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Instant Review: Saturday's Long Beach Blues Festival

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Saturday I decided to go for the $130. "Premier Pass" at the Long Beach Blues Festival. It was money well-spent. Not only did it get me into the same area as the $1500 pass package, but I was able to get right up in front of the stage.

They also had free beer, water and sodas. The free food was just OK, but the hot links were pretty good.

I was 2 feet away from Dr John and I even got to touch Buddy Guy.

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I tried to get out of his way, but I think I may have bumped him a few times.

photo essay, concert review, video journalism, and even a stealth food review after the jump

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We arrived about half-way through Taj Mahal. They are such a great festival band.

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For a dollar, these girls will viciously attack you with spray bottles of water. It is totally worth it.

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It was a truly momentous occasion to be able to stand right in front of Dr John while he performed.

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I couldn't resist catching a video of Dr John's Goin' Back to New Orleans

In spite of the mediocre free food, I still had to have my catfish. I was thrilled when I also stumbled upon Stone's booth. They have a little restaurant in an unmarked cinderblock building behind what used to be a radiator shop somewhere off Crenshaw. So it is much easier to chance upon their food at a festival.

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The oxtails are in a rich, dark sauce and falling off the bone. The curry sauce on the goat is better than any curry I have ever had, but their goat tends to be tough. Clockwise from upper left" Oxtails, Curried goat, plantains.

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Buddy Guy was lookin good, and he was sounding like his voice has never aged a single day. Watch the videos to see what he can do to a guitar. The video is shaky because we were all dancing. I was trying to capture the audience of thousands singing "Ride Sally Ride", but it's a little dizzying.

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Then Buddy Guy surprised us by stepping offstage, coming out from the backstage area and wandering through the packed crowd while still singing and playing guitar.

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He sought out children and let them strum his guitar. Most of them were so awestruck they needed a little encouragement.

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The crowd started getting a little intense, and he was ushered backstage again. Not to mention that it was hotter than balls out there.

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Then Buddy Guy started doing musical impersonations on his guitar, imitating the stylings of Jimmy Reed, Eric Clapton during Cream (which was pretty a pretty "flouncy" rendition), and finally Jimi Hendrix:

I'm in love with Buddy Guy now.

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All photos by Elise Thompson