Joe Bonamassa At The Paramount 5/14
I am about to use a bunch of guitar words.
Last night I was honored to cover Joe Bonamassa‘s performance in Seattle on the current 2015 World Tour. The first of three shows, that is, back-to-back-to-back nights of two hour rockin’ blues sets. If you’re not familiar with Joe, he’s regarded as one of the world’s finest guitarists, and aside from shredding a mean blues-rock axe, he sings pretty darn well too.
It’s worth noting that Bonamassa opened for late legend B. B. King at the age of 12, so you know he’s the real deal. I offer my deepest condolences to the friends and family of the King.
Bonamassa has a long history with the city of Seattle, spanning many of his active years and 15 (!) solo records, playing his way up from The Moore Theater a few blocks over to the STG crown jewel that is the Paramount this weekend.
For you gear nuts, Bonamassa shredded through a healthy stable of beautiful instruments, starting off with a reverse Firebird headstock Les Paul with Joe’s signature inlaid on the fretboard before moving to a burst Les Paul, two ES-335s, and two Stratocasters into a quartet of blonde Fender amps. (My guess: two Twin Reverbs and two Super Reverbs) The result: spectacular tone and furious fingers capped off with his signature sunglasses.
Bonamassa drew out delicate whispers and shrieking wails from each of his guitars, capitalizing masterfully on the brawny muscle of the Les Pauls, the oaky richness of the 335s, and the scooped meatiness of the Strats. While he excelled in the moments he took the spotlight, he backed off to give his talented backing band moments to shine as well. Bonamassa shared the stage with newly minted Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer Reese Wynans, acclaimed David Bowie and Rod Stewart session bassist Carmine Rojas, as well as a tightly in the pocket drums/percussion section and a perfect trio of brass, giving each member a chance to take the spotlight during the night’s gargantuan setlist.
Through the two hour set, Joe might have missed one note, and even then I’m more inclined to say my ears misheard. Sweeping through favorites like “Sloe Gin”, “Hidden Charms”, and towering closer “The Ballad Of John Henry”, Bonamassa and the crew had multiple standing ovations for their mammoth songs and solos. I’m honored to have been able to cover this show, at this venue, on this first night.
If you’re bummed you’ve missed out, don’t forget: Bonamassa will be playing tonight and tomorrow at the Paramount, with tickets available for either (or both) night on the STG calendar.