Joe Bonamassa Bristol Colston Hall 05-07-16

The hardest working man on the planet returns with the UK being blessed to get it's own Joe Bonamassa tribute with A Salute To The British Blues Explosion with Joe paying homage to the British blues rock guitarists that inspired him – Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

For a shade under 2 hours Joe and his quite incredible band took us on a journey through the songs that inspired a young Joe to take up a career on guitar and what shapes his very soul.

Here is what they played.

1.       Beck's Bolero/Rice Pudding
(Jeff Beck Group cover)

2.       Mainline Florida
(Eric Clapton cover)

3.       Boogie With Stu
(Led Zeppelin cover)

4.       Let Me Love You Baby
(Jeff Beck Group cover)
5.       Plynth
(Jeff Beck Group cover)

6.       Spanish Boots
(Jeff Beck cover)

7.       Double Crossing Time
(John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers cover)

8.       Motherless Children
(Eric Clapton cover)
9.       SWLABR
(Cream cover) (Tea For One (Intro)Led Zep Cover)

10.   I Can't Quit You Baby
(Led Zeppelin cover)

11.   Little Girl
(John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers cover)

12.   Pretending
(Eric Clapton cover)

13.   White Summer/Black Mountain Side
(Led Zeppelin cover)

14.   How Many More Times
(Led Zeppelin cover) (The Hunter(Verse)Free Cover)


Sloe Gin
(Tim Curry cover)

From the opening notes of Beck's Bolero through to How Many More Times (plus a quite stunning Sloe Gin as an encore)this was musicianship from the whole band that defies description.The bit that kept coming into mind was that the band had only 5 days rehearsal.
5 days and they were so tight with smiles from the band the size of the Grand Canyon as they took it up to a stunning rock crescendo but with the capabilities to take it down to a whisper where you could have heard a pin drop as Joe played the most delicate notes ever.

Joe resplendent in a dark navy suit was just incredible.The man talks about his band as the best players on the planet well in my opinion that sums him up to.His fingers never stop moving and having such a great seat to see him at close quarters was wonderful.His every nuance is played out on his body as on one occasion as he appeared to throw away a note the muscles in his face moved with it.Wow.
His and the band's sense of dynamics and melodic intent were world class.

The band are were all faultless.Anton Fig on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass are the rhythm team from the gods.Rock solid and I was concerned for Anton's safety as he was hitting his kit so hard and the riser he was on was shaking under the barrage.
Reece Wynans on Hammond and acoustic piano is a legend for his work with Stevie Ray Vaughn And Double Trouble and is rightly in the Rock N'Roll Hall Of Fame.Again seeing someone so at one with his instrument at such close quarters was a joy with his continual huge smile and the way he looked out to his fellow band mates for a nod or smile shows the bond the guys have.

A welcome addition and adding a different perspective on some of Joe's recent shows was Russ Irwin who played rhythm guitar,back up and on one occasion lead vocals and keys too.A class act with a cv that includes Aerosmith,Sting,Bryan Adams and Cheap Trick.

I will be honest and say most of the music played tonight apart from the obligatory you tube footage that I found of the earlier shows was new to me.Joe doesn't tend to do the most obvious well known songs but songs that mean everything to him and that means deep personal cuts that others would miss.

But it didn't matter as the band took us on a journey through Joe's favourite songs that have been built into his dna and every song was played with a love that only fans of the work can do.All close to the originals but with enough of Joe's own personal touch to make this a one off that everyone present will remember for a very long time.

Beck's Bolero with Joe's stunning slide work started the show and we were captivated.

Mainline Florida had a band work out mid song that showed that they don't need to warm up and with a nod of the head or a hand movement the band all can change direction in a second and Reece played a lengthy swirling Hammond solo that had the hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention.Joe's solo was a picture of effortlessness as his fingers danced and just as you thought he had reached a crescendo it went up another notch.

Boogie With Stu was just brilliant and made me want to get 1700 people stood up as my feet and legs were struggling to stay seated.From Anton's incessant driving drum rhythm and Reece's quite incredible piano work including solo were a life highlight.Add to that Michael's bobbing bass and Joe's boogie riff and solo from the gods.Brilliant.

Let Me Love You Baby was Joe's first song that made him want to play guitar and the stop start riff was just fantastic as he went in and out of the band interplay.His fast fingered solo was jaw dropping and then they took it down to Joe playing some delicate picking on his own as the crowd roared him onto new heights.His vocal on this song also is a reminder how is range and phrasing are top drawer too.

The huge rock riff  of Plynth blended with Reece's Hammond and you can see where Deep Purple took a lot of their style from.As the song morphed into Spanish Boots we were down to the classic power trio of drums,guitar and bass with no loss of power and the rhythm team locked into a monstrous groove.The band interplay on this one song alone was worth the admission money.

Double Crossing Time took it down a notch with Reecd at his mesmerising best and Joe adding plenty of guitar add libs in the verse before another searing solo and not about how fast you play but how you play it.

SWLABR had Joe regaling us how he still doesn't get the lyrics before a song driven by Anton and Joe all over it with guitar melodies in the verse and chorus and a solo that the phrase tour de force was made for.The band and Joe got faster and faster with Joe bathed in sweat and just an incredible moment.

I Can't Quit You Baby gave us a breather and showed how the band are adept at the show dynamics and know when to drop the pace with no loss in the overall show feel.

Pretending had a Reece intro before a mid pacer with Russ's backing vocals coming to the fore and Joe again add libbing in the verse and chorus and just when you think you have seen it all another solo from Joe that sets him apart from the rest.

How Many More Times was a big rock riff finale with Anton's driving beat to the fore before a mid song slow down before it all building back to a balls out rocker with Bad Company's The Hunter dipped into before back to the riff and band work out before Anton hit us with a short sharp solo and with that they were gone.

They returned because as Joe said he couldn't return to Bristol after 7 years with a new set and play nothing from his catalogue as he would not sleep at night.
His take on Sloe Gin is always a show stopper and this was no different as the band and crowd built to an evening climax that had jaws on the floor.

In a recent interview Joe has said that this may be his last project after the recent Muddy Wolf and Three Kings shows well do yourself a favour and get to the following dates before it is too late and prepare to have your breath taken away.


with special guest
Joanne Shaw Taylor
24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444
Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London, SE10
FRIDAY 8th JULY 2016

with special guest
Joanne Shaw Taylor
24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444 
Venue Number: 01636 655765
Newark CastleRiverside ParkTolney LaneNewarkNottinghamshire NG24 1BZ 

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