to witness this concert and we both wish we had not seen him this way. You want your heroes to be remembered as being vibrant, larger than life supermen. BB is a tired and confused old man now and seeing him on stage is uncomfortable. I hate to say this, but I really hope he retires before too many people see him this way and harbor memories of him this way. We love you BB King, but it's time to come off the road. You have to understand that concert goers spend money and have expectations.

Posted by Anonymous | April 12, 2014 1:39 PM

We love you Mr BB KING!!! Please never retire!!! Your the King of the Blues! hope you like forever!!!

Posted by BB FAN! | April 13, 2014 6:10 AM

BB, may you live and sing for ever

Posted by moshiko | April 13, 2014 8:17 AM

I saw BB King last night near Boston. I was really looking forward to seeing him. I have every one of his CD's.

It was just awful. My guy paid a lot of money for those tickets and I've never seen a concert that was this bad. He sang You are My Sunshine with the audience for 15 minutes. Before that, his band played for 15 minutes. In between he spent 15 minutes introducing the band. The only song he did in the first 45 minutes was "The thrill is gone", which we loved, but that was it. He then started flirting with some woman in the audience for a good ten minutes. Some other woman stood up and said "We love you BB!!" He told her to sit down because he was talking to the woman in the front row. He was downright rude. He played part of "Every day I have the blues." and that was pretty much it for the music. The lights came up and we all couldn't believe it was over, and yet we were happy to leave.

Posted by Den | April 14, 2014 1:48 PM

stong

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2014 1:47 PM

Saw him in RI last weekend. Love the music he once made, and I do not denounce his contributions to pleasing his audience.... BUT it is obvious to me, and the 9 other people with me who spent good money to see him perform, that it is over. He is done. I dont know who is holding him hostage, but let him retire. Let him enjoy whatever time he has left. Do not let him sit on stage and waste his and our time. It was very very close to pathetic. And I give lots of slack to people.
If you have a chance to buy a ticket... refrain, and watch an old video on YouTube instead.... you will be impressed.

Posted by Pete Ah | April 16, 2014 6:29 PM

Literally the exact same thing happened again last night at the Bridgeport CT show 4/18. Most bizarre show we've ever seen and very sad to see. His manager, Tina France, needs to stop exploiting this great legend...how she allows this to happen every show is beyond me. We love you BB and wish you the very best, whatever that may be.

Posted by Anonymous | April 19, 2014 8:19 AM

This is sad. He has always been performance man who had magic moments on stage. He plays the same gloss note over and over with a few sloppy licks. Dumb ass blues pseudo fan all melt. The guy is a hack and has been for over 20 years. Hang it up

Posted by Ken | July 11, 2014 1:10 AM

Ditto for Indian Ranch, Webster MA on July 13th. Rambling 'You Are My Sunshine' followed by nothing followed by a few interspersed lines of 'The Thrill Is Gone' and maybe 30 seconds of mediocre guitar all night, then he's done and it's over. 2 songs, both were horrible. He needs to quit. Maybe the band needs the meal ticket so they keep booking him. I'm not sure he knows where he is. This was a tremendously sad concert, I was almost in tears watching this shell of a legend. He should be in a rocking chair enjoying his last days, guitar resting in its case.

Posted by Aki Bola | July 16, 2014 12:46 PM

This is just so sad to read. I LOVE LOVE LOVE BB King and so appreciate all of his amazing music over decades. Personally, I would pay to watch him sit and to actually shake his hand would be one of my greatest joys. I just want to thank him for everything he has given his fans over the years and for how much he influenced blues music. He is a living legend and anyone who would boo him has no respect! Just listen to "please accept my love" and you will get it.

Posted by Janet LOVES BB | July 18, 2014 3:07 PM

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