In his many decades in the music business, Bo Diddley has learned the fine art of telling people off in an eloquent way. A few songs into his show kicking off the Regattabar Jazz Fest Thursday night, the veteran bluesman waved a photographer away after he got tired of the flash going off in his face. Don't come in my kitchen and eat my chicken without asking me if you can have a piece, he told him. Where's my money for all these pictures you're taking without my permission? he asked.
This prompted some dope in the audience to throw a wad of dollar bills on the floor in front of Bo, who was sitting down to play his trademark rectangular Gretsch guitar. Bo looked at the money and counted: one, two, three dollars. Then he counted his band members -- one, two, three, four, five -- and gave the guy a look. What an insult. And it didn't help that more than half the people there were completely ignoring the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer to chat it up as they swilled their free Grey Goose martinis. It was almost hard to hear Bo talk over the dull roar of the crowd, and he wasn't happy about it.
These jerks, many of whom were there for free, missed a great show. What a treat to see the music legend from 15 feet away, to be able see his huge thumbs on the guitar strings and his big eyes magnified behind his really big glasses. I could even read the set list, because it was printed in 2-inch-high letters. I swear he was singing right to me, and I didn't even care that he was wearing a terrible out man outfit -- white gym shoes, V-neck sweater, and brown slacks -- with his black porkpie hat.
I was all his.
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