B.B. King and Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Hollywood Bowl

All photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

With a last minute call I got the opportunity to witness something I thought would not ever happen for me. I would see B. B. King, the legendary Blues master, played the Hollywood Bowl at the grand age of 86. I would be fortunate enough to be a part of this unique and once in a lifetime experience at The Hollywood Bowl.

I arrived at the Hollywood Bowl as the sun was setting and the cool of the day was setting in. I parked my car and ambled of the hill, as I’ve done a number of times before. I waited at the perimeter of Bowl to be ushered in at the beginning of  Tedeschi Trucks Band’s set. By the time I was ushered in the sun had finally faded leaving the slightest of orange glow about the Hollywood Bowl’s stage.

Tedeschi Trucks Band is very much a traditional Blues ensemble with occasional flurry to a more funky uptempo vibe. Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi lead this band.  Both are accomplished musicians with pedigree. Derek Trucks well known for his work with the The Allman Brothers Band. He easily shared his space with his wife Susan and letting others in the band have their own moment in the spot light too. The set started out lively and culminated with a far reaching, blues opus. It was a serious Blues jam. The powerful performance was called “Bound For Glory” and  was worked for at least 15 minutes of their set. It was pure Blues virtuosity elegantly setting the stage for B. B. King’s performance.

Photo gallery after the jump

During the break I had discovered that my friend Chris Marsall and his lovely wife Katia were there for the show. So I hopped up the steps to spend a little quality time with them. Chris is a music collector on a grand scale. A lover of all genres and collect rare vinyl. I wasn’t surprised he’d make a point of being a part of this significant moment in music. So we always have tons to talk about including the import of this particular show. It was good running into them.

B.B. King’s band soon took the stage. His band played 2 intro numbers when B.B. rolled out in grand style. Everyone was standing up by their seats or boxes cheering offering a ovation with his appearance. All eyes were on the man himself as he strolled to the center of the stage. He greeted the members of the band before he turned to us. He took his place in his chair. He simultaneously received his guitar as he greeted the crowd. As a seasoned performer he knew all to well how to handle an audience. In this case a crowd of devotees! He shared stories with us all, old and new. He’d then play a tune.  Then he’d spend a little more time with us all in a conversational style that was warm and engaging. There was the sweetness, gentleness and gratitude about him that comes with great age. It was warm and uplifting to all in attendance. There was a sense of urgency too as he reminded us that he was 86 and nearly 87.  His birthday is September 16th and he turns 87 then. For me and many others this was a once in a lifetime experience! So, we all hung on every word and savored every lick of the guitar as the master entertained us. B.B. played, for the men, “Rock Me Baby.” He reminded us, both the ladies and the gentlemen, how important that kind of giving builds a relationship.

He continued his legacy set with “The Thrill Is Gone” before he invited Derek Truck and Susan Tedeschi on stage for a lengthy and moving grand finale. When Derek and Susan were finally set up they delivered their homage to the man. Derek’s playing was so moving to B.B. that he declared if he was a woman he’d be hot after him.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, John Mayer walked on stage for yet another jaw dropping moment. Soon John had his moment in the Blues players spot light. This jam, with all the players, continued for 25 to 30 minute. B.B. lamented that the Hollywood Bowl was going to close him down and he hated to go. But go he must. He played on a little longer. But a little after 10:30 and after B.B. had shared how deeply he appreciated his two supporting cohorts, Derek and Susan, he sealed it with a kiss to both of them on their cheeks. Then he took the time to share the similar sentiment with his adoring fans. He then closed the show in grand style. It’s a testimony to his love for his fans. Also, it’s his commitment and integrity to performing the Blues that this 86 your old man can deliver such an amazing and moving show. I thoroughly enjoyed both of the performances! I was tremendously moved by B. B. King’s stellar performance in such a wondrous venue of the Hollywood Bowl. This is a memory that will last a life time!

All photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat




Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at http://zuma.press/srp.html?SRCH=Billy+Bennight&timerange=&viewType=&PDS=&PAGENO=1 You can follow him on his Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/billybennightartist and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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One Response to B.B. King and Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Hollywood Bowl

  1. Pingback: John Mayer Sits In with B.B. King alongside Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks | Online Radio Stations

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