B.B. King, honored for keeping the blues alive in radio, capped a night of electrifying music with " The Thrill is Gone" during the Ninth Annual Blues Awards.

King, sporting his familiar guitar, Lucille, was scheduled to emcee Sunday's award show at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., but a late flight delayed his arrival and made him the closing act."All of my life living here in Memphis I've never seen so many talented people in one place at one time," King said.

Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets with Sam Myers were the big winners, grabbing honors as Blues Band of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album of the Year for "Sins" and Song of the Year for "Changing Neighborhoods." Myers was chosen as Instrumentalist of the Year.

All performers received a Handy Award, a golden statuette in the likeness of W.C. Handy, father of the blues.