Beale Street Music Festival - 2008

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I have not had time to answer the comments from yesterday.. but here is the recap from this weekend...

Remember to stop by Travis' for the Dancing With The Stars Recap...As we did not get to see it, we will be reading with great interest...

Let's recap Friday and Saturday at the Beale Street Music Festival. Friday was a crappy day in terms of weather. It drizzled all day and then about 3:00 pm the Tornado warnings began popping up throughout Arkansas. The storms were all heading in lines toward the Memphis area, so there were many reports on the TV.

darlin' Nancy was not going to be joining me on Friday as here eldest son was supposed to be playing baseball. When the game was canceled, she could not attend as the boys were at home.

So about 5:00 pm, I got in the car and made my way downtown. After parking the car, I walked to Tom Lee Park. No rain falling yet.

After grabbing a couple of beers and a Sausage and Peppers Hero, I made my way to the Tennessee Lottery Blues Tent and found a seat, center aisle third row.

Lil Ed and The Blues Imperials took the stage a few minutes after 7:30 pm. The band is from Chicago, IL and they just rocked. The band is comprised of Lil’ Ed Williams, Guitar & Vocals; Michael Garrett, Guitar & Background Vocals; James “Pookie” Young, Bass & Background Vocals and Kelly Littleton, Drums. We will try and get some of their music uploaded in the next few days.

Here is some upcoming dates for the band. They are a lot of fun and darn good musicians.
May 08, 2008 Blues Music Awards Tunica, MS.
May 10, 2008 Smoke On the Water Festival Pine Bluff, AR.
May 16, 2008 B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted Chicago, IL.
May 17, 2008 B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted Chicago, IL.
May 20, 2008 Over the Mountain Rockton, PA.
May 21, 2008 KClinger's Tavern Hanover, PA.
May 22, 2008 Narrows Center for the Performing Arts Falls River, MA.
May 23, 2008 Mokalaki Golf Club Franklin, NH.
May 28, 2008 Iron Horse Music Hall Northampton, MA.
May 29, 2008 Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base Reading, PA.
May 31, 2008 Western Maryland Blues Festival Hagerstown, MD.
Jun 07, 2008 Chicago Blues Festival 2008 Chicago, IL.
Jun 12, 2008 PRIVATE Chicago, IL.
Jun 14, 2008 Greeley Blues Festival Greeley, CO.
Jun 20, 2008 Riverfront Blues Festival Fort Smith, Ar.
Jun 26, 2008 Murphy's Lounge Omaha, NE.
Jun 27, 2008 Dickie Doo Sedalia, MO.
Jun 28, 2008 Bear Creek Blues Festival Slater, MO.
Jul 19, 2008 BBQ & Blues Too Festival Waterloo, IA.
Jul 26, 2008 Firefighter's Blues Festival North Liberty, IN.
Aug 09, 2008 Diamond State Blues Festival Newcastle, DE.
Aug 10, 2008 Heritage Blues Festival Wheeling, WV.
Aug 16, 2008 Madison Ribberfest Madison, IN.
Aug 22, 2008 Edmonton's Labatt Blues Festival Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA

I was sitting next to two guys who had traveled from Edmonton, Canada just for the festival.

During Lil Ed the rains began. We could hear it pounding on the tent roof and through the openings could see the lightening show that was being produced by Mother Nature. Where better than to be in the tent with the blues making the air alive with electricity.

At 9:15 pm Charlie Musselwhite and his band hit the stage. 63 years young and Charlie was looking like he was ready to play all night. I had heard some of Charlie's music, but never seen him live. The Teamster had told me a number of times that he is a show not to be missed. He speaks the truth.

This man has a truly wonderful voice for the blues, with so many stories to tell from his life. He can also blow one mean harp. Add to that, his new guitar player Matthew Stubbs.

Earlier that day, Charlie and Matthew appeared on the local news show. Here is a link to that video: Charlie on WREG.

That same day, Charlie was honored with a Brass Star located outside B.B.King's On Beale Street. You find these brass stars in the sidewalk, ala the stars given to movie stars out in LA. Congrats Charlie!

He rocked the tent as the rain came down in buckets outside. Matthew is a hell of a guitar player and has just joined Charlie's band. It was fun to watch them interact on the stage with Matthew moving to end his solo riffs and Charlie just egging him on to play more and more.

