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Nothing less than immaculate

B.B. King
Riverside Theatre
Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 31, 2008
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Story and photos by Joe Hargreaves

At 83, 14-time Grammy winner Riley B. King, or B.B. (short for "Beale Street Blues Boy") - a nickname given him during his disc-jockey days in Memphis - is still gigging hundreds of shows a year. In the presence of greatness it's easy to fall into a swoon, but in the presence of a King, it's best to remain composed and genuflect your proper respects.

His Halloween performance Friday night at the Riverside Theater was filled with bashful dance moves where B.B. blushed every time he got his boogie on, as well as his enduring tween-song banter, where he expressed his strong distaste for the rapper culture and their blatant disrespect of females. "Ladies are God's greatest gift to the planet", voiced King, before dedicating to them a sing-a-long version of "You Are My Sunshine" - where the men were instructed to sing, and the ladies instructed to pay in return, with a smooch. Other points of note were the upbeat "Love Comes To Town," and the full band accompaniment for "The Thrill Is Gone."

Currently touring his most recent Geffen Records release One Kind Favor (August 26th 2008), a collection of covers from those responsible for inspiring and molding King into whom he is today. The album's named comes from a line in the opening track titled "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" by Lemon Jefferson in which the artist pleas his last request. B.B. introduced the song for us by telling, that he is giving up on living to go shopping - to pick out his tombstone instead. For obvious reasons his kids have expressed their dislike for the song, but B.B. said, what is, is, no matter how much you dislike it. You aint gonna change what will be, said Mr. King. It was an eerily awkward realization to receive, but one that B.B. delivered in comforting manner, making the evening even more poignant due to his age, and reinforcing that we all, are in fact, in the presence of a legend. Need not worry Mr. King; expect nothing less than immaculate!

Related articles:

Concert review - Chicago, IL - Feb. 2006
B.B. King / Jeff Beck Concert review - Chicago, IL - Aug. 2003
Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Nov. 2001
Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Apr. 2000

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