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Hail to the King on Tuesday at the Saenger Theatre

10:38 AM, Jan. 3, 2013
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Blues legend B.B. King will perform at the Saenger Theatre on Tuesday. / Win McNamee/Getty Images

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I learned a lesson in showmanship the first time I saw B.B. King in concert. On Tuesday, the King of Blues will hold court at the Saegner Theatre, 118 Palafox Place.

On a September night in 2009, I watched King perform for a sold-out crowd at Beau Rivage in Biloxi. Far removed from the churches and clubs where the Mississippi-born musician started, I watched King put on a show.

Every song of the concert told the story of a man whose career spans more than four decades with numerous awards for albums and hits including his signature song “The Thrill is Gone,” which earned King his first of 15 Grammy Awards in 1971.

In a concert by King, every song is a journey into the mind of the master bluesman and storyteller. There also are two sides to every story by the 1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee — the one told by King and the one told by his guitar, Lucille.

King’s dynamic control of storytelling and musicianship has seduced countless listeners, and nowhere is that more evident than when watching him live. Known as a legend among legends for inspiring artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, King is still going strong and entertaining crowds at the age of 87.

What I didn’t know — and what I soon discovered the first time I saw King play — was his ability to connect with the audience like no other artist I’ve ever seen. Engaging, funny and even flirtatious, King’s command of the crowd was on a level equal that matched his music.

As I enjoyed every song and story by King, I realized an important lesson about showmanship. It’s not about all the things you do as a musician or entertainer, it’s about all the things you do to your audience.

Prepare yourself for a very amazing and enjoyable evening in the company of the King.

Tickets range in price from $59.50 to $69.50 plus service charges. For details, visit www.pensacolasaenger.com.

Hard rock at The Handlebar

Fort Walton Beach group the Helvetica Effect headlines a Saturday night of hard rock at The Handlebar, 319 N. Tarragona St. We Were Saints, The Blackout Heist and more also will perform. The show starts at 9 p.m. For details, visit www.pensacolahandlebar.com.

Jared Ashley at Live

Also on Saturday, Nashville artist Jared Ashley plays Live Niteclub, 9121 Pensacola Blvd. You might recognize Ashley as a finalist in Season 4 of the USA Network TV series, “Nashville Star.”

Ashley’s music odyssey began when he received his first guitar at the age of 5 as a gift from his father.

After serving four years in the Navy and traveling the world Ashley decided to pursue his dream and moved to Nashville.

Tickets are $5 for this 18-and-older show. For details, visit www.liveniteclub.com.

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