On Sunday August 6, 2023, I made my way down to Stern Grove in San Francisco, California. Stern Grove is one of my favorite venues to visit. Nestled in a valley and surrounded by trees, you would never know this is in the city even if you drove right past it. It feels like a little piece of heaven with a great soundtrack. The best part of Stern Grove are the people. It’s always such a cross-section of society and it’s a great place to people watch.
This is a show I have been looking forward to since it was announced in May. The show… Eric Gales opening for the living legend Buddy Guy. These two bluesmen are a perfect combination in an amazing location.
Eric Gales is touted as being the best blues guitarist in the world. From the first notes, we all understood why. That man can play! Starting off with “You Don’t Know The Blues”, Eric Gales is not only a great guitar player but, he is a great storyteller as well. “You Don’t know The Blues” is off his latest album Crown, that garnered a nomination for a Grammy.
The next two songs were also off Crown, “The Storm” was one of the really powerful songs off that album. Written during the pandemic, the lyrics are strong and poignant starting with “How can you love what I do, but hate who I am”. Man that hits deep.
The last half of the set were covers. Starting with the Beatles “Come Together”, it gave the keyboard player time to shine since his mother and grandmother were in the audience. After that, he broke into Jimi Hendrix‘s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” which then morphed into Kashmir by Led Zeppelin then into “Back in Black” by AC/DC before finally circling back to “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. Finishing up, he introduced the band and the newest member Crown. Crown is a 7 month old toy poodle and the band’s mascot. Super cute!
The Eric Gales band are:
Eric Gales – guitar/vocals
LaDonna Gales – percussion
Nick Hayes – drums
Jonathan Lovett – keyboards
Randy Stevenson – bass
1). You Don’t Know The Blues
2). Put It Back
3). The Storm
4) Come Together (Beatles cover)
5). Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
6). Kashmir (Led Zeppelin cover)
7). Back In Black (AC/DC cover)
Buddy Guy really needs no introduction. He is an 8 time Grammy winner, a lifetime achievement award recipient and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This tour is billed as his farewell tour and it is understandable since he celebrated his 87th birthday just a few days ago. However, this isn’t the last we will be seeing of him. He stated, while this is the last tour, he will continue to play as long as he can.
Opening with “Damn Right I Got The Blues” off of his 1991 release with the same name. This totally set the pace for the rest of the set. Introducing each song with great little stories and a bunch of jokes, you could tell he was having a great time up there.
The next part of the set were blues cover songs, the first being Willie Dixon‘s classic “I Just Want To Make Love To You” From there He went into Muddy Waters “She’s Nineteen Years Old” throwing in his humor from time to time. From there, “I’m You Hoochie Coochie Man” by Willie Dixon, “Chicken Heads” by Bobby Rush and the B.B. King song “How Blue Can You Get”.
Before “Skin Deep” he talked about how his polka dots came to be and how it traced back to when he left home for Chicago, he told his mother he would be back with a polka dot Cadillac. I loved all the little stories he told and the humorous way he told them.
Due to curfews, they had to wrap up the set early but that didn’t stop Eric Gales and Buddy’s son, Greg Guy joining them on stage for “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In)”. During that song, Buddy came out into the crowd and walked around the main grass area and back down to the stage all while still playing. Eric and Greg held down the stage during this time and had a great chemistry together.
Buddy Guy band members are:
Buddy Guy – guitar/vocals
Ric Hall – guitar
Dan Souvigny – keyboards
Orlando Wright – bass
Tom Hambridge – drums
1). Damn Right I Got The Blues
2). I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon cover)
3). She’s Nineteen Years Old (Muddy Waters cover)
4). I’m You Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon cover)
5). Chicken Heads (Bobby Rush cover)
6). How Blue Can You Get (B.B. King cover)
7). Skin Deep
8). Someone Else Is Steppin’ In (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In)
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Photographer of about 10 years, I have been shooting concerts for about 8 of those years. I started to get serious about concert photography about 6 or 7 years ago and now try to shoot as many as I can. I shoot mostly rock but, have done some country and big band stuff. I love music and since I am nowhere close to being a musician, this is a way I can be a small part of what, in the words of Henry Rollins, “gets me through the highs, the lows and everything in between”.