Joe Bonamassa: A Salute to the British Blues Explosion Preston Guild Hall July 2nd, 2016

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Special Guest of Joe Bonamassa, The Preston Guild Hall. July 2nd, 2016

She may be quite diminutive in stature, but what Joanne Shaw Taylor lacks in physique she certainly makes up for in musical and vocal strength, tearing The Preston Guild Hall apart with her sultry smooth singing and some of the most dynamic, energetic and expert guitar work around.

There is also the fact that, despite seemingly spending half her life on the road, Shaw Taylor feels completely and totally at ease on stage. 50+ gigs are scheduled this year including opening slots on three of Joe Bonamassa’s penned in outdoor gigs (heavy rain forcing this show into the beautiful venue of The Preston Guild Hall) celebrating the work of Back, Page and Clapton.

Then comes a tour supporting another blues legend, Glenn Hughes, across America before headlining her own UK and European tour to promote the fifth solo album, Wild, from September.

All this, then, might be taken as something of an excuse for a lacklustre performance. Not a bit of it. From the opening bars of Lord Have Mercy and on through a blistering set that last a little over 30 minutes, the West Midlands girl relentlessly powered out her songs like a pneumatic drill on maximum.

Diamonds in the Dirt was quite simply jaw dropping to witness, thanks due to not only Shaw Taylor’s skills but also of those attributable to her backing musicians of Oliver Perry on drums and Luigi Casanova on bass, whose raw, vibrant rhythms pumped and pulsed across everything the trio did.

As a recording artist, Joanne Shaw Taylor is something special. In the live arena, however, take that passion and simple joy she has for playing – a joy, by the way, that’s exemplified by her delightful and continuous smiling – and times it by ten.



Outlaw Angel

Tried, Tested & True

Jump That Train

Diamonds In The Dirt

Watch ’em Burn

The Dirty Truth


The vagaries of the Great British weather may have scuppered this gig from taking place in the stately surroundings of Hoghton (apparently pronounced Hauton) Tower, but we Brits are nothing if not resilient. The show must go on, etc. etc. and, thanks to good folk of The Preston Guild Hall, so Joe Bonamassa: A Salute to the British Blues Explosion took to the stage and subsequently blew the roof off.

If anything what transpired can only be said to have been said to have benefitted from the closely confined space.  A roof and some of the greatest blues music ever written by some of the finest musicians to have ever played all helped considerably as well.

As with the warm up one of event that took place at The Cavern Club in Liverpool earlier in the week, Bonamassa brilliantly displayed just why he is so revered amongst his peers and fans alike. Crashing out jaw droppingly sparkling solos whilst also delivering deliciously intoned vocals of equal quality is no mean feat. To do it night after night takes something else.

Photo by Christie Goodwin

Yet beneath the impressive lighting rig and with the benefit of a larger stage, Bonamassa was given free range to prowl and pose, strut and make his instrument snarl like it had never snarled before.

Cracking proceedings open with Beck’s Bolero before shooting straight into an unforgettable Eric Clapton mainstay in Mainline Florida, the main man was clearly intent on writing a few more rules whilst also refusing to bend to the expected.

It also has to be said that acoustically, The Preston Guild Hall is one hell of a venue. The horseshoe seating arrangement, relatively low roof and packed floor of “standers” prevent the sound escaping into the ether and so gave proceedings at times the feeling  that we were listening through very expensive, very powerful headphones.

The solos were long and fantastic, whereas the backing from Michael Rhodes on bass, Reece Wymans on keys, Russ Irwin on guitars and keyboards and an outstanding, super energised Anton Fig on drums whose mastery of his kit brought to a spellbinding climax the initial proceedings with a dynamic solo in Led Zeppelin’s How Many Times, but possibly also some of the audience as well.

But this was a gig that revolved around Joe Bonamassa and what can already be seen, just four shows in, is that already there has already been an all round tightening of proceedings that has developed still further the confidence, energy levels and out-and-out ballsiness of what’s occurring on stage.

With an epic version of Sloe Gin once more bidding the more than happily satisfied 3,000 audience a fond farewell, this will be yet another evening on which the assembled will say “I was there when Joe Bonamassa played the Preston Guild Hall in 2016,” in the hushed tones of the reverential that ooze with a sense of awe.


Set List

Beck’s Bolero. (Jeff Beck Group cover)

Mainline Florida. (Eric Clapton cover)

Boogie With Stu. (Led Zeppelin cover)

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

Plynth. (Jeff Beck Group cover)

Spanish Boots. (Jeff Beck Group cover)

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

Motherless Children. (Eric Clapton cover)

SWLABR. (Cream cover)

I Can’t Quit You Baby. (Led Zeppelin cover) (Tea For One Intro)

Little Girl. (John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers cover)

Pretending. (Eric Clapton cover)

Black Winter. (Led Zeppelin cover) (Outro includes Django excerpt)

How Many More Times. (Led Zeppelin cover)


  Sloe Gin. (Tim Curry cover)



Joe Bonamassa pays homage to the music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page



24 Hour Ticket Hotline: 0844 844 0444







24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

24 Hour Venue Box Office: 0844 887 1500

Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR


with special guest
Joanne Shaw Taylor


24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London, SE10 9NN 



with special guest
Joanne Shaw Taylor

24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444

Venue Box Office: 01636 655 765

Newark Castle, Riverside Park, Tolney Lane,
Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG24 1BZ

About Chris High

%d bloggers like this: