Albert King lost some luster from a strong performance at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano by protesting too much Tuesday night.
The veteran blues guitarist, who opens a four-night stand at Concerts by the Sea tonight, spent the early portions of his two-hour set battling a balky guitar string that refused to stay in tune and eventually broke.
The rough arrangements by his five-piece backing band left the impression that new members were being worked in--a suspicion confirmed when King announced later that the rhythm guitarist and bass player were playing their first gig with him. But King's performance had only suffered slightly from those drawbacks during the first 90 minutes. He was also forced to sit on a stool to rest a bad leg. But if his leg hurt, his voice and fingers were in fine fettle.
The near-capacity crowd was primed to cheer his guitar work and he rose to the occasion with the emotional playing that has influenced rock heroes from Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Ray Vaughan.