"You are hot tonight, young man": when Gary Moore (and Greeny) played The Thrill Is Gone with B.B. King

B.B. King (left) and Gary Moore
(Image credit: CBS Photo Archive / Stuart Mostyn / Getty)

Just over 30 years ago, in November 1992, Gary Moore stepped onstage at London's Town And Country Club to play a show that would later be immortalized on his album, Live Blues. The high point of the night was two songs with guest of honor (and then some): B.B. King.

The collaboration yielded what must rank as one of the greatest call and response sequences ever committed to tape, but to fully understand its power onstage, it's useful to look at the context offstage.

By the early '90s, Moore was thoroughly at home in the blues stage of his career – a move that had been signposted on his breakaway 1979 hit, Parisienne Walkways, and then finally embraced on his hugely successful 1990 LP, Still Got The Blues.

Following the album’s Platinum success, however, Moore had the creative (and commercial) license to embed himself fully in the music he loved most – and the confidence followed.

Many players would quake in the presence of King, but in the Live Blues footage, Moore is in his element, rampaging across the stage and locking eyes with the blues master with a grin on his face.

What’s more, he yields Greeny – the legendary Les Paul he inherited from Peter Green, notable for the reverse position of its neck humbucker – with a lightness of touch that puts him right at home next to King's instinctive, unconscious fretting.

At around 4:10, the two players begin to exchange ideas and stretch each other out, and it all builds over four minutes of unmissable playing into an astonishing call and response sequence. King's expressions say it all.

B.B. King reacts to Gary Moore's playing on The Thrill Is Gone

Call and response: B.B. King reacts to Gary Moore's playing on The Thrill Is Gone (Image credit: UMG/ BMI / YouTube)

Some years down the line, Moore would tell the UK’s Planet Rock radio (via Far Out) that King's The Thrill Is Gone was one of his favorite tracks.

“I love sad love songs that are played in that kind of blues mode,” said Moore. “I've always liked it, going back to Peter Green and people like that. That minor-key thing to me in the blues and the guitar, they just go together so well, and he is a master of it.”

Of course, Moore himself has proven hugely influential on the likes of Kirk Hammett, Joe Bonamassa, and many other leading players, but given his shot to perform alongside his own hero, it’s fair to say Moore did one of his favorite songs justice. 

If this has left you inspired, why not take a look at this lesson on Moore’s signature guitar style? Or, you could go direct to the master himself and learn how to play like B.B. King.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.