B.B. King Heckled at Bizarre St. Louis Show

B.B. King performs at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Ebet Roberts

Some St. Louis music fans are singing the blues after an erratic weekend performance by 88-year-old guitar legend B.B. King led to a stream of early departures and audience catcalls.

Concertgoers say King's rambling Friday night set at the Peabody Opera House included only a handful of complete songs amid musical snippets, long-winded soliloquies and a 15-minute sing-along of "You Are My Sunshine" with the house lights inexplicably up.

Daniel Durchholz writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

One is loath to disparage a legend, especially one that is well into his ninth decade. But King is surrounded by a large band and a surfeit of handlers, and they are fair game.

Whoever decided the house lights should be up for almost half the show, distracting King from performing, needs to reconsider, and soon.

And when King was lost for a lyric or simply what to do next, the band seemed more than content to stand respectfully by and watch him (metaphorically) die.

The experience at King's concert highlights an increasingly common occurrence as popular musicians in their 70s and 80s continue taking the stage in front of nostalgic audiences.

A recent St. Louis concert by 87-year-old rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry was also marked by missed chords and forgotten lyrics.

King's agent declined to comment through an assistant. Calls to the venue and promoter were not immediately returned.

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