Joe Bonamassa is a well-known visitor to these shores whether it is as a solo artist, part of Black Country Communion or in his collaborations with Beth Hart – it isn’t unreasonable to say that he is one of the busiest artists around and still one of the most productive.

So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to hear him play 4 new songs, one after the other, at the START of his mammoth 2 hours + set. It also was not a surprise to hear the new songs sounding comfortably recognizable but as fresh as can be. Bonamassa is always a combination of the familiar and the palpably new.

I particularly enjoyed ‘Just Cause You Can’ with it’s soulful touches and a great solo from the man.

This is the third time I have seen him with the full seven piece backing band including horns and backing vocalists and he is growing into the new format – there is less of the straight Blues/Rock and more of the soul and almost gospel touch to the music live and it all adds to the Bonamassa experience. Reese Wynans keyboards add so real breadth to his sound and the engine room of Anton Figs on drums and Michael Rhodes bass give him a rock solid platform but are also capable of following his every move – no easy feat but it allows Bonamassa the space to be constantly creating.

After the initial numbers he settled down into more familiar territory with the band playing up a storm and the numbers rocking out one after another. A superb version of ‘Slow Train’ was a particular favourite and the crowd was on their feet for ‘Driving Towards The Daylight’ and a fabulous rendering of ‘Last Kiss’

Bernie Marsden came out to join him on ‘No Good Place For The Lonely’ and their guitar duel was delightful to watch but this was all about Joe Bonamassa and he proved through a breath-taking 2 hours and 15 minutes that there is no-one on the planet who plays with more understanding of the history of his music or more care for its future.

As with every gig I have seen him perform he shows that he loves the music and is as invested in it as his audience is. A brilliant night.

Joe Bonamassa plays the Hampton Court Palace Festival in the UK on Tuesday June 12th. Book Tickets – https://hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com/artists. His new live album “British Blues Explosion” is released on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and triple vinyl. Pre-order: http://smarturl.it/JB-BBE-store


Picture by Robert Sutton

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