Joe Bonamassa / The Modern Blues Master At Royal Albert Hall

It’s easy to get complacent about Joe Bonamassa as it can seem that he is everywhere, whether under his own name, with other bands and collaborations, or as producer and label owner of Keeping The Blues Alive. Familiarity can breed contempt. But not tonight at the Royal Albert Hall, as from the first note to the last, this was a reminder of why he is so very special and continues to raise the bar of what it means to be a modern blues musician.

Joe Bonamassa

Royal Albert Hall, London – 5 April 2024

Words: Liz Medhurst

Photography: Laurence Harvey

Bonamassa is touring Europe in support of his latest album, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, which is a perfect description of what he offers. It’s blues, but of the highest quality, the luxury end that is as sharp and natty as his suit and shades.

Joe Bonamassa - Royal Albert Hall, London - 5 April 2024
Joe Bonamassa – Royal Albert Hall, London – 5 April 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

Tonight marked fifteen years since his first appearance at the Royal Albert Hall and his twelfth overall. With only time for one UK stop on this tour, it had to be here for two nights, offering a two hour show with no support act.

Joe introduced his band with genuine love and respect and with good reason. They are all super respected in their own right and have made magic together.

There’s been a change to the touring band rhythm section this time around, with engine room duties fulfilled by Calvin Turner on bass and Lemar Carter on drums. There are long-time co-guitarist Josh Smith, backing vocalists Jade McRae and Dannielle DeAndrea, and Reese Wynans on keys, Mr B3 himself.

Joe Bonamassa - Royal Albert Hall, London - 5 April 2024
Joe Bonamassa – Royal Albert Hall, London – 5 April 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

Turner was wearing a Reese Wynans T-shirt, not one of his band leaders. However, considering Joe made the entire venue get to our feet in respect when introducing him, I’m sure that met with approval.

There’s so much variety in Bonamassa’s catalogue. He’s recorded every style of blues and blues-rock, and we were treated to variation in the styles covered this evening.

The sheer quantity means that it’s pretty much impossible to expect a full set of personal favourites, but frankly, anyone complaining about the riches on offer tonight would be unbelievably churlish.

Joe Bonamassa - Royal Albert Hall, London - 5 April 2024
Joe Bonamassa – Royal Albert Hall, London – 5 April 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

It’s hard to pick highlights, although Self-Inflicted Wounds cast a spell before I Want To Shout About It brought the tempo right back up. There were rolling grooves from The Heart That Never Waits and pathos in The Last Matador of Bayonne, whereas a mash-up of Just Got Paid/Dazed And Confused rocked hard enough to shake the roof.

A different mood is created with every song, and you forget which is a cover and which is an original as it simply doesn’t matter anymore. In Bonamassa’s hands all songs shine and have their own unique personality, and his backing band are staggeringly good.

Joe Bonamassa - Royal Albert Hall, London - 5 April 2024
Joe Bonamassa – Royal Albert Hall, London – 5 April 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

Of course, being known for having a massive collection of guitars, there was a good selection in use tonight with plenty of changes, sometimes even mid-song. This was more than enough to keep equipment spotters happy.

There have been special guests before, but none tonight, at least in the physical. Instead there was a wonderful tribute to Bernie Marsden, Joe’s good friend who had made an appearance at all previous dates here.

Like all of us, Joe misses Bernie immensely.

Joe Bonamassa - Royal Albert Hall, London - 5 April 2024
Joe Bonamassa – Royal Albert Hall, London – 5 April 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

The evening ended with Mountain Time, a song that was played here back in 2009, and a real crowd-pleaser.

May there be many more return visits so we can continue to appreciate this treasure.

Joe Bonamassa - Royal Albert Hall, London - 5 April 2024
Joe Bonamassa – Royal Albert Hall, London – 5 April 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey
Joe Bonamassa Setlist

Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again)
Twenty‐Four Hour Blues
Well, I Done Got Over It
Self-Inflicted Wounds
I Want to Shout About It
The Last Matador of Bayonne
Breaking Up Somebody’s Home
Apology
The Heart That Never Waits
Is It Safe to Go Home
Lazy Poker Blues
Just Got Paid/Dazed and Confused/Drum Solo

Encore
Mountain Time

Sleeve Notes

Sign up for the MetalTalk Newsletter, an occasional roundup of the best Heavy Metal News, features and pictures curated by our global MetalTalk team.

More in Heavy Metal

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Search MetalTalk

MetalTalk Venues

MetalTalk Venues - The Devil's Dog Digbeth
MetalTalk Venues – The Green Rooms Live Music and Rehearsal
The Patriot, Crumlin - The Home Of Rock
Interview: Christian Kimmett, the man responsible for getting the bands in at Bannerman's Bar
Cart & Horses, London. Birthplace Of Iron Maiden
The Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton

New Metal News