We headed out to the B.B. King show tonight at the Mobile Saenger Theater. I had never experienced The King before and the Saenger was the perfect venue for the show. If you have never been to an event at the Saenger, I highly recommend it. It has great old architecture, the sound quality is great, and there are no bad seats in the house.
Back when tickets went on sale months ago, we were poised on the Evil Ticketmaster site clicking refresh repeatedly waiting for tickets to go on sale and trying to get the best seats possible. Even with two of us at work simultaneously trying to get tickets the best we could manage was row N (which is not a bad seat but we were hoping for maybe second row). We wondered how one got those good seats up front and we found out tonight at the show. The new director of the Saenger mentioned that by contributing $100 to their foundation (Centre for the Living Arts you get to purchase tickets one week early. I will be joining their foundation shortly, so let me know if you want me to try and get you tickets for any upcoming shows that have not gone on sale yet.
The opening band for B.B. was the Wes Jeans Band led by Wes Jeans who hails out of Marshall, TX. This 26 year old really wails on the guitar. He put on a great show and really got the crowd good and warmed up. I look foward to catching him solo some time in the future and picking up his latest album. He and his trio of musicians played a great 30 minute set.
Next up was the B.B. King Orchestra to prepare us for the King’s entrance. They are a great band and play super tight. You can tell these guys have been together for a long time and really know each other’s playing styles. They played around 20 minutes to get us ready and once the King came out the real magic began. His performance is a mixture of songs interspersed with stories about growing up in Mississippi and adventures he has had in his life. He played an hour and a half and had the crowd eating out of hand by the end of it. His skill and performance would be impressive for someone in their 30’s but at 81 what B.B. King does is absolutely unbelievable. I pray I still have the dexterity in my hands and a booming voice like his when I reach that age. All in all an amazing show. You must go check him out if you get the chance.
The only downer of the night had to do with some seating issues. For about the first 30 minutes of B.B. King’s performance the entire row in front of us was empty. Unusual since these were $70 seats and it was a sold out show, but nonetheless it was what it was (and it gave us a great unobstructed view from our row). About that time a guy and his girlfriend decide to upgrade their seats to that row. This fella decides that his unoccupied, unpurchased, unassigned seat of choice is the one right in front of me. This would not normally bother me, but this guy had a seriously gargantuan head. As he sat down, stage right disappeared entirely. Now obviously these were not their seats, but since B.B. was off center towards stage left, I figured I would not worry. Then the girl went off to fetch another of their friends (another sign these were not their seats, in addition to her constant nervous looking around).
Well anyone that has shared seats in a venue knows that everyone comes up with a placement of their head and then leaves it there so the person behind them can see in between people’s heads. Well after a while, Mr. Caveman head decided to slowly lean to his left obscuring my view of the King. Now I thought about fetching the usher but at this point I figured we had about 20 minutes left in the show so I would try and be mellow. So to let Mr. Potato Head know what was up, I decided to start lightly kicking his seat. He turned around to ask me to stop (you know, disturbing his enjoyment of his $40 upgraded to $70 seat) so I felt compelled to ask if those were his assigned seats and if he had a ticket that could prove it. He of course claimed they were so I left it at that since he straightened his head and body up restoring my view of the great one and his guitar Lucille.
Now I wouldn’t bring him and this experience up except that after the show was over, as everyone was leaving, he decides to turn around and give me the evil stare down the whole way as he exits. Now I ask what kind of stupid, macho guy attitude makes you stare down the person that decided not to report you to the usher and get you kicked from your usurped seats? He should have been very thankful that I didn’t, and he got to enjoy a great view (while inconveniencing others in the process) but somewhere in his head he felt like he had been wronged by me calling him on it. I’ve seen this before and this is a huge problem with the youth these days not thinking or taking responsibility for their actions. Always someone else picking on them. (Yeah, don’t I sound like the mean old man yelling at the kids in his yard). Oh well next time, I’ll just report them straight away if they annoy me.
This kind of thing happened to Casey and I when we saw Three Doors Down and Lynyrd Skynyrd in Biloxi last year. We had a guy upgrade his seat to right in front of us and he smelled absolutely awful. It was really repulsive and unbearable. I had to tap him on the shoulder and tell him he had to move or I was going to fetch the usher. He persisted in wanting to know why I wouldn’t let him stay and I had to let him know that his B.O. was about to make my girlfriend sick. But instead of getting kicked by the usher he decided to move on his own. Much happier ending than my interaction with this Cro-Magnon loser.