Joe Bonamassa – Bournemouth BIC

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 Tuesday 9th May 2023

Review by Skid photos by

photos by Simon Green, Will Carter and Peter Nicholson

One word: Stunning. 

However, being contractually obliged to add some substance to the above and a day after his 46th birthday Joseph Leonard Bonamassa took to the stage at 8 pm precisely within Bournemouth’s International Centre, a 4,000 plus capacity seating 1980’s red brick and glass concrete box overlooking the south coast. This was the first of five dates in the UK sandwiched between a European spring & a near-global summer world tour and his first live outing outside the Capital in five years making tonight a moment to savour. Wearing his famed dark suit and accompanying sunglasses the nearly sold-out crowd were witness to a 2 hour and ten-minute masterclass from the New Yorker. As the closing bars from Tom Petty faded the evening started off with the Led Zeppelin eqs drum intro of “Evil Mama”, the first of two songs off the 2018 “The Redemption” record. Apart from a short interlude for band introductions, it was a nonstop Bonamassa blues blitzkrieg with limited audience interaction apart from the occasional “thank you”. The 13-song set included three covers, “Double Trouble”, “I Want to shout about it” and a stonking and extended jam of ZZ Top’s “Just got paid” all mixed in with ten originals spanning his solo albums from the 2002 “So, it’s like that” to his latest and 15th, “Time”. For any JB fan, there will never be enough time to hear all their favourite songs, alas mine being “Sloe Gin” but this omission was compensated with the stunning encore finale, “Mountain Time”, which with its emoted solos and almost haunting vocals could bring a tear to a grown man and was an inspired end and worthy of the ticket entry alone.

Although the main attraction, the tour de force is Bonamassa’s band, two backing singers danced, swayed, and grinned throughout soulfully filling in the gaps; however, it was the subtle and delightfully precise keys of ex Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy winner Reese Wynans, whose Hammond was a virtual double act with Bonamassa’s playing, both seemly feeding off each other’s genius. There was an additional guitarist with Josh Smith and the never stopping backbeat supplied by bassist Calvin Turner and tub-thumper Lemar Carter, who effortlessly threw in a drum solo at the last knockings. All eyes were of course on the man in the sweat-drenched suit, who shone with each song, all of which oozed moments of originality and brilliance making them as astonishing to watch as they were wondrous to hear. Some ponder why he is no longer just the blues brigade secret but a household name, that, however, is an easy question to answer when one witnesses performances of this calibre. Like Bonamassa’s heroes, he has also been gifted with a voice that blends so well with his instrument, he at times whispered, sometimes shouted, and even grunted, but all with appropriate and proportionate quality that dove-tailed with the rest, very much evident in the evening’s last song, leaving the crowd happy with what they have received but hungry for more. 

With numerous solo studio and live records, several collaborations and Black Country Communion albums to his name, Joe Bonamassa has nothing to prove, however on this appearance alone, he did just that, showing the Bournemouth crowd why he is amongst the all-time guitar greats.

I refer back to my opening comment. 


Joe Bonamassa – Guitar /Vocals

Calvin Turner – Bass

Reese Wynans – Keyboards

Lemar Carter – Drums

Josh Smith – Guitar

Jade MacRae – Backing vocals.


Evil Mama

Dust Bowl

Love ain’t a love song

Self-Inflicted wounds

The heart that never waits.

I want to shout about it.

Double trouble

I didn’t think she would do it.

A conversation with Alice

Happier times

Lonely boy

Just got paid.


Mountain time

Reviewed by Skid 

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