If you have never seen Charlie Musselwhite, try and make it a point to see him as he tours. You will not be disappointed.
5/14/2008 Snow Goose Theatre Anchorage, AK
5/15/2008 Snow Goose Theatre Anchorage, AK
5/16/2008 Juneau Jazz & Classics Juneau, AK
5/17/2008 Juneau Jazz & Classics Juneau, AK
5/31/2008 Western Maryland Blues Fest Hagerstown, MD
6/7/2008 Harmony Festival Santa Rosa, CA
6/8/2008 Pittsburg Blues Festival Pittsburg, CA
6/14/2008 Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival - Cannery Casino & Hotel North Las Vegas
6/29/2008 Monterey Bay Blues Festival Monterey, CA
7/2/2008 The Triple Door Seattle, WA
7/3/2008 Monteith Riverpark Albany, OR
7/5/2008 Waterfront Blues Festival Portland, OR
7/25/2008 Calgary Folk Music Festival Calgary ALB, Canada
7/26/2008 Calgary Folk Music Festival Calgary ALB, Canada
7/27/2008 Ironstone Amphitheatre Murphys, CA
8/1/2008 Notodden Blues Festival Notodden, NORWAY
8/2/2008 Notodden Blues Festival Notodden, NORWAY
8/6/2008 Blue Wing Blues Festival Upper Lake, CA
8/7/2008 Summer Nights on the Green Windsor, CA
8/9/2008 Crystal Bay Club Casino Crystal Bay, NV
8/24/2008 Edmonton's Labatt Blues Festival Edmonton ALB, Canada
8/31/2008 Long Beach Blues Festival Long Beach, CA
9/6/2008 Southside Shuffle Port Credit ON, Canada
9/21/2008 Great Atlantic Blues and Beyond Festival Halifax NS, Canada

After a short beak and the moving of people in and out of the tent, I ended up next to a great guy named Don. Don and his wife had come from Pittsburgh to meet other family from Cleveland and Corpus Christie, TX to attend the Festival. He was a great guy and he might even be reading this right now as he took the address for The Couch. It was funny...the whole group had marked out which stages and acts they wanted to see, but kept coming back to find Don. His response each time was "I am here...I will be here...If you need me, you can find me HERE."

Next up, the closing act of the night. It was immediately known that this was going to be an interesting evening as two acoustic guitars and a drum set were set up on stage.

Keb' Mo' took the stage all alone and then introduced his son (who he referred to during the night as Keb' Jr,. Kevin Jr., K-2 and Keb 2). The kid was no more than17 but did a fine job on the drums. Keb'? Well he was on fire.

All acoustic, he had the entire tent mesmerized for a good 90 minutes. Playing acoustic guitar and blowing the harp. His encore was done all alone on the stage and was a perfect end to an almost-perfect evening - well it could not be quite perfect as darlin' Nancy was not there.

Check out the link for his touring calendar, as we can not cut and paste it. Note, he will be appearing with Taj Mahal on the west coast in June. Something you should check out.

We headed home and again, the rain let up which was great. Arrived home around 2:00 am and climbed into bed.

Saturday, darlin' Nancy came over and we headed for the park around 4:00 pm or so. Again, there was not a lot on the schedule worth getting there early. It was overcast, but no rain in the forecast.

We shot into the blues tent again and caught the last few songs from Kenny Neal, a young rising star on the blues circuit from Baton Rouge, LA.

Then darlin' Nancy and I decided to get something to eat and decide how we were going to tackle the multiple stages. We ended up deciding to watch Watermelon Slim (real name Bill Homans). Another treat for all those who were in attendance. Watermelon plays the slide guitar as it sits on a table and has one of those truly "blues" voices.

You can catch him at the following gigs:
May 2008
1 Rogers, AR The Bayou
2 Little Rock, AR Cajun's Wharf
3 Memphis, TN Beale St. Music Festival
8 Tunica, MS Blues Music Awards
9 Bixby, OK BBQ & Blues Festival
10 Springfield, NE Soaring Wings Vineyard Blues Festival
11 Wichita, KS Sam's Place
13 Fort Smith, AR Landry's (Slim solo)
15-17 Marksville, LA Paragon Casino
18 Dana Point, CA Doheny Blues Festival
23 Dallas, TX Pearl
24 Oklahoma City, OK Will Rogers Theater

