Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Joe Bonamassa: Hampton Court Palace Festival 12/6/18

Joe Bonamassa: Hampton Court Palace Festival 12/6/18  CREDIT ©Laurence Harvey
Joe Bonamassa: Hampton Court Palace Festival 12/6/18  CREDIT ©Laurence Harvey Joe Bonamassa: Hampton Court Palace Festival 12/6/18  CREDIT ©Laurence Harvey

Blues guitar titan Joe Bonamassa first came to the attention of the public as a boy prodigy when he supported BB King in 1989 for 20 shows at the tender age of 12 and was featured on TV in the New York area. He is a phenomenally gifted guitar player as most blues fans know.

His Hampton Court set comprised of only twelve songs but lasted nearly two hours. All tracks featured blistering guitar solos, most but not all at breakneck speed and some lasting two or three minutes.

“Hello Hampton Court," he said halfway through his appearance at the Palace’s annual music jamboree. “We’re happy to come back here and play. Five hundred years ago someone would have been playing the harpsichord here and now we are desecrating the place. Our motto is play ‘too loud and too many notes’ and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Bonamassa began with four tracks from his upcoming studio album which will be released in the UK in September, the heavy blues trio of "King Bee Shakedown", "Evil Mama", "Just Because You Can Don’t Mean You Should" and the slower soul-influenced "Self Inflicted Wounds".

More familiar tracks followed, including "Some Other Day, Some Other Time" and 'an old song in a new way' "Slow Train".

Bonamassa is not your traditional blues player, he’s much heavier than most, much faster than most and mixes up the styles with blues to rock and even boogiewoogie on a storming cover of Led Zeppelin’s "Boogie With Stu".

When he brought on a guitar friend for a couple of numbers mid-set the power they generated was incredible and the climax of "Breaking Up Someone’s Home" was something Eddie Van Halen would have been proud of.

This was a no-compromise performance, high octane blues from start to finish. His adoring fans revered him, new material or old.

No mean slouch as a vocalist, Bonamassa brought his regular and talented band of drums, bass, sax, trumpet, keys and two backing vocalists from Australia who use their powerful voices as another instrument, layering to the blues wall of sound the main man produces.

When he returned for the encore Bonamassa said “Give the people what they [expletive] want” and launched into a rip-roaring version of “Sloe Gin”. This was exactly what the people wanted.

If you like your blues loud and with too many notes then Joe Bonamassa is the bluesman for you.


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