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Joe Bonamassa

Tuesday 9th May 2023

Bournemouth International Centre

The King of the Blues is back in Blighty! Most of the audience for the opening night of Joe Bonamassa’s UK leg of his European tour would have faced torrential downpours en-route to the south coast to watch this supremely talented musician and his amazing band.

All the drama provided by the journey was equally matched by the awe-inspiring power of the two hours of non-stop blitzkrieg provided by this equivalent force of nature. Because of the strength of the set list, which had banger after banger, you almost take it for granted that the fretwork on display is maintained at a virtuoso level of ten throughout.

This might just be one of his strongest band line-ups; the addition of a more youthful rhythm section in the form of drummer Lemar Carter (a real powerhouse) and bassist Calvin Turner (who’s thunderous bass lines must have not only made the collective rib cages of the front rows vibrate, but must have brought back recent memories of the journey to the venue) with the trusty hands of keyboard legend Reese Wynans and the two truly exceptional backing vocalists, the delightful Jade MacRae and Danni DeAndrea, makes for a mighty potent brew.

The backing singers’ ability to harmonise powerfully at the high end of the register adds a dimension to the overall sound that is unequalled. They also provided a high level of visual energy. For long time fans the variety of songs were all familiar, recent pile drivers like ‘Evil Mama’ and ‘Conversation with Alice’ mixed in with old classics like ‘Dust Bowl’, ‘Django’ and ‘Mountain Time’ as well as covers of Otis Rush’s ‘Double Trouble’ (very appropriate for Reese) and Coca Montoya’s ‘I Want To Shout About It’, not forgetting ZZ Top’s ‘I Just Got Paid’.

A brilliant evening. As they say in theatreland, beg, steal or borrow a ticket for this tour while you can. It’s a concert ticket you can take all the way to the bank. If only a ticket for your football team was such good value we’d all be happier people.

Simon Green

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