Joe Bonamassa, Motorpoint Arena
SOME artists make instinctive skill look sickeningly easy.
Child prodigy turned guitar legend Bonamassa is one of them and on his biggest venue UK tour yet the calm American delivers 140 minutes of fret board athletics without really breaking sweat.
With his trademark dark suit and shades the New York State maestro gives a virtuoso display with a little humour sprinkled and musical badinage with his talented band that includes duelling the drummer’s solo antics with his double neck guitar for Young Man Blues and matching his superb bass man’s charismatic rhythms.
Thirteen albums in Joe wades from the rock stomp of The Ballad Of John Henry and promising new album title track Driving Towards The Daylight to the plaintive blues of Blues Deluxe – and a whole lot in between.
There are frequent flashes of guitar exhibitionism – his acoustic solo taking in Spanish and classical licks is nothing short of breath-taking – then this is a modern master at work. And with more guitar changes than Beyonce does costumes, it is guitar geek heaven, but there is substance amid the indulgence.
Joe’s rise to this size venue, reduced down to 3,000 but clearly a leap up from what he’s used to, has seemingly been rapid but he is not out of his comfort zone.