June 2008
2 Nashville, TN Bourbon St Blues
3 St. Louis, MO BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups
5 Toledo, OH Blue Devil
6 Cobourg, ON Cobourg Legion
7 Kingston, ON Lions Club Hall
8 Toronto, ON Waterfront Blues
12 Columbia, MO Twilight Festival
13 Eureka Springs, AR Chelsea's
14 Topeka, KS Varsity Blues
20 Gahanna, OH Gahanna Creekside Festival
21 Oxford, MI Hot Blues & BBQ Festival
22 Windsor, ON Bluesin' and Crusin' Festival
25-26 Winnipeg, MB Jazz Winnipeg @ Windsor Hotel
28 Newton, IA Bowlful Of Blues Festival
29 Osage Beach, MO Dog Days Concert Series

We then decided to leave our seats (third row center once again) to head over to the stage where Buddy Guy was about to perform. Buddy came out and blew the crowd away. He just tore through his set with a blazing guitar. At one point he left the stage and came out into the crowd. He then climbed on one of the risers set up for sponsors and played for two kids who were no more than 8-years old, even taking the little boys hand and letting him strum the chords.

Buddy is out on tour and you can see him at the following:
05/10/08 West Wendover, NV @ Peppermill Casino
05/30/08 Atlanta, GA @ Atlanta Botanical Garden
05/31/08 Owenton, KY @ Elk Creek Vinyards
06/12/08 Baraboo, WI @ Ho-Chunk Casino
06/13/08 Indianapolis, IN @ Indy Jazz Festival
06/14/08 Birmingham, AL @ City Stages
06/24/08 London, England @ Shepherds Bush Empire
06/25/08 Manchester, England @ Bridgewater Hall
06/26/08 Glasgow, Scotland @ Glasgow Int'l Jazz Festival
06/27/08 Birmingham, England @ Royal Symphony Hall
06/28/08 Somerset, England @ Glastonbury Festival
06/29/08 Liverpool, England @ Philharmonic Hall
07/01/08 Milan, Italy @ Live Club via Mazzani 58
07/02/08 Strasburg, France @ Strasburg Jazz Festival
07/04/08 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France @ Casino d’Eughien
07/06/08 Issey-les-Moulineaux, France @ Jazz A Vienne
07/11/08 Frankfurt, Germany @ Blues Garage
07/12/08 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Bospop Festival
07/13/08 Holland, Netherlands @ North Sea Jazz Festival
07/31/08 Reno, NV @ Silver Legacy Resort and Casino
08/28/08 Highland Park, IL @ Ravinia Festival
08/30/08 Milwaukee, WI @ Harley Davidson Celebration
09/12/08 Fredericton, NB, Canada @ Harvest Jazz & Blues Fest – Bud Light Tent
09/19/08 Fort Worth, TX @ Will Rogers Memorial Complex
10/04/08 Columbia, MO @ BCNB Roots, Blues & BBQ Festival
11/25/08 Brampton, Ontario @ Rose Theatre Brampton
12/06/08 El Paso, TX @ The Vann Pecan Farm

Quickly, we headed back to the Blues Tent for what I considered to be the show of the weekend. Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin along with Memphis' own Billy Gibson.

The set began with Gibson wailing on his harmonica. Then Hubert came out and strapped on the guitar and showed that even a 77-year old can still make the guitar sing. Living history on the stage no more than15 feet from where darlin' Nancy and I were sitting. The crowd going this was perfection.

Hubert went off the stage and Billy Gibson introduced the legend, Mr. Pinetop Perkins. This icon - 95-years young - took the stage dressed to the nines and sat down at the electric piano. What followed was sheer joy. Singing the blues, playing juke joint piano and getting the crowd to just melt, Pinetop was worth every second he was on stage.

Hubert's Dates:
May 9
Wolf’s Juke Joint Jam 2
Waverly Waters
West Point, MS

May 10
Robert Johnson Blues Festival
Chautauqua Park
Crystal Springs, MS

May 17
Doheny Blues Festival
Doheny State Beach
Dana Point CA

May 24
Santa Cruz Blues Festival
Aptos Village Park
Santa Cruz, CA

June 6
Beale on Broadway
St. Louis MO

June 7
Gladstone Summertime Blues Festival
Oak Grove Park
Gladstone, MO

June 14
Blues On The Fox
Galena Blvd. on Broadway
Aurora, IL
with Kenny Wayne Shepherd

