Dougie Burns saw King of the Blues presented by Main Street Blues at the One Touch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness on September 21.
King of the Blues, a tribute show which explored the best known songs by three icons of the blues, attracted a surprisingly large crowd to the One Touch theatre.
I say surprising, as original blues artists visiting the city have historically struggled to attract large audiences.
Given the audience’s enthusiasm for the blues, that struck me as a strange phenomenon, but perhaps one for discussing another day.
Main Street Blues have expanded their usual bass, drums, keyboards and guitar line-up to include the fantastic talents of Lesley Simpson on trumpet and Kassandra Louisa E Silva on sax.
Both provided backing vocals which really augmented the sound.
This show highlighted three blues kings: BB King, Albert King and Freddie King.
Prior to each number being played, the band shared background stories on the song and performer.
Albert’s Born Under a Bad Sign, Freddie’s instrumental great Hideaway and BB’s classic Never Make Your Move Too Soon warmed up the audience nicely.
Interestingly, guitarist Derek Smith opted to use a Fender Stratocaster instead of a Gibson Flying V for Albert King’s songs, and instead of a Gibson 335 or stereo 355 model guitar used by BB King throughout his career.
A minor point, but one the purists won’t have missed.
My first half highlight was the song made famous by Albert and late by Gary Moore, Oh Pretty Woman.
Post-interval, Smith took up the acoustic guitar for a couple of beautiful songs including Freddie’s version of the Jimmy Rodgers song That’s Alright and BB’s version of the Mel London song Little by Little.
A switch back to the electric guitar and Freddie’s See See Baby, got the dancing started, followed by Albert’s Cadillac Assembly Line.
These featured superb vocals by Lesley and Kasandra and a bit of great bit of Hammond Organ from Iain Hannah.
Another highlight was Albert’s Tin Pam Alley – the band’s own version of this number has amassed more than 600,000 hits on social media which is remarkable.
The show ended with a great version of, Riding with The King, which BB recorded latterly with Eric Clapton.
That got the crowd up dancing once more, before the band received a standing ovation.