Live at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith

19th March 2015


A few numbers into tonight’s show, which kicked off dead on 8 pm, our man confesses that he is suffering from a chest infection but doing his best. Quite frankly it would have been hard to detect this, as Joe Bonamassa sang and played his heart out. No way will this established professional shortchange his audience or perform on automatic pilot.


Supported by a wonderful band who played with great rhythmic attack and enthusiasm, the guitar ace hit peak after peak using his bewildering away of guitars, which included a Strat used for slide but mainly a set of Les Pauls. Whether you like what he does or not, who can doubt that he has got where he is by working hard, finding a great producer and securing musicians of such quality that every show sparkles. Indeed, It was worth a horrible drive up the A3 after work to hear Reese Wynan’s amazing keyboard work – it is easy to see why Stevie Ray Vaughan loved his playing and why Joe does, too. Some lightning exchanges between the two went down very well with the eager crowd..


The set was chosen for the latest studio album ‘Different Shades..’ and many releases from Joe’s history. The new ‘Muddy Wolf’ live album cuts will doubtless be featured in later shows or visits. Joe tends to play songs in different ways and thus it was that the version tonight of ‘Ballad of John Henry’ was markedly different from that played at Shepherds Bush on the infamous London four-date stint, but it was just as intense and atmospheric. ‘Living On The Moon’ was biting ; the take on the Otis Rush gem ’Double Trouble’ follows a crisp ‘Trouble Town’. The blues classic ‘Yonders Wall’ was given a thorough pasting with Rojas’ bass scooting though the tune. ‘Love Ain’t a Love Song’ included stunning guitar work. ‘So, What Would I Do’ had the band roaring and the crowd lapping up the action. The familiar soft intro chords of audience favourite ‘Sloe Gin’ drew gasps of approval, include me in that….


The horn section comprised trumpet, sax and trombone and they rocked out all through the show, taking solo’s as called. Best moment for me was a heavy roll through ‘Don’t Burn Down That Bridge’ with its distinct chordal progression and punchy Tal drumming. Blazing guitar ices the sonic cake…


A brave show, a varied show, a satisfying show right through to the encore of ‘All Aboard’ with Joe and crew playing as though it was the first number of the night


Pete Sargeant


Footnote –


We accompany this piece with images taken by our own Kieran White and a quick thanks to Peter, Steve and Lee