Bonamassa brings sax appeal to Plymouth
It’s been too long since Joe Bonamassa last visited this part of the world and with his rise in popularity since his last visit (and his rapid rise in the industry), I’m just glad he has returned. With his new album Blues Of Desperation due out any day now this was one of two UK dates on this tour. Joe plans to return to the UK later in the year as part of his new album tour so I was one of the lucky ones to catch him this time.
The show was a seated affair and with the doors opened at 7PM for an 8PM start. It was rather annoying that so many people stayed drinking in the bar until the music started before rushing to take their seats. These people’s ignorance meant the patiently-seated fans all around the venue had to get up to let people to their seats. Like a giant Mexican wave it went on all over the arena and those seated missed parts of the performance because of this. I expect many thought there would be a support band but on this occasion the show was all Joe.
Joe took to the stage spot on 8PM and we were off. The Locomotive intro alerted people to Joe’s presence on the stage and those talking soon went quiet as the guitar maestro let rip with the first riffs of the night. The songs came thick and fast and Joe’s guitar work proved that he deserves all the awards and fame he has been receiving. This guy is amazing to watch as well as listen to and he was well applauded after each song. Joe doesn’t do the stop and chat between each song like many artists do and at some points it was as if he was in a rush to get home. Having seen him before I know that’s not the case and he just lets his music do the talking. Since his last visit Joe’s backing band have improved drastically and that’s probably due to the constant touring. The added saxophone stood out as far as I was concerned and added just that little extra to the mix. It wasn’t brash and over the top but the subtle sax parts were spot on.
Joe did eventually stop to introduce his band and I like to hear him joke with the fans so perhaps he should do this more often. As he got back to playing I was sort of expecting an interval just like the last time he visited where people bought drinks and ice cream but this didn’t happen this time. The show was scheduled to finish at 10:15 and Joe was going to cram in as many songs as possible. This is great as their is nothing worse in my opinion than bands heading off stage to await the ego boosting chants for their return only to return and play the songs they were going to anyway.
As 10 o’clock approached Joe summoned the crowd to get to their feet and they duly obliged. Some made the best of this and took it upon themselves to make their way to the edge of the stage. The few turned to a constant stream and there were soon hundreds of fans with their elbows on the stage just feet from their idol. This is how this sort of show should be and the atmosphere seemed so much better as soon as this happened. This is how rock n’ roll should be so let’s hope Joe’s next visit sees just a few seats at the back and standing in the main arena. If nothing else it would remove the Mexican wave effect of the latecomers.
As Joe played his last notes of the night he was given a standing ovation from everyone around the arena and as soon as he left the stage the rush for the exit began. There was no merchandise on sale after the show and signs were in place before the doors opened to make people aware of this. This isn’t normal and I think it was because Joe and his crew had a flight to catch to Australia as the tour continues.
I could watch Joe play all day long and it’s amazing how easy he makes playing the guitar look but it’s his style and music that make him one of the great’s. I was grateful to catch another one of his awesome live shows as most performers don’t visit this part of the UK when they hit the big time. I’ve heard talk of him retiring and putting his feet up but I just can’t see Joe doing that. If you look at his touring and album history he’s been working non stop for years and even has several side projects when he gets the time but if he did call it a day at least I can say I’ve seen a legend at work.
Full gallery can be seen here.
Catch him on tour: