The Thrill Isn’t Gone—-Life on the Road

16This weekend Chris and I had the joy of seeing B. B. King in concert at The Surf Ballroom for the second time.  The first time was in 2007 soon after we moved to Iowa.   It was our first experience at The Surf and we took our youngest son, Aaron, because he loves all kinds of music like we do.  It was a great evening—we were on the floor up fairly close and B. B . gave a great show.

When I found out he was returning to The Surf I snagged tickets and a booth as soon as I could so that we could have a chance to hear this legend once again.  We invited a couple of friends and their son to join us in our booth not really realizing that the booths are so so so tiny!  (Even though The Surf quite explicitly states that these booths were originally designed for brief breaks from dancing). It worked but I don’t think any of our bodies are probably without memories of last night’s squeezing into a too small booth.

The night started with Sena Ehrhardt who is a Minneapolis based blues singer who is being touted as a fresh and dynamic singer in the industry.  She sang and got the crowd warmed up for the arrival of B .B.  and his band.   From our seating in the back it was difficult at times to understand her words but she was enthusiastic and put on a good show.



Then came B. B .King –the star of the night. How this 88 year man can still be on tour for as many days as he is amazes me .   He is surrounded by a lot of “handlers” who make sure he gets on stage , seated, has Lucille his guitar, picks, and everything else he needs while he is performing.  When we saw him in 2007 he was a bit more energetic but hey—–I am thrilled that he is still doing what he loves the most.

I didn’t get great pictures just because I wasn’t into getting into the crowd that night to capture him but from the looks of it if you were at the front of the crowd he interacted a lot with those folks during the entire time he was on stage–even throwing out guitar picks and other things to the crowd as the concert ended.






It was a great evening—-although he is not quite as dynamic as he was in his younger years he is still amazing and to have been able to see him twice in my lifetime is more than I could have asked for.  I did have a few valuable take aways from the night:

  1. Booths built in the 1940’s for 4 people more accurately fit 2 people from 2013.
  2. Concerts are great places to get fashion ideas.  Most of them are fashion don’ts.
  3. People who look as if they don’t have the money to feed themselves love BB King enough to figure out what they can do without to pay for the ticket price in order to see this master of blues.
  4. Concert venues often stretch my view of the world and expose me to a sea of humanity that I don’t see on a daily basis.
  5. That booth that was the closest to the booth bar that looked so good in the diagram—-not always the best place.

We had a great time, enjoyed getting to know some friends better and enjoyed some history being made.  Can’t get much better than that.  If you would like to see a 5 minute interview with BB King that aired on CBS Saturday Morning earlier this year feel free to click on the video below.


  1. Walter and Mitchell saw him last year in Jacksonville. Sounds like a memorable evening!

  2. Hilary - Dangled Carat says:

    sounds like a great, fun night – love the list!

  3. Just the nostalgia of this place would be enough to draw me. I’ll admit to knowing very little about music except those 70s bands/singers I loved, and still do.

    All in all, it sounds like you sardines enjoyed the evening.

    • Yes, we are still recovering from the confines. 🙂 I really need to go to The Surf during the day and do the whole tourist thing. It is a fabulous place and so full of things to photograph! Another day…..

  4. I love concerts and my favorite type of venue is by far the outdoor amphitheater. A stage, a big rolling lawn and lots of fresh air — so so fun. But to be able to see a legend I would have squeezed in a booth too.

  5. I saw him almost 20 years ago – my hometown has an annual blues festival and he came one year. Then I saw him again in a blues club in Detroit. amazing, amazing. just incredible talent and so happy to see that he is still up there doing his thing.

    • It is incredible to think that he travels and is on the road as much as he still is at 88! I am in awe. I will be lucky to be half as with it at that age let alone be touring.

  6. Have you been to a Lady Gaga concert? A lot of fashion don’ts there! I would love to see B B–and 88. That’s impressive. I love passionate people and I’d say he has a zest for life and music.

  7. I’m amazed that some of these guys are still touring and playing. The Rolling Stones are a (past their) prime example.

  8. Sounds like togetherness in that booth! Thanks for sharing your experience. I like your comment re fashion ideas–don’t. LOL

  9. Sounds like a fun time. You were lucky to be able to see a legend like BB King, twice!

  10. How FUN. Concert apparel doesn’t seem like it has improved over the years. A lot like amusement park apparel. Not completely off the subject I read many people would not recognize themselves on the street because they think they look much better than they do…which helped me understand why so many people wear ghastly clothing or do really awful stuff to their appearance. When Cole was in Circus club we were asked not to video tape for the same reason—the kids thought they were wonderful and truly circus performers until they faced the reality of seeing themselves on camera. One would think over time you would outgrow this denial, guess not.
    I admire your get up and go and the effort you put into finding fun and interesting things to do!

  11. So glad you enjoyed the evening with music and friends.

  12. So glad you were fortunante enough to get tickets – love the music.

  13. What a lucky duck!

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