June 28
Carnegie Hall
105 Church Street
Lewisburg, WV

July 26
Piazza Blues Festival
Piazza Governo
Piazza Switzerland

August 7th
National Guitar Workshop
The Canterbury School
New Milford, CT
Appearing with Bob Margolin

August 8
Regatta Bar
Charles Hotel
Cambridge MA

August 9
Dutch Mason Blues Festival
NSPE-Truro Raceway and Exhibition Grounds
Truro Nova Scotia Canada

August 23
Edmonton’s LaBatt Blues Festival
Heritage Amphitheater Hawrelak Park
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Pinetop's Dates:
Sat 05/10/08 Crystal Springs, MS Chautauqua Park

Sat 05/17/08 Dana Point, CA Doheny State Beach

Thu 05/22/08 Nicasio, CA Rancho Nicasio

Sat 05/24/08 Aptos, CA Santa Cruz Blues Festival

Thu 06/05/08 Chicago, IL Grant Park

Thu 06/05/08 Chicago, IL House Of Blues

Thu 06/26/08 Toronto, ON Jeff Healey's Roadhouse

Sat 07/19/08 Somerset, KY Somerset Community College

Fri 08/01/08 "Notodden Blues Festival", NOR Sliperhallen

Sat 08/02/08 "Notodden Blues Festival", NOR Sliperhallen

Sat 08/23/08 Edmonton, AB Edmonton's Labatt Blues Festival

Mon 09/15/08 Washington, DC Kennedy Center For The Perf. Arts

As we had left the stage area where we saw Buddy Guy, there was no way we would get close to the stage for Santana. The grounds were a quagmire by this point, so darlin' Nancy and I found a clear viewing area about 100 yards from the stage and listened as Carlos and band began to take off.

Would it have been great to have been closer to the stage...absolutely, but it would have meant trying to force through the crowd.

For the next 90-minutes, I got to hold tight to my baby and dance to the silky smooth music that comes from Carlos. Can't tell you the last time I was at a concert and got to enjoy it so much with someone so special.

They played new and old...they made the air sizzle.

A PERFECT end to a PERFECT day. All in all over 17 hours of music...I do not know of another three-day festival where you can get so much music for only $63.00 and where beers are only $4 and a sausage hero is only $4. They do not rip you off like so many other venues.

I did not go on Sunday. All of the acts I would have wanted to see were on at night and having to be at the airport at first light and trying to complete the special post for Thursday made me make a grown-up decision.

As I mentioned yesterday we had a technical problem with the camera, but darlin' Nancy is sending me the shots and when I get home I will try and make them usable and share.

Update on the state baseball tournament. Ernie's team won Saturday and are playing today. If they win the first, they move on. If they lose the first, they play the deciding game immediately afterward.

Next up for the Memphis In May celebration is the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest where teams from all over the world converge on Memphis to try and win some of the $90,000.00 in prize money and earn the bragging rights to carry on for the next year. Tickets? Just $7.00/day...can't be beat!

Then at the end of the month and event darlin' Nancy, the boys and I are planning to attend. The Sunset Symphony, the oldest event on the Memphis In May schedule. Also held at Tom Lee Park along the mighty Mississippi, it allows the masses an opportunity to enjoy the Memphis Symphony Orchestra along with a special guest each year. This year it is the Four Tops.

In 2007, for the first time, The Commemorative Air Force performed a tribute to World War II in a 60-minute air show. Since the air show was such an overwhelming success, Memphis in May is presenting this show in 2008, featuring World War II historic aircrafts the Corsair, Hawker Sea Fury, Stearman and the Russian Yak.

When the sun sets, the fireworks show will begin. This dazzling presentation will be orchestrated in part with the Symphony performance, and serve as the grand finale of the 2008 Memphis in May International festival.

This also costs just $7.00/person and you are allowed to bring in food and drink and have a wonderful day of music and food and friends.

No music today...sorry.

25 Of Your Sparks

  1. leelee Says:
  2. Oh wow, the festival sounded wonderful. You really got a lonf of music for your admission.

    I've never been to Mepmphis (it's on my list of places to visit) but I have to say. Looks to me like you are taking advantage of all the great events they have there.

    You tell your story so easily I feel like I am right there. GREAT!

    Thanks for sharing all of this with us Vinny!


