I photographed BB King a couple of weeks ago in Baltimore. At the end of the shooting, he called me over, and as I kneeled next to his chair, he said, “That was the most enjoyable photo shoot I have ever done.” He then said, “When you go home kiss Jackson for me.”
I had talked about my boys alot during the shooting, and told BB that he could kiss Jackson (my 5 year old) himself when he played Red Rocks in two weeks.
This past week, Stephie and I took Jackson and his grandmother Janet to Red Rocks. First up was a visit in the fancy touring bus. Jackson went right back to BB holding court in the back and gave him five. “BB”, Jackson asked. “Call him Mr. King” Stephie corrected. “We are musicians” BB said, “there are no formalities.” Then Jackson stood right in front of BB and said, “KING! I have some jokes for you.” Jackson then told the one about what do you call a woman in the middle of a tennis court? Annette! A couple of knock knock jokes. We were all hysterical. When I tried to politely slip out, BB asked us to stay longer. He then whispered to me, “Do you see the way Jackson is standing there, poised and talking to me directly? My mother died when I was 9 ½ and I never learned that.”
We then headed over to the stage. This was Jackson’s first real concert. We walked up the ramps through the great backstage at Red Rocks where everyone from the Beatles to Sinatra to our friend Mac Miller walked the halls. Got into our seats up front. I had a pass to shoot after they cleared the other photographers out, and thought Jackson might like being so close, so he joined me. BB’s second song, “You Are My Sunshine” seemed like a very strange choice, but was so much fun since Jackson knew the lyrics. On “The Thrill is Gone”, BB spotted Jackson in the audience. From the stage he said, “There is my friend Jackson, we hung together before the show.” He then reached in his pocket and tossed a pendant from the stage through the air, which Jackson caught (thanks to alot of Little League practice this summer).
Later, after the set, Jackson was showing his pendant to everyone and said, “I will never forget this night.” If I was ever nervous for him starting kindergarten, it was all gone. He will be fine.