This year marks five years since B.B. King’s death, but the thrill of King’s music will live on during two ambitious nights: February 16th and 17th, 2020, at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York.
The Thrill Is Gone: A Tribute to B.B. King will be an an all-star concert featuring Anthony Hamilton, Bob Margolin, Bobby Rush, Buddy Guy, David Hidalgo, Derek Trucks, Ivan Neville, Jamey Johnson, Jimmie Vaughan, John Scofield, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Little Steven, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph, Shemekia Copeland, Southside Johnny, Steve Cropper, Susan Tedeschi, Tony TC Coleman, Warren Haynes and William Bell. Drummer-producer Steve Jordan will serve as the musical director.
“When B.B. King played, it was just the cold hard truth,” Derek Trucks told Rolling Stone in a 2015 tribute. “Like hearing Martin Luther King speak. You just needed one word, one note with B.B. No one has that.”
Tickets for the two-night event go on sale Friday. Daily lineups will be announced on Tuesday, January 28. A very limited number of single-day tickets will go on sale Friday, January 31, at noon EST. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Seva Foundation, a charity focused on preventing blindness that was co-founded by Wavy Gravy (according to Gravy’s website, King actually gave Wavy Gravy his moniker at the Texas International Pop Festival in 1969).
The King tribute event is executive produced by Keith Wortman of Blackbird Presents, a concert and film production company that has previously staged events honoring Gregg Allman, Johnny Cash, the Band and more. Wortman is staging the event in partnership with the B.B. King Estate and Peter Shapiro, owner of the Capitol Theater. Scooter Weintraub will also executive produce with Tony TC Coleman, long-time drummer for B.B. King.
“I have been blessed,” King told Rolling Stone‘s Brian Hiatt back in 2008. “People have been good to me. It’s like somebody sees you playing some kind of sports and how they usually do the coach at the end — they pick him up and set him up. That’s the way I feel today at my age now. I feel like all of the people that have worked with me, they grab me and put me up on their shoulders. I become very emotional sometimes. You feel like you want to cry because to be treated that nicely, what can you say but thank God. Thanks to the people that do it.”