  3. Schmoop Says:
  4. Sounds like a great time in spite of the weather Vin. Cheers!!

  5. Julie Says:
  6. Good job Vinny! I can't imagine that many different singers at one place! bummer about the rain but it didn't dampen your spirits..esp when Nancy was with you!

    That's great news about Ernie and his team! Keep us posted on this!

    Have a good day...where ever you are my dear!

  7. Sparky Duck Says:
  8. Sounds smokin. And Kebmo is always on fire

  9. LEELEE: As good as it gets. WHen you decide to visit, make sure you let me know and I will guide you around...Thanks for the knd words HUGS

    MATT-MAN: Ah hell weather is weather

    JULIE: TY dear...Wherever I am I will have a good day LOL

    SPARKY: Was smoking and he was too

  10. leelee Says:
  11. remind me to spell check my


    Oh, like I'd come to Memphis and NOT ask for a tour...


  12. Well, it sounds like you planned the perfect schedule for the festival. I can only imagine how great it was to hear some of those incredible performances.

    And $7 for the barbecue contest and the concert? That's a great deal.

    I can't wait to see Nancy's pictures.

  13. Ken Says:
  14. Sure does sound like a great time, even in the rain!

  15. LEELEE: LOL I think youe speechkek is not working
    Well then come on up!

  16. RWA: It does take some time to figure out how and who you want to see with 3 stages and the tent and there are definitely conflicts. Hopefully pictures on Friday

  17. DrillerAA Says:
  18. Memphis in May sounds like it can be a really special place. I don't know if I could absorb that much great music at one time, but I'd love to give it a try.
    WoooHooo for BBQ. There is a place here in Arkansas that has placed 2nd at Memphis a couple of time. Whole Hog BBQ, and their pulled pork is out of this world!
    Glad you had a wonderful week-end.
    Later my friend.

  19. Liz Hill Says:
  20. I think it's great that you got to share something you love so much with someone you love so much.


  21. DRILLERAA: think about coming down next year...
    I will check them out what is the name?

    TURNBABY: Sums it up perfectly

  22. Fred Says:
  23. Other than the rain, it sounds like a fabulous weekend. I would have had to take a day off just to rest.

  24. Lu' Says:
  25. Good Lord Bond, did you type all that. Your dedication to tuneage is unsurpassed.

  26. Tug Says:
  27. Wow. What an awesome time!! I can't believe the prices...too cool. Wasn't there a choice after Santana, or was it him or someone else? Damn I'm old. ;-) Glad that Nancy got to enjoy part of it with you, and help make it that more special.

  28. Meribah Says:
  29. Woot! Sounds like y'all had a grand ol' time. Glad the rain didn't ruin anything for you. I love listening to the rain when I'm in a nice dry and cozy place. Nothing like it. :)

  30. Travis Cody Says:
  31. That sounds fantastic!

  32. Vinny, I'm so sorry I haven't been reading your posts. I am under a tremendous amount of stress with my kids and the end of the school year. They're done in two weeks, so I'm hopeful to return to myself shortly thereafter (if not before).

    Just letting you know I was here (if not "hearing.")

  33. FRED: If I went on Sunday, I would have taken Monday off

    LU': The itinerary's I just copied off of the artist web-site..I am NOT a masochist!

    TUG: While Santana was on one stage Disturbed was on one and the Hasidic Rapper Matishayu was on another and Bettye Lavette was in the Blues tent... Santana wins!

    MERI: The music drowned out the rain

    TRAVIS: It was It was

    SONGBIRD: Family before worries dear

  34. katherine. Says:
  35. what a great time you guys had...what are the dates next year?

    (love charlie too!!)

  36. Sounds Awesome, Vinny!

  37. Kimmie Says:
  38. For the next 90-minutes, I got to hold tight to my baby and dance to the silky smooth music that comes from Carlos. Can't tell you the last time I was at a concert and got to enjoy it so much with someone so special.

    Add in Carlos Santana = Priceless!

    Thanks for sharing bond. This was a great Tuneage.

  39. Unknown Says:
  40. It's a conspiracy that hardly anybody decent (outside of country music) comes to SC.

  41. Glad to hear Carlos is still rocking! Although he went through a pretty low period with album sales, his live shows always kept the legend alive. My wife and I saw him in Los Angeles in the '90s, and both loved him. I've really come to appreciate his playing after spending the last 5 years in a tribute band, and have even dedicated a site to all things Santana:

    Thanks for your review!


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