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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Joe Bonamassa in Concert - Arizona Fiinancial Theatre - Phoenix, Arizona

 I had the pleasure to attend the Joe Bonamassa concert at the Arizona Financial Theatre (Previously Dodge Theater) in Phoenix Arizona on November 18, 2022, in support of his most recent release, Time Clocks,  and the house was packed. I was fortunate enough to have brilliant seats not far from the stage and very near the middle of the floor. I started listening to Joe Bonamassa around 2000 when I caught an earful of his music on Pandora. Wasn't long before I had his new release, A New Day Yesterday, and Bonamassa had a new fan. I saw him shortly thereafter in a small club in Scottsdale and then at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. He didn't have the repertoire of songs that he has now but it was amazing to see this unassuming kid with his long hair and his jeans dragging on the ground, step up on the stage and blow through his own book and quickly show how easily he could cruise from one guitar icon phrasing to another, playing their riffs and blowing back the crowd. His own big track at the time, A New Day Yesterday, coupled by his really nicely covered If Heartaches Were Nickels, in a two hour or so set of maybe 15 tracks always left the crowd wanting more. 

Now Joe Bonamassa is a house hold name. Bonamassa has released more than 30 solo albums, and worked on at least 14 other featured projects with Black Country Communion, Rock Candy Funk Party, Beth Hart and Sleep Eazy's and been nominated for Grammys at least 3 times. He has a massive guitar collection and amps to go with them. This guy isn't a collector... He is a PLAYER. There's no question that this guy can physically step on the gas and like a supercar go zero to 100 in sub 3 seconds. 

In Phoenix 2022, Joe brought at least 6 guitars on stage, changing every 3 or 4 songs, availing himself to different tones and as a guitar player, each guitar talks to you differently. He opened with a contemporary blues set and on a gold top Les Paul. If you haven't seen Joe in years, he is now highly polished with his hair trimmed professionally but not square. He has a custom made blue suit with sequin trim, not unlike a tamed down Manuel or Nudie suite with notes for theme, and of course there's the glasses. He doesn't play to all of the theatrics of a guitar icon and sticks to his craft, and that's something that I appreciate about a mature performer. His second set (of tunes) was played on a tobacco burst strat and a bit more gritty, and the third set was played on a red es 335. This was my favorite grouping of tracks, more deeply blues with a funky take on I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home. Bonamassa took time to introduce/credit each band member numerous times throughout the concert with Josh Smith on guitar (this guy screams, primarily on Ibanez tele if I recall correctly), Steve Mackey on Jazz bass who did a knockout performance including a real nice solo, Reese Wynans who also really added a lot of excellent key work on piano and B3 and Lemar Carter on drums who kept everything tight. His backing singers were Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippens, taking the lead from time to time, and who really play a prime part in balancing Bonamassa on vocal (who really does a nice job as a vocalist by the way). 

Thruout the night he pulled in a red strat,  a blonde Les Paul and then natural custom tele with a forward humbucker and more rock oriented, followed by his last set on a cherry burst Les Paul. Bonamassa paused a few times to talk with the audience and just to friendly it up and I'm sure the crowd was receptive. Bonamassa played for 2 hours and it was pure Joe. Sure... he took a little turn on one track and played a few note tribute to Jeff Beck and ZZ Top's Just Got Paid has become a "Bonamassa track" and he really played it hard with Led Zep and Govt Mule interludes and even threw a little Theremin out. A definite crowd favorite. The show was powerful and exciting and the crowd loved it. This was a strong concert by a gracious performer ... pure Joe giving it what he's got. He's a world class guitar player, and a great performer.

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  1. This is great! Joe Rocks

  2. A genius at work and pleasure, absolutely world class! 🎸🎸🎸🎢🎢🎢πŸ”₯πŸ’―

  3. Just a quick note on the band members; we saw Joe two nights before this review (11/16) in Midland, TX. The current touring band is Josh Smith (2nd guitar), Reese Wynans (keyboards) Lemar Carter (drums), and Calvin Turner (bass). The two singers are Jade MacRae and Danielle DeAndrea.

  4. Excellent review! Joe Bonamassa and his group are tight, absolutely love his music!

  5. In my 70 years of music Joe is one of the world's greatest guitar players

  6. Been following this idol since he was a very young man! He IS the GREATEST‼️

  7. Joe Bonsmassa and Stevie Ray Vaughan are greatest guitar players!

  8. He is the best! I've seen him eleven times now and he has never disappointed. Always with class. What can I say, he's amazing!!