Century II Concert Hall
April 27, 2012
By Jeb Wright
Slow Train | Last Kiss | Midnight Blues | Dust Bowl | Who’s Been Talking | Sloe Gin | John Henry | Lonesome Road Blues | Look on Yonder Wall | Steal Your Heart Away | Blues Deluxe | Young Mans Blues | Woke Up Dreaming | Mountain Time
Driving Towards the Daylight | Just Got Paid/Dazed and Confused
Classic Rock Revisited has been supportive of guitar icon Joe Bonamassa since we first heard him as a twenty-something hot shot who released the tune “Miss You Hate You.” Since that time, we have seen Joe blossom into a true Guitar God. No one on the scene today plays with as much passion, has as much finesse and raw talent, has reverence for those who came before him and has as much passion for his craft as Joe Bonamassa.
His performance on April 27th was as much a musical spiritual experience as it was a concert. Bonamassa took the stage and led both his band and the crowd through a set of perfectly balanced blues and rock tunes. He hit the big notes, squeezed out the sublime ones, took the music into the stratosphere and then brought it back down to earth, encapsulating an entire audience.
This was a rare case where there were no true highlights to the show; every song, every note, every guitar solo, every bass thump, every drum beat and every organ riff were executed with 100% perfection. There were times where the unthinkable happened…times where the music took the listener to places not of this earth. The magic started from the first song, “Slow Train.” Once the mood was set, then Joe cruised through “Last Kiss” and his tribute to the late Gary Moore, “Midnight Blues.”
As celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse is fond of saying, Bonamassa kicked it up a notch when he performed “Dust Bowl” and “Sloe Gin,” both tunes that were custom made for the live performance. Bonamassa paid homage to other blues and rock greats with cover versions of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking,” Jeff Beck’s “Blues Deluxe” and The Who’s “Young Man Blues.”
Bonamassa performed an acoustic solo piece that defied the laws of guitar playing. He played blues, jazz, classical, pop, rock and even Flamenco during the song, compelling the crowd to stand on their feet and cheer in appreciation. Joe addressed the audience toward the end of the set by stating that he was getting ready to release his 13th album in 12 years. He admitted to recording over 140 songs and traveling the world so much that he needed three passports. He paused and then told the Wichita crowd, “All of this and I have zero hits. On this upcoming 13th album, I will promise you one thing…it will also have zero hits.” With that he played the title track to his upcoming album Driving Towards the Daylight.
Bonamassa ended the evening with a blistering version of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid.” As the song appeared to be ending, the band went into the Led Zeppelin classic “Dazed and Confused” with Bonamassa turning into Jimmy Page and nailing the rocking solo section.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure to watch Joe Bonamassa grow up, both physically, emotionally, mentally, creatively and musically. He has went from a hot shot gunslinger in his teens, to a great guitar player filled with natural talent in his early to mid twenties, to a true guitar hero before his thirtieth birthday. Now, just shy of turning 35 years old, Bonamassa continues to grow as an artist. Creeping slowly towards middle age, Joe has reached a level of mastery in both his craft and art that is rarely realized by any musician, of any genre, of any age or era of music. Joe’s guitar is not an instrument; it is an extension of his very being. Music is at the core of his soul and he has the technical ability to transform his visions from his non-physical realm to our hardcore reality. In addition, his constant outpouring of creativity…both in quantity and quality…make him among the rarest breed of artist known to mankind.
The scary thing, as Bonamassa showed on this evening, is that he is not done growing. As he proved with an intense jam during the song “Mountain Time,” Joe is still getting better; he’s still improving. He has not yet peaked. In addition to his massive solo output, Bonamassa has released two studio albums and one live album with the super group Black Country Communion. No one, at this stage in classic blues rock music can hold a candle to Joe Bonamassa. He has, through sheer skill, business savvy and determination earned the right to be mentioned alongside other great players with names like Page, Hendrix, Beck, King and Vaughan.
Bonamassa will spend the majority of 2012 on the road so please visit www.jbonamassa.com for tour dates as this is one musical event that you do not want to miss out on.