Tonight was the first night of Joe Bonamassa’s four night run at the Eventim Apollo (or as Joe put it – “it’s the Hammersmith Odeon”). It’s not sold out, but isn’t far off – which is pretty impressive for a Blues artist as not many could sell enough tickets to justify four nights at a venue this size. It’s a venue he’s played several times before, most recently as part of his four nights of special shows in London where he played four venues in four nights.
Since his last visit he’s released a new album (Different shades of blue), and has a new DVD out this week (Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks), so he’s got plenty of new material to share with the fans, and he certainly does that tonight, kicking off with three songs from the new album. That’s followed by a Howlin’ Wolf song (Hidden charms) that appears on the Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks release. In fact tonight sees seven songs from “Different shades of blue” plus two songs from “Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks” – one Howlin’ Wolf song and one Muddy Waters song.
Joe Bonamassa is backed by a very talented band and as always takes time in the show to introduce them all to the audience. As well as a bassist, drummer and keyboard player he also has a percussionist and a three-piece horn section. He’s worked with some of them for years, and their closeness as a band shows through when Bonamassa makes a mistake causing the others to laugh and point at him before allowing him to continue. That one mistake aside, Joe’s performance was as usual absolutely superb – in fact the reaction to his error shows that it’s very rare that he makes them. He’s clearly very passionate about his music and it’s clear when you watch him play.
Part way through the set Joe Bonamassa announced he had a special guest to bring out – someone he’d done a couple of albums and a DVD with – Beth Hart. From the cheers and applause it was obvious this was a very popular choice. They only did one song together sadly – a superb version of “I love you more than you’ll ever know”. Beth’s voice is superb and extremely powerful and when she lets out a loud screaming note I’m not sure she really needed the microphone to make sure everyone heard it. It was noticeable that as with the shows they did together, the spotlight was on Beth Hart and Joe stepped back out of the limelight.
There are some songs that the fans always expect to hear from Joe Bonamassa, so it’s no surprise that at the end of the set “Sloe gin” and “Ballad of John Henry” make an appearance to end the show. Plenty of cheering ensured that the band came back out to do one final song – “All aboard” before the night was sadly over.
Joe Bonamassa does put in a good solid two hour performance which is more than most acts play – most of the bands I’ve seen recently barely manage 90 minutes. Joe still has two more nights on this run – tonight and tomorrow with just a handful of tickets remaining available, so if you want a night of fantastic Blues music then I suggest you get a ticket quick and get to one of these shows – Joe Bonamassa live shows never disappoint. Tickets are available here
Hey baby (New rising sun)
Never give all your heart
Living on the moon
I gave up everything for you, ‘cept the blues
Look over yonders wall
One less cross to bear
Don’t burn down that bridge
I love you more than you’ll ever know
Love ain’t a love song
Ballad of John Henry