Joe Bonamassa performing at the Capital FM Arena Nottingham on Sunday 25th October 2015

Images and Review by  Kevin Cooper

Clearly not a man to forget his roots, Joe Bonamassa visited The Running Horse before his concert at The Capital FM Arena last night, and if you were one of those 150 who saw him play there ten years ago, you would have known that he had something very special.

Making his entrance onto the stage in front of 3000 fans, wearing his trade mark suit and sunglasses and accompanied by the renown and accomplished American drummer, Anton Fig, long-time friend and bass guitarist Michael Rhodes, Reese Wynans on keyboards, and backed up by Lee Thorburg on trumpet and fellow New Yorker Paulie Cerra on saxophone, the show started with a stunning rendition of See You Baby.

As well as being a truly charismatic and mesmerizing blues rock star, Bonamassa is a singer songwriter of stylish depth and emotional resonance. But it is his covers that really hit the spot. There was B.B. King’s Never Make Your Move Too Soon, Albert King’s Angel Of Mercy as well as a stupendous version of Jimi Hendrixs’ Hey Baby (New Rising Sun).

Following one storming tune with another, the likes of Happier Times and Trouble Town were a steaming mass of Bonamassa blues whilst Love Ain’t A Love Song was simply quite phenomenal as he came to the front of the stage and stripped this extended version right down to just him and his guitar; playing as though they were whispering to each other amongst an audience that were completely spellbound, before the band crashed back in lifting it into a huge crescendo.

With very little chat he let his music take over with a spellbinding cocktail of guitar, keyboard, drums and brass heaven. Sloe Gin began with some wonderful jazzy piano and again Bonamassa becomes lost in the moment with his phenomenal soloing; his facial expressions taking in every single note. Finishing with the classic The Ballad Of John Henry, he left the stage to a standing ovation.

Coming back sharpish to a foot stomping cover of Jeff Beck’s Spanish Boots, the show came to an end with a romp through Muddy Water’s All Aboard; a number that clearly has a special place in his heart.

Listening to him now, he is undoubtedly one of the finest living blues guitarist on the planet, and The Arena had witnessed over two hours of jaw dropping, ear splitting fretwork from a genius clearly in his element.