BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
[UPDATED 3 a.m. May 2, 2017: Sadly, Col. Bruce passed away after being taken to the hospital. Read more here.]
A glorious birthday celebration for Col. Bruce Hampton ended abruptly Monday night when the beloved Atlanta jam band musician collapsed on stage during the encore.
He was taken by ambulance from the Fox Theatre; eyewitnesses backstage reported on Twitter that Hampton regained a pulse before leaving the venue on a stretcher.
Hampton, who turned 70 on April 30 and was holding the “Hampton 70” gathering to celebrate the milestone, opened the sold-out show before 8 p.m. and performed passionately, with eyes closed and knee bouncing.
After a slew of performances from musicians including Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, John Popper, Oliver Wood, Dave Schools, Chuck Leavell and many others, Hampton was reportedly singing part of the encore song, “Turn on Your Lovelight.” After signaling to guitar prodigy Brandon Niederauer to solo, Hampton fell to the stage floor.
(I was there to take photos for the first 90 minutes of the show, but was not on site when this occurred.)
Those who know Hampton’s tendency to joke initially thought he was playing around, but the show ended immediately as emergency vehicles were summoned to the Fox.
We’ll keep you posted with updates on Hampton’s condition.