Blues legend Buddy Guy wraps up Canal Shores concert series

Blues legend Buddy Guy headlined with vocalist and guitarist Todd Mohr (of Big Head Todd and the Monsters) which opened on Sunday August 7, the final day of the fifth season of the Out of Space at Canal Shores Golf Course.

Combined, big-name headliners such as Guy, Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello drew around 14,000 people to the four-day event, said Courtney Stevens, who worked at the box office. “We had about 4,500 people on Friday and Saturday nights, and Thursday nights about 2,500,” Stevens said. “Tonight we were around 2,500.”

Left to right, The Killheffers, The Williams, The Sorensens and The Negans enjoy the wait for the doors to open for the Out of Space concert on Sunday.
Credit: Heidi Randhava

For some in the Sunday crowd, it was a night out as well as the event that brought them. “I’ve been here a long time and I’ve been to a lot of these shows. I had tickets for all four nights,” Lee Negan said, as he waited for the doors to open at 5 p.m.

Vicki Carly said she and her husband have been attending the concerts “from the beginning. We like to be outdoors and it’s close to home. The music is good and the food is good.

The concerts, she says, were memorable. “One of the first performers we came to see was Mavis Staples. Fabulous.”

Bob Sorensen, a resident of Evanston for 35 years, wanted to enjoy an evening with friends. He said, “This is my third time at an Out of Space concert and the first this year.”

Buddy Guy, the legend

But for others, it was the Grammy-winning man himself – George Guy, better known as Buddy – who brought them to the park. The singer and guitarist is not only a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, but also a multiple Grammy Award winner and recipient of the Presidential National Medal of the Arts.

Guy’s guitar playing has influenced generations of artists including Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Mayer. On Sunday, Guy was accompanied on stage by bluesman Bobby Rush.

Headliner Buddy Guy performs at Canal Shores Golf Course. Credit: Heidi Randhava

“We wanted to come for Buddy Guy. I’ve been a fan for a long time,” said Judy Killheffer, a fourth-generation Evanstonian.

Killheffer was there with her husband as well as her brother and sister-in-law, Terri Williams, who traveled more than 70 miles from Harvard, Illinois. “When I found out about the gig, I said, ‘We’re going! ‘” And she said, she called the Killheffers.

Bill Sieck and his wife attended Out of Space for the first time. Credit: Heidi Randhava

Out of Space debutant Bill Sieck said, “It’s a great place and the weather is good.” But he came for the blues saying, “[It’s] It’s not the first time I’ve seen Buddy Guy, but I’m here for him.

Still others had a different reason for being in this beautiful place. Evanston resident Bill Traynor has been to Out of Space before. “Two nights ago, I [went] see Elvis Costello,” he said, but added, “I love Buddy Guy – I’ve seen him three or four times. But Todd Park Mohr is the one we came to see.

The organizers of Out of Space – the same people who run the SPACE music venue at 1245 Chicago Ave. – will schedule another four-day outdoor event September 1-4 in the parking lot of the Temperance Beer Co., 2000 Dempster Street, featuring indie, hip-hop, American and world music.

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