There’s a Classic Rock radio station in Buffalo with the call letters WGRQ – 97 Rock! It seemed like Tommy Z and the Hurricanes were the band to see since 97 Rock constantly promoted their shows. It was the early 90’s after I had graduated from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and I was in the process of finding a career. My first real job was as a Media Specialist for the Seneca Nation and from there I became part of the Master Control team for Empire Sports. And once Empire Sports closed their doors, I started working for the Seneca Niagara Casino.
One of the first shows I worked at the casino was doing spotlight for Buddy Guy! As we all congregated for load in, I was introduced to Tommy Z! I heard the name for the past 10 – 15 years being advertised on the radio, but I honestly didnt think it was the same, since I had never had the opportunity to actually see him play! As I shook his hand I asked, “Tommy Z? As in Tommy Z and the Hurricanes?” He let out a chuckle and confirmed that he was indeed Tommy Z from Tommy Z and the Hurricanes. We became instant friends and are still to this day!
During that time, we did a lot of catering upstairs for our Bear’s Den Showroom performances and as Tommy and I walked out of the lighting booth area, he and I ran into Buddy. We said hello and being the cordial gentleman Buddy is, he took the time to talk with us and also took a couple “selfiies”!
A couple years later, once I became the Entertainment Manager, we hosted Buddy for the much larger Event Center which holds about 2,200 patrons. As I walked into the Green Room to ask if Buddy needed anything, he looked at me, put on the big ole grin of his and said, “now there’s a friendly familiar face”! It was an honor to be recognized, even if he didnt!
This past week marks the 7th time Ive seen Buddy play! The first time was at Melody Fair in the mid-90’s when he actually still had hair! I believe he was supporting his “Damn Right, I Got The Blues!” CD and opened for B. B. King! Ironically, before this past week, the last time I had seen Buddy was the night they closed down B. B. Kings Blues Bar and Grill in NYC!
Colin James opened for Buddy at The NYCB Theater in Westbury. I had first heard Colin James from the Woody Harrelson bowling movie, Kingpin soundtrack. During that time, Napster was the big thing so I was able to stream a few songs from Colin and became quite a fan of his music and was able to catch him live at the Tralf in Buffalo shortly after that!
Together, it was a great night of Rock & Blues! Colin and his band played for 45 minutes and got a great reception from the somewhat sparse crowd. Starting his set with “Boogie Funk” he continued warming up the crowd with “Cant You See What You’re Doing To Me?”, “Why’d You Lie”, “Open Road” and a few others from his latest release of the same name.
Buddy started his night like only Buddy can! Hitting his first notes from behind stage and strutting to his microphone to the now warmed up, explosive audience It always amazes me by the reaction he creates as he stands there, not even playing, looking out into the crowd; the people go crazy! And he just eats it up!
After a full 90+ minute plus set, including “Damn Right, I Got The Blues”, “Skin Deep”, “Feels Like Rain” and a Jimi Hedrix medley he brought out Colin James for a blistering encore!!
Here are a few choice shots for Colin and Buddy! Check out www.robarmstrongphotos.com for full galleries.
Thanks to Nicole Schapowal for the opportunity to cover the show!