by Marty Weil @ChiBluesHistory

British blues fan, Alan Harper, wrote “Searching for Buddy Guy,” a memoir in which the author haunts Chicago blues clubs in the early 1980s hoping to have a moment with Buddy Guy. This year those searching for Buddy Guy won’t find him at his Chicago nightclub, Legends, during his annual January homestand due to the ongoing Covid crisis. Known as “The Buddy Shows,” Guy normally performs a dozen or more shows on four consecutive weekends at his club. In 2020, weeks before the Covid-induced lockdowns went into effect, Guy had a full schedule of 16 shows.

I was lucky to attend one of The Buddy Guy shows during his annual homestand in the 1990s when Legends was located at 754 S. Wabash. (The club moved to its current location at 700 S. Wabash in 2010). The night I attended Buddy’s residency at Legends, I caught a glimpse of him in the kitchen. He was making something on the flat top grill. After waiting long enough to read “Searching for Buddy Guy” (twice), Buddy took the stage. He said he was suffering from the flu. He seemed desperately ill, but the show went on. I’d seen Buddy perform while under-the-weather once before with similar lackluster results. Still, the out-of-town patrons that night seemed pleased enough with the performance. When it ended, the crowd mobbed the stage for Buddy to sign something, anything, that could absorb Sharpie ink.

As Guy told Rolling Stone magazine in June of 2020, the Covid-imposed suspension of live touring is one of his longest breaks from the concert stage. Currently, Guy plans to resume touring in March, assuming those shows aren’t scuttled over continued concerns about the spread of the virus. As for Buddy Guy’s residency at Legends, we’re going to have to patiently wait for 2022 when Buddy will be 85-years-old.

Photo: Buddy Guy at Legends

Marty Weil is the editor of @CHIBLUESHISTORY on Twitter. Marty is a blues researcher, educator, and social media influencer.

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