Joe Bonamassa Birmingham Utilita Arena 14-5-23
Joe's band is always stellar and it is so hard to say which one is the best every time.
I would say they all are and we are the lucky ones who get to see the timeless musical interplay from every musician on stage who are at the top of the game.
This tour sees Josh Smith on guitar and the legend that is Reese Wynans on Hammond and keys.
Backing vocals/percussion and dance moves from Jade Mcrae and Danielle DeAndrea.
On the recent Tales Of Time live set we saw the debut of the new rhythm section of Lemar Carter on drums and Calvin Turner on bass. Wow is a word that doesn't even come close.
Lemar Carter is a powerhouse and drives the music to ever higher level and he even had a near 5 minute sole drum solo. I have been seeing Joe for nearly 15 years and I have never seen that. In fact the band are all given a solo spot in the spotlights with Joe standing back like the proud parent watching his offspring thrive.
Song by song you are never sure where each song goes and who will step forward. It keeps it fresh and shows the level of musicianship on stage is untouchable.
Evil Mama starts the show with lights and sound superb and Reese gets the first solo spot of the night and the first huge round of applause the man is a living legend as Joe says.
Dust Bowl took the pace down and played within the framework but a different feel with Lemar driving the song to new heights with the backing vocals only adding to Joe's excellence at the microphone.
Love Ain't A Love Song the girls back up Joe but lead on the chorus. Mid song solo part sees Reese astound again the man has no comparison ever. It leads into a guitar riff heavy section that built to a band crescendo. Jade and Danielle take the lead again before a Josh guitar solo to end the song. I should add there was also a stunning Joe guitar solo with held notes and a tone to die for.
Self Inflicted Wounds saw Calvin start the song and it took the pace down a notch. Joe traded guitar solo's with Josh mid song with a Jade vocal master class to end the song.
Just Cuz You Can had a lengthy Reese solo mid song before Joe ripped a fast paced guitar solo showing 8 shows in 10 days and the man never slows down.
2 covers mid set with more band interplay from the gods Reese first solo then to Josh before Joe then stepped forward into the spotlight .It seamlessly moved into Double Trouble with Joe's vocal showing he possesses 2 world class instruments. The band take it down to a whisper before a full band mid song workout and then back down again.
Didn't Think She Would Do It saw Lemar increase the pace with Reese playing a lengthy solo as the song ended with the rest of the band watching in awe and ending with Calvin fanning him down at his excellence.
Conversation With Alice saw the mid section pace increase with Lemar at full throttle with the solos on this one going from Josh to Reese to the girls then Joe. Musical dexterity and brilliance at every pore.
Heart That Never Waits from Time Clocks was a welcome addition. Joe vocal stunning and the mid song bridge took it down to a whisper with light and shade and band interplay to the fore. Again studio and live output just a frame for the band to work their magic with.
A blisteringly heavy Lonely Boy had solos from Josh to Calvin then Reese then to Joe with Lemar driving the song to even greater heights.
Joe strapped his Flying V on for ZZ Top's Just Got Paid and again a heavy guitar and drum led song which included the previously mentioned Lemar drum solo with the crowd now on their feet baying for more.
Of course we got more with an encore of Sloe Gin which was wonderfully played and Joe's vocal and guitar solo stunning and what a way to end a show that was up there with the very best.
Every single time the bar is set to ever higher and every time Joe and his band take it to the next level.
Enjoy your short break Joe and we await more UK dates impatiently.