After an enjoyable ride up to Chicago, with lots of talk—and traffic that wasn’t TOO bad—we found our hotel with no problem and got checked in. We had a little time to relax and freshen up in our rooms before we met in the lobby for our first evening’s adventure: Buddy Guy’s for dinner and music.
We cabbed it down (six miles is a little too far too hoof it) and got in with no problem. Apparently, they fill up fast on Friday and Saturday night, especially when one of the sports teams is playing, and they don’t take reservations. But we got there early enough that we breezed right in like rock stars. Well...not exactly rock stars. More like people who just got there really early. [grin]
We got a couple of pitchers as we looked at the menu, and the first act started soon after that. A low-key acoustic player, and a nice start. One of the appetizers we got was catfish tenders, and they were so freakin’ good that I ordered the catfish dinner! Definitely some of the best catfish I’ve had, with a light cornmeal coating, nicely cooked, and very tender. I love me some catfish, especially with a little hot sauce on it. Mm-MM! Tom got ribs and seemed to like them, and Ken and Di got the Bayou sampler, with the usual New Orleans fare of jambalaya, étouffée, gumbo, and red beans & rice. Not quite the same as having it in a New Orleans restaurant, but the tastes I had were not bad at all! I thought they did a good job with the food, and I would definitely eat there again!
More pitchers ensued, and then more bands came on. Sammy Fender was an older gentleman, and one helluva showman. He’s also not as tall as he looks in the picture—and I’m not as short! He was standing onstage, and I was on the floor. The guitarist for Sammy was a younger guy, and was just fantastic.
More pitchers, and another band, this time a guy named Biscuit Miller, the headliner for the evening. Damn, Skippy! He brought it, as did the whole band! The dance monster in me was awakening, and when Biscuit and the band played some James Brown, I really shook what my mama gave me, I tell you what! I worked up quite a sweat to JB, and if it was that much of a workout just dancing to it, James earned his Hardest Working Man in Show Business moniker!
At one point, I headed to the restroom, and when I got back, Ken had caught one of the t-shirts the staff was tossing out from the stage. Sweet! Sadly for him, it was a medium, so I was the recipient of the shirt. (Thanks, Honey!) I now have an authentic Buddy Guy’s t-shirt!
We were pretty much pitchered out by this point (remember, we were cabbing it, so no worries!) and headed back to the hotel. We all agreed that it was a fun evening, and I can say that the caliber of talent that takes the stage at Buddy Guy’s is top notch. Of course, I would expect nothing less! I have a feeling that Buddy Guy’s is similar to the places on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, or Beale Street in Memphis: if you’re playing there, it means you’ve got chops. They don’t let just anyone play these places, and I bet you could go to Buddy Guy’s any night of the week and hear some fabulous talent. We sure did on Friday night! My buddy Jim spent a week at a guitar school in Chicago a while back (I believe that’s what it was...he can correct me if I’m wrong), and one of the perks of the school was that they got to play at Buddy Guy’s. Jim and his bandmates in Cornerstone Blues Band definitely have that kind of talent, and if they ever get a gig at Buddy Guy’s, I think we’ll just have to go up to see them play there!
It was a great kickoff to our weekend, and even though we were dancin’ to the blues, none of us were feelin’ them!