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A Night of the Blues in Sioux Falls

B.B. King
(Photo Courtesy of Dan Thorson)

In my world, it’s hard to go wrong with a night of the Blues. But what could be better? How about THREE Blues shows, three venues, one evening!

That was what Sarah and I set out to do Saturday night. We started our night at Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood for the living legend pictured above. Mr. Riley B. King, better known of course, as B.B.

We went in to the show with a sense of lowered expectations on the heels of King’s last performance here in Sioux Falls a few years ago. That night, King’s arthritis was bothering him so bad, he played ‘Lucille’ on maybe a half dozen songs all night. He seemed forgetful and more interested in telling jokes and stories, rather than playing music.

Saturday night was the complete opposite I’m happy to say! We was engaging and playful with the near capacity crowd, but made Lucille sing the way only he can while playing song after song. One of the things I have always loved about B.B. is that within a couple of notes, you can recognize a B.B. King lick, and he definitely brought them to town this weekend. Pretty damn impressive for an 87-year old Hall of Famer!

Next up, we dropped in to one of my favorite haunts in town: Old Skoolz, for a set with Australian bluesman Harper.

(Photo Courtesy of Crash)

In case you’re wondering, that’s a didgeradoo Harper is playing. He’s also a fantastic harmonica player and has a rich, deep, soulful voice. He did several originals from his Blind Pig releases to his new self-released live CD, to covers as diverse as Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want To Make Love To You” to Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine” to Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks”.  Fantastic, high-energy show that you need to see next time he comes to town, which will be at Old Skoolz on February 8th.

We wrapped up our evening at the Alpine Inn as some of our friends, The Stallions, were playing their last show together after a dozen years. We walked in to a packed house and smiles everywhere as the band wrapped their second set, took a quick break and tore headlong into their final set with my favorite cover of theirs, “Nasty Habits” by Tommy Castro. The set also included Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” and a couple of Beatles covers: “Birthday” and “Something”. Following the last song there were hugs, laughs, smiles, and a few tears, but we know even with the last note played by the Stallions as a whole, we’re all still ‘family’.

So for those of you that continue to say “There’s never anything to do in this town”, you’re just not looking very hard. Get out, celebrate life, and catch a show. Another great night provided by this exceptional community we’re lucky enough to call home.

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