Published by Jeff Becker on 4/5/2016
When the only complaint is the price of the tour poster (unsigned for $30), all is good here in Purpleville. Admittedly being more of a pop/rock fan than a blues guy, Gary Clark Jr. has bubbled near the top of my bucket list the last 3-4 years. He’s the F5 tornado I’ve always wanted to see.
The man is blazing. Mixing a wonderful falsetto and immaculate dominance over the guitar he’s on the verge of being ‘that guy’ that three decades from from now you tell all your friends that “I saw him when he was 32 at First Avenue”.
I’ve also never seen this 1500-max venue so (overly) packed. Actually it was packed 90 minutes before the main man went onstage. That’s unheard of here. Perhaps not since they filmed Purple Rain has this placed been on the spotlight of someone so young and accomplished. Or back to the days U2 and R.E.M. played here in 1981 – yes, back when they were merely indie rock wet dreams in front of crowds you could count by the dozen. So those were those days. And this was happening tonight with GCJ.
There’s little doubt left that Gary Clark Jr. is a once in a generation talent that combines everything; prodigy like talent, coolness, the voice, the swagger. He’s utterly brilliant and stunning – yet soft-spoken all at the same time. He’s the complete package and proving that for $32 (the price of a date night meal for two) you get the best value per dollar than anyone on the planet for a night.
I met someone recently who told me they saw the Eagles play a tiny venue a mere mile from my house (which is nowhere on the map), back in 1971 before the Eagles were THE EAGLES. In lieu of Glenn Frey’s recent passing I found that amazingly special to hear about. Well, now I can say I saw Gary Clark Jr. in 2016. And so have 1000’s of others the past few years, but we’re all a little bit cooler after seeing him.