Legends rocked the house at Ravinia on Tuesday night, with hometown favorites Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples treating festival-goers to three and a half hours of foot-stomping, head-bopping, hand-clapping, soulful blues, gospel and rock.
Both artists have been making beautiful music for over a century between them, yet remain relevant and exciting to fans of all ages, who packed the house to see them at Highland Park's famed outdoor summer concert venue.
, defying what we think it means to be 75, treated concert-goers to an hour of her trademark sultry vocals and witty banter. Her mighty voice was equally at home whether she stayed true to her gospel roots or veered more into pop territory.
set included fan favorites like "Respect Yourself" but she went a little deeper, sharing her penchant for soulful gospel with the title track from her 2010 release "You Are Not Alone." She paid homage to her father Pops Staples
, as well as her civil rights roots performing "Freedom Highway"--the tune he penned about the 1960's civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
' sister Yvonne
jokingly referred to as a "spring chicken" (there's only a year between them)- joined her for the second half, backing her up on the family's hit "Let's Do It Again." Mavis
got a laugh with her lament that she was "tired--we've been taking you there for 64 years!" as she closed out the set with perennial favorite "I'll Take You There."
Next, Buddy Guy
lit up the stage, reinforcing why he is a true Chicago blues icon. As he performed "I'm 74 Years Young", he reminded the audience that he penned that tune four years ago--not that anyone could tell. For nearly two hours, Guy
performed with the energy of someone half his age, treating fans to sing-along favorites like "Slippin' In," "Hootchie Coochie Man" and "Son of a Gun." He let the emotion bleed out of him on "Skin Deep," bringing to mind the constant pain of racism, but switched easily to a lighter mood with "She's 19 Years Old."
Showing time and again why guitarists like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix revered him, and why at age 78 he remains head and shoulders above most contemporary players. Guy treated delighted fans to his expert riffs, showing off some of his trademark tricks--playing with a drumstick, his mouth and a scarf.
As he's been known to do, Guy
left the stage, guitar in hand to get close to the fans, where he was quickly swallowed into a sea of smartphone bearers of all ages eager to snap a shot of the legend in the flesh.
Guy then turned part of the show into a family affair, joined on stage by his son Michael, a talented guitarist in his ownright, and daughter Carlise who lent her sweet vocals. Though he didn't like his father's music when he was young, preferring Michael Jackson and Prince to his father's blues, Michael had an epiphany when he saw Guy perform live for the first time, telling him "Daddy, how wrong I was!"
Moving seamlessly between Jimi Hendrix
covers and his own electric blues throughout the show, Buddy Guy
thrilled, delighted and entertained the audience from beginning to end, proving that he is indeed "78 years young."