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Joe Bonamassa Live In Phoenix


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Blues rock darling Joe Bonamassa has been on quite a tear lately, thrilling fans with shows all over the world including with his popular Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea cruises, the most recent of which sailed to Malta and Monaco from Barcelona, Spain this past summer. Joe's electric show wows 'em on dry land too, and his Oct. 25 performance at Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix was no exception. Working with a top notch band that featured veteran player Reese Wynans (Stevie Ray Vaughn) on keyboards, Bonamassa played a generous two-hour set to an adoring packed house.

Evil Mama opened the show and Bonamassa then played the appropriately buzzing King Bee Shakedown, complete with his first slide guitar riffing of the evening, before moving on to Just Cos You Can Don't Mean You Should and a take on Kenny Neal's If Heartaches Were Nickels. Bonamassa is known to have a massive guitar collection and he changed instruments after just about every song, notably playing his Johnny B axe on a couple of cuts (the guitar, one of Bonamassa's favorites, is named after a previous owner.)

A cool moment referencing rock n' roll history that many in the crowd likely missed came before the song This Train when Wynans, keeping with the song's theme, began the song by playing the intro to Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath solo on piano before Joe got the whole band rocking. Bonamassa tuned into a slow sizzle for a take on Michael Kamen's Sloe Gin and set the mood to psychedelic for Blues of Desperation, a cut that sounded like there was a hookah smoking caterpillar lurking somewhere in the band. Lots of bluesmen including Bonamassa discoverer B. B. King have recorded the Tampa Red chestnut Don't You Lie to Me and Joe rocked through the cut as if it were his own, as he did with other covers Little Girl (John Mayall) Well Well (Delaney & Bonnie) and Willie Dixon's I Can't Quit You Baby, also famously recorded by Led Zeppelin.

The regular portion of the show ended with The Ballad of John Henry, prompting a standing ovation and call for an encore. After playing hot electric guitar all evening, Bonamassa surprised by coming out solo for an encore of Woke up Dreaming playing acoustic guitar; his fast, loud and raucous turn on the wooden instrument was nothing short of jaw-dropping. The band rejoined Bonamassa to perform Mountain Time as the evening's farewell cut. During the show Bonamassa reminisced about how he returns to Phoenix to perform time after time; clearly if the audience has its way that string of performances will continue well into the future.

Other shows coming to Comerica Theatre include:
Nov. 23 Lindsey Stirling
Dec. 5 Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Dec. 20-22 Cirque Dreams Holidaze (4 shows)
Dec. 31 Brian Regan
Jan. 17, 2020 The Temptations and the Four Tops
Feb. 22 Bill Maher

Joe Bonamassa Live In Phoenix

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