BANGOR, Maine — The King of the Blues is coming to the Queen City, and he’s bringing a friend along for the performance.
Riley B. King — better known as B.B. (the initials stand for Blues Boy) King — and his famous Gibson guitar Lucille will grace Bangor’s Waterfront Pavilion along with another iconic blues legend, Gregg Allman, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.
While King is touring right now, Allman is not. This is a special pairing of the two musicians.
“Our goal is to make kind of a unique bluesy night that would be kind of eclectic and universally popular,” said Waterfront Concerts promoter Alex Gray. “Either one of these guys by themselves would draw well, but I don’t think they’d draw huge crowds at a 15,000-seat venue. Together we think they will.”
The 85-year-old King has been recording music since the mid-1940s and released more than 50 albums in a career lasting six-plus decades. The multiple Grammy Award winner and member of both the Blues Foundation and Rock and Roll halls of fame has two No. 1 rhythm and blues hits to his credit, with “Three O’Clock Blues” in 1951 and “You Upset Me Baby” in 1952. He also has four No. 2 R&B hits, and a crossover tune titled “The Thrill is Gone” (1970) went to No. 15 on the pop music charts.
King, who once played 342 shows in a one-year period (1956), still averages about 250 performance dates per year.
The pairing is a natural one and should be a big hit with blues aficionados all over Maine and beyond.
“This is two music legends together for one night, and it’s here,” said Gray. “Allman is known universally from The Allman Brothers and his solo career, and King is one of the best blues guitarists, or guitarists in general, to pick up an instrument.”
Allman has seven solo albums to his credit and another 18 with the Allman Brothers Band. Coincidentally, his latest solo production, “Low Country Blues,” released earlier this year, features his cover of “Please Accept My Love,” a B.B. King single, among 11 blues covers and one original he has done on the album.
The two also have much in common, from multiple talents (songwriting, playing, singing, acting), multiple marriages, multiple children, being named among the 100 greatest artists of all time (King solo and Allman with The Allman Brothers Band), and resiliency in health as well as music.
The 63-year-old Allman had a successful liver transplant last June as part of ongoing treatment for hepatitis C and chronic liver damage. He is not only healthy, but healthy enough to go back on tour. King has lived with Type II diabetes for more than 20 years.
Allman is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. He also earned a Grammy for best rock instrumental performance (“Jessica” in 1996).
King, a Mississippi native, received the National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1987 and honorary doctorates from six colleges or universities. Allman, who hails from Florida, has been playing professionally since the early 1960s.
Tickets for the King-Allman show are $61.50, $41.50 and $31.50 (not including service fees) and go on sale at noon Friday. They are available for purchase online at www.waterfrontconcerts.com, by phone at 783-2009, and locally at Mark’s Music in Brewer or The Colisee in Lewiston.
This is the ninth show to be scheduled for this summer’s Waterfront Concerts series.