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Bobby Rush
What A Guy!
By Gloria Pierce

Bobby Rush - August 8, 1997
Bayfront Blues Festival
Photo © 1997 by Tom Asp
All rights reserved
I first met Bobby Rush at the Poconos Blues Festival in late July 1997. It was shortly after hearing about Luther Allison's fatal Cancer diagnosis. Bobby dedicated so many songs to Luther that it touched my heart. I had been numb, tears flowing, I knew we were losing Luther. I knew that I would never see him alive and performing again. But Bobby's energy transcended us with his performance - his sexy show - his incredible art of being the ultimate entertainer. He recaptured my attention - nerves running through my veins felt alive again.

And now Bobby came to South Florida from a bond of friendship created from that heartfelt energy through Luther to both of us. Bobby had never played in this part of the country. I found a club who wanted to take the plunge and go into national booking. We made Bobby Rush the first major show. But on the morning of the show, Bobby called me to say the bus had broken down the night before and although repaired, they had had no sleep and were still about 1000 miles away.

Here in South Florida, panic hit! We had done heavy promotion, networking in every way we could to turn people on to what we knew was an incredible show. Bobby believing in his commitment to come here and do this gig, even with a deal less than wonderful, found a way to get here. He flew himself and most of his band and dancers from Tallahassee to Miami. We picked them up and rushed him to the club just in time. It was a full house and everyone was psyched and ready for the show. And what a show it was - followed by yet another spectacular show. In the meantime, his bus continued on its way to Miami and arrived after 3:00 a.m. in time to pick them up and take them back to Tallahassee for a show that next afternoon. Total professional troupers - they wanted to perform and they gave it their all. The band, the girls, and Bobby played with that same energy and dedication and tribute, except this time it was for Junior Wells.

At the end of the evening in the early morning hours, we were all saturated in jubilation, excitement and planning how soon we could get him back here. The club owner, a saxophone player who had been on the road before, was ready to dump the club and join Bobby's band.

It had been quite awhile since I have seen such a performance and such an entertainer who gets the audience right into the show. He gets them involved with his stories, with his sexual comedy, his gyrating hot, soulful and outrageous show. With a bit of nerve, some of the audience joins in, on the stage and on the dance floor with Bobby. He brings you back to the core, back to your basic feelings, your emotions, your loves and you fall into his rapture. It was time to jump up and down and I'll be counting the weeks, days and minutes until he's here again. With so much sadness in our little world of Blues - Bobby is just the antidote we need!

Gloria Pierce
January 22, 1998
Miami, Florida

This review is copyright © 1998 by Gloria Pierce, all rights reserved.

Bobby Rush Review & Pictures from Bayfront Blues Festival 1997

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Copyright © 1998 Ray M. Stiles
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