The Palace in Albany hosted the legendary B.B. King, one of the greatest guitarist of all time, on Thursday the 17th of April, to a crowd of all ages and backgrounds who all shared a love for the blues. The venue buzzed with teens in blue jeans and adults in fur, parading in the lobby and the aisles, eager for the magic of B.B. King and his guitar “Lucille.” The band warms up the stage with instrumental jazz, each stretching their musical muscles as guests take their seats. The introduction was made and B.B. King was escorted onto the stage, making for a grand entrance as the crowd greets him with a standing ovation. He takes a seat at center stage and goes through the introductions of the band, poking fun and setting the laid back tone of the evening.
“Here is something for the lovers tonight,” B.B. cooed as the band opened with “I Need You.” His voice is still strong as his vocals are crisp and echoed beautifully around the Palace. He plays each note on purpose with an incredible ease and care. The long exaggerated plucking is second nature to him and so are the blues. “You Are My Sunshine” started a massive sing-along that was adorable coming from everyone in the audience. As the lights would begin to darken, B.B. would request them to be brighter as he got a kick from looking out at all the fans trying to get his attention; this shifted the focus off of the music and was a bit irritating.
But the show went on to “Rock Me Baby,” a sophisticated, sexy song with a slow tempo, consistent buildups from the band, and rebellious guitar riffs from B.B. The show came to an end all too soon as B.B. said his good nights with a very slow exit. B.B. King still performs with a smile, booming vocals and mighty hands, but it was a disappointment to have the show end so early with such a short setlist. Despite his distracted stage presence, the 88-year-old musician is still a must see act as he continues to spread the blues to Upstate NY and beyond.