Joe Bonamassa

British Blues Explosion Live

(Provogue/Mascot Label Group)

So it’s a balmy Summer evening out at Greenwich, with Joe bringing a quality band onstage to play a set that took in the various works of and numbers made famous by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. It’s probably fair to say that each of these guitar stylists has been a major influence on Bonamassa and of course Joe had kitted himself out with the requisite axes, all vintage and swapped over at speed by his well-drilled techs. That evening, director Kevin Shirley was charging around getting the whole shebang recorded.

The actual material ranges from the very obvious to the perhaps less-performed but makes for a satisfying mix, overall. The group includes cool bassist Michael Rhodes ( first noticed by this writer on a Jill Sobule album), drummer Anton Fig the Letterman band stalwart, the fabulous Double Trouble keys wizard Reese Wynans and Russ Irwin on guitars. There are – of course – a lot of opportunities for Joe to play out, the numbers are not heavily re-arranged from the original recorded versions so the group gets under way and pretty much then pays homage to the inspiring artists. One thing about the original acts when you saw them perform back in the day was the sparking interplay – especially Cream, The Jeff Beck Group and Led Zeppelin. Even more so with contemporaries Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack where in addition to the musical skills a great sense of fun could be enjoyed.

Stan Webb could do accurate impressions of everyone under the sun from stuffy BBC announcers to Steptoes Snr and Junior ! And never at the expense of the show. This element does not come to the fore in this more business-like performance but the execution of the songs by this aggregation is of high quality.

Beck’s Bolero blends into Rice Pudding, Mainline Florida is given a linear flow that probably shows Joe at his most effective. Boogie With Stu is from LZ of course whilst the grinding riff of Let Me Love You Baby evokes that epochal Truth album from Jeff Beck. The later Plynth brings the Beck-Ola album to mind, along with Spanish Boots.

Double Crossing Time may be an obvious choice from Mayall days but is played with real fire and SWLABR is the snappy Cream song from Disraeli Gears. Frank Zappa called Cream a ‘natty little combo’.Back to Zep inclusions, Tea For One rolls into I Can’t Quit You, the classic blues. Little Girl, close cousin of Wolf’s Forty Four is a tune that Joe and I have talked about and no surprise that it’s here. The ascending chordal steps on the solo are hard to resist and it sounds terrific, dynamic. Pretending follows, then the group tackles an absorbing Black Winter / Django. To wrap up, How Many More Times takes the old Wolf riff for a walk, insistent and ominous.

A fan-pleasing performance, captured for the duration.

Pete Sargeant


Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa

(All photos credited to Christie Goodwin)

You can watch the video for "SWLABR" from the live release in this article. 

You can read our full live review of Joe Bonamassa's British Blues Explosion at Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom with a photo gallery by John Bull/Rockrpix here:

Joe Bonamassa's 'British Blues Explosion Live' is released on Friday 18th May 2018 on CD/DVD, Blu-Ray and Vinyl on Provogue/Mascot Label Group.

You can pre-order the release here:

For more information visit his official website here:

In addition, Joe Bonamassa will return to the UK for live shows in June 2018 and October 2018 with all of the details listed below. 


Joe Bonamassa


Tuesday 12th June 2018 - Hampton Court Palace Festival 2018, Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, East Molesey, United Kingdom


Thursday 11th October 2018 – Plymouth Pavilions, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Friday 12th October 2018 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Saturday 13th October 2018 – Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), Bournemouth, United Kingdom