Monday 27th June
The Cavern Club, Liverpool
I think most JB fans will remember their first “encounter” with THE man and the WRC certainly do! Cast your mind back to February 2008 at the Shepherds Bush Empire – we were only there because someone suggested this guy we had never heard of was as good if not better than Gary Moore!! – How dare they; we were there to disprove that possibility but we failed miserably and the rest is history!
Just over 8 years on and we were back to watch the man in an even smaller, but iconic venue, the Cavern Club. The difference being that since then JB’s stock has risen beyond belief and just about anyone worth their salt has shared the stage with him – yes there have being bumps along that road with quibbles about ticket pricing and I confess to wondering where he was going musically a couple of years back, but this was the night we could once again get up close and personal as JB played tribute to the British guitarists who were and still are his influences namely Beck, Clapton and Page!
It may have been hot and sweaty in the Cavern and the sound may have started out a bit on the dodgy side but no-one cared – from the moment JB hit the stage 350 people were in for two hours of classic “Brit” guitar!! with a tight quality band which for this tour consists of of Anton Fig (drums) and Mike Rhodes (bass), Russ Irwin (guitar and JB’s neighbour) and ex Stevie Ray Vaughan band keysman Reese Wynans, How a newly put together band can be as tight as these guys so quickly is beyond me but tight they are.
It was almost irrelevant what material JB chose to play, because the jaws of the punters, most of whom had seen him many times, continued to drop in awe. For the record the set opened with Beck's 'Bolero/Rice Pudding' followed by Clapton’s 'Mainline Florida' and Zeps 'Boogie with Stu' – all three greats covered in the first three songs – nice!! That effectively set the tone as it should – the set did what it said on the tin and the crowd loved it. Highlights for me were 'Spanish Boots' – 'SWALBR' (where JB introduced us to a little beauty of a guitar) – 'Tea for One' which JB covered on his 'You and Me' album and is one I wish he would play on his “normal” tours (any chance JB?) – 'Pretending' and 'Blues of Desperation'. Of course the night wouldn’t be complete without a tribute to the Beatles and 'Taxman' duly achieved that.
So ended a gig that I can honestly say I was privileged to attend – at my age there are many tales of iconic gigs that I have attended over the years and this one is right up there with them and the night will be retold many times over the years to come.
This is what Joe Bonamassa is all about – no frills and in your face – pure genius - long may he reign!!