Review : Joe Bonamassa – Birkenhead – 03 Oct

Posted on: Sunday, Oct 8, 2006

Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead: 03/10

The fast-rising American guitarist, Joe Bonamassa, from Utica, New York, stopped off at Pacific Road near the end of his UK tour in support of his new “You & Me” album, his sixth release.

An almost-full crowd of around 500 were treated to a high-tempo set of blues and rock – with Bonamassa dipping into most of his recorded work, and showing off his impressive guitar playing – both electric and acoustic.

The show kicked off with the rocking “Takin’ The Hit”, followed by the Free song “Walk In My Shadow”, and Otis Rush’s classic “So Many Roads”, with some fiery blues soloing – with the songs often stretched out to lengthy proportions.

The Jethro Tull song, “A New Day Yesterday”, also the title track of his first release, was a stand-out on the night, with a dip into Howling Wolf’s “Spoonful” thrown in for good measure. Possibly the best part of the night was the acoustic segment which featured “Miss You, Hate You” and some virtuoso playing on his tribute to Django Reinhardt.

The Blind Faith cover, “Had To Cry Today”, written by Steve Winwood, saw more blistering guitar – lapped up by his hard-core followers in the crowd. It has to be said that he does not possess the greatest voice in the world, but his guitar playing more than compensates for that.

Bonamassa’s impressive rhythm section of Mark Epstein (bass) and Bogie Bowles (drums) kept it nice and solid and uncomplicated, giving the main-man great support, displaying a tightness that has come from long spells on the road.

At the tender age of 29 Joe Bonamassa looks set to take his place among the current guitar-heroes – with his broad mix of classic blues and rock now getting wide acclaim both at home and here in Europe – catch him in small venues while you can!


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