Joe Bonamassa Brings An Evening Rich With Blues To Charleston REVIEW+PHOTOS: Joe Bonamassa the Clay Center 2/15/23
Charleston, WV- On the hind side of Valentine’s Day, Joe Bonamassa kicked off his Spring tour at the Clay Center for Science and Arts. The Rock/blues Titan and his band played an electrifying set of 13 songs.
Following a lead in track, the band and Joe, sporting his cherry red, Gibson ES-335 were illuminated on stage. Opening the set with “Evil Mama” from his “Redemption” album. The performance set the tone for what would be an evening rich in blues. Other familiar hits followed like “Dust Bowl” and Love Ain’t a Love Song,” which saw him alternate to his Fender Strat.
This was my first in-person live experience with JB. I’ve listened to his live albums after hearing his and Beth Hart’s version of “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Having said that, I kind of knew what to expect as far as musicianship. Let me just say, I am a huge fan of great musicians who know how to entertain their audience. People who have the ability to captivate a room for a moment in time thru their craft, really inspire me. I was not disappointed in what I witnessed.
The set continued with “Self Inflicted Wounds.” “Just Cuz You Can, Don’t mean You Should” was up next and also saw another switch to a gold Les Paul. The song is a guitar driven “rocker,” if you will, which I think is one of my favorites of the night. He served up a new song titled, “Shout About it” which I’m assuming will be part of a future album, though not on his forthcoming album “Tales of Time”. An impassioned cover of Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble” followed. Joe’s guitar work and vocal were so powerful on this song.
The show became rocking as he performed one of the harder blues-rock songs from Royal Tea, “I Didn’t Think She Would Do It”. With the wah-wah pedal pumping, had me bopping along with the band. By this time, each song segued to the next with no audience banter between songs.
Upon removing his ever present sunglasses, he addressed the crowd. Bonamassa introduced his esteemed band members: Australian singers Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippens; Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and “Mr B-3” Reese Wynans; bassist Calvin Turner; drummer Lemar Carter; and guitarist Josh Smith, before kicking into “A Converstion with Alice.” “Happier Times,” “Lonely Boy,” and his cover of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid,” which he played on his flying ‘V’ rounded out the set. Flashing double devil horns before heading off stage.
The band returned after a short intermission for the encore. “Mountain Time” is a somber love song and a fitting end to the night. Joe Bonamassa did not disappoint proving why he is the master of contemporary blues—and one of the top five guitarists alive today. This is a must-see show for all blues-rock fanatics.The US leg of the tour runs through until March 11th in St. Augustine, FL. Joe and the band head off to Australia, Europe, a a couple cruises playing thru August 2023. .Follow Joe Bonamassa on Facebook Twitter and Instagram.
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