Review - Joe Bonamassa @ San Jose Center for the Performing Arts (7/30/18)

Ken McCain
Joe Bonamassa, Mahalia Barnes, Jade McRae, and Michael Rhodes (Photo: Ken McCain)
Joe Bonamassa, Mahalia Barnes, Jade MacRae, and Michael Rhodes (Photo: Ken McCain)
It could have been the coldest day on record or the hottest day of the year and it still would have led to an amazing evening at San Jose's Center for the Performing Arts. No, the weather could do nothing to upset the event that was about to unfold. However, as it turned out, it was a perfect temperature with sunny skies above. The native Bay Area fans came with smiles on their faces and excitement towards what lay ahead. Of course, they were all gathering Monday evening for a much anticipated reappearance of Joe Bonamassa and his band. Blues Rock is what they describe his music as, I call it a "powerhouse of energy fueled by a freight train called 'The Titan of Blues'". Blues Rock is shorter and easier to use though.
Joe Bonamassa (Photo: Ken McCain)
Joe Bonamassa (Photo: Ken McCain)
By 8 o'clock most of the fans had arrived and were seated when the lights went down. Suddenly the intro to "Bonanza" played. It is a wonderful song to hear playing loudly in a 2,600 seat performing arts center and it certainly got everyone’s attention, making them aware that the show was about to begin. Then a voice announced the star along with his band. I took note that the voice had a British accent. This could have led one to believe that the subject was either very sophisticated or that the subject was well regarded in the UK. I'm thinking it's both. Either way, the musicians took their places, with Joe taking left of center stage. They began the 14 song set with "King Bee Shakedown", the 2nd song on his new album Redemption (iTunes). In fact, the next 3 songs were all from his new album, the latest of his all-original albums. Many of the artists on the album are those he travels with, too. All of them are studio caliber musicians, and when they perform live you get the best of both worlds. Across the stage are horn players Lee Thornburg and Paulie Cerra, drummer Anton Fig, bassist Michael Rhodes, Rock &Roll Hall of Fame keyboardist Reese Wynans, and background vocalists Mahalia Barnes & Jade MacRae.
Anton Fig, Joe Bonamassa, Mahalia Barnes, and Jade McRae (Photo: Ken McCain)
Anton Fig, Joe Bonamassa, Mahalia Barnes, and Jade MacRae (Photo: Ken McCain)
After the opening four songs, Bonamassa hit upon a staple in blues music, Albert King's "I Get Evil". I've heard many renditions of this song, by King himself, Gary Moore, and others. And I'll put the Joe Bonamassa live version at the top. Both Lee Thornburg and Reese Wynans got solos in during the song, getting rounding applause from all in attendance. Following this up, Bonamassa threw out a few of his songs from his last albums and kept the pace up with the opening set. Tossing in "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" - another Albert King song - added a "standard", that he seems to play quite frequently. Halfway though this song Bonamassa slowed it down to a very slow pace and "slow jammed" it, using call and response techniques between himself and the rest of the band. And with only 14 songs in the set you would imagine the show would be short. However, with the talent on stage, they were able to extend many of the songs and fans should feel they got their money's worth.
Anton Fig (Photo: Ken McCain)
Anton Fig (Photo: Ken McCain)
The entire band was able to rest as he introduced everyone, allowing us all a laugh at a story he told about a particular customer at a particular fast-food joint on the way up to San Jose from Paso Robles. I'm sure he has tons of stories. Maybe he'll put a few in a book someday. With the introductions aside -- and who doesn't already know his all-star backing band -- they proceeded into his 2011 release of "Dust Bowl". As he does with many of his shows he ended the last third of the show with covers from B.B. King and Led Zeppelin. If you haven't already seen Joe Bonamassa live,  you might think Zeppelin is an odd addition, but Led Zeppelin's music was heavily influenced by the blues so it lends itself well to Joe's style. The last song of the set had the whole seated floor on it's feet, which meant to me that they understood his motivation.
Michael Rhodes (Photo: Ken McCain)
Michael Rhodes (Photo: Ken McCain)
Two hours flies by when you're having fun. I'd say that most had the time of their lives last night. If you are fortunate enough to have Joe Bonamassa coming around to your town or somewhere nearby, you should not miss this powerhouse act. Check out his tour dates here, and thanks for reading!

For more pictures, concert announcements and news, be sure to follow us across social here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Joe Bonamassa Setlist Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose, CA, USA, Summer Tour 2018

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !