Thursday’s passing storm that caused temporary evacuation of the Meijer Gardens amphitheather didn’t prevent either seasoned artist from regaling fans with career-spanning selections. The review, photos.
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One could say it “Feels Like Rain” but “Blues Don’t Care.”
Those song titles from the extensive catalogs of legendary bluesman Buddy Guy and Heartland rocker John Hiatt would aptly describe Thursday night’s rain-interrupted show at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
In the end, the sold-out show brought enough rock and blues to get people on their feet and keep the impending storm at bay.
Opening act John Hiatt & the Goners wasted no time warming up the crowd for the blues icon.
Hiatt, 69, and his band rocked the little bit of rain away with a hard-hitting set list, including “Your Dad Did,” “The Tiki Bar is Open” and of course, “Feels Like Rain.”
His set consisted of many originals and songs he wrote for other artists including Bonnie Raitt and the night’s headliner.
Even Hiatt’s renowned lead guitarist, Sonny Landreth, took time to do one of his own songs and belt out some Louisiana blues and rock riffs before leaving Hiatt by himself for a tune and the final song and encore.
The rain held off just in time for Hiatt to finish his encore before venue staff instructed concert patrons to evacuate the amphitheater and return to their cars. The passing thunderstorm washed over the parking lot as the stage was changed over, with everyone eventually returning for Guy’s set.
Guy welcomed the crowd back as the rain parted, with the 85-year-old guitarist delivering crowd favorites such as Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Take Me to the River,” “Skin Deep” and “Feels Like Rain” as an attempt to crack jokes at the weather.
The rest of his set saw Guy slap and pound his guitar with rags, drum sticks and more, ripping solos as if he was never not in his prime. Solo after solo and stage antic after stage antic had the crowd cheering, dancing and singing along all night.
At one point, he even broke a string and handed it to one of the few kids in the crowd. This was all before an up-close-and-personal finish, with Guy marching through the crowd playing his ’57 Stratocaster.
All-in-all, the evening brought Louisiana to Michigan and traditional blues to Beer City.
Next Up at Meijer Gardens: America, with opener Rachel Brooke, perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday (July 27). Tickets available here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Buddy Guy, John Hiatt at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Nathan Purchase