I have ahd the pleasure of seeing some of the great blues artists before they passed....Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, BB King.
Unfortunately, Bo Diddley was on my list, but I didn't get to see him before his passing.
Performance wise.....Stevie Ray was the most rivetting performer I ever saw, bar none. It was mesmerizing watching him play...it wasn't so much like watching someone put on a performer, it was more like watching something just ooze out of the man, like it wasn't an act, it was just someting inside coming out.
Johnny Winter was practically a corpse when I saw him...he literally looked like a white walker from Game of Thrones. He could hardly walk, he was stooped over, he looked 120 years old, even though he was only about 60, I think, at the time. They sat him in a chair, and his fingers and hands just began to fly...it was wierd...like watching one of those Disney animatronic machines play....but man, his hands were just flying on that guitar while the rest of his body was motionless.
BB King I saw on his 80th birthday. At that point, he wasn't really playing full songs, his band did most of the work, and he did a lot of chair dancing (he couldn't really stand very well), and chatting with the crowd, telling stories. Musically it wasn't very impressive, but the man still was full of life, and love, and all the charm and charisma he ever had. He made you feel like you were standing in Harvard Square chatting with a broke performer with his guitar case full of coins, and he was just smiling and laughing and singing and chair dancing. It was really kind of a warm, fun evening and you always felt the glow of being in the presence of greatness and a legend.
Never got to see Buddy Guy. Still hoping to, though I'm not sure it's going to happen.
My favorite contemporary blues man is Joe Bonamassa....in my mind the greatest living guitarist on the planet....I would say that he is a better guitar player than Stevie Ray Vaughan, but not quite on Stevie's level of artist, the ability to write great songs. He's good though.
I've seen Joe several times, and I'll be going to see him again. He's bigger in Europe than he is in the US....just like so many other great blues artists.
Incidentally, Joe got his start being the opening act for BB King...I think he was around 15 years old at the time.