By José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographer – Rock At Night France, Switzerland , Portugal
Venue: Palais des Congrès – Strasbourg
Date: 29 April 2019
GDProductions and Label LN presented the two times Grammy nominated blues rocker JOE BONAMASSA at the Palais des Congrès, in the beautiful city of Strasbourg, capital of Europe, and gave us an astonishing concert with this prodigious guitar player. The prolific JB returned to Europe for a fantastic Spring Tour to promote his 13th studio album “REDEMPTION”, out in September 2018.
Next summer and fall he will be back to US for a long tour. 59 shows between Europe, US and Australia! Just incredible. But a “Guitar Hero” needs a very close and shared contact with his fans. It’s always so motivating to feel loved. And the audience in Europe is very respectful and appreciates music in a quiet silence. He has built a great reputation by constant touring and releasing up to 10 albums just for the last 5 years !!!
Here, we worship him as the current King of the Blues. With FREDDY KING, ALBERT KING and BB KING gone, JOE is part of the very closed circle of those whose sound is recognizable among all, so much its dazzling play. But for sure, he wouldn’t like to be called a KING!!!
His Dandy look truly surprised us and brings him closer to BRIAN FERRY than a bluesman. Sunglasses “à la mode”, hair scrubbed back and a beautiful navy-blue suit, JOE BONAMASSA opens the show with “Tiger In Your Tank”. A virtuose guitar play, showing his Fender Telecaster before switching to a Stratocaster or even a Gibson 335 all along his two hours set.
The Line Up for this show was particularly amazing. Two horns from LA, two guys from Nashville, two ladies from Australia and two guys from NYC!!! A very curious geographical parity! Michael RHODES on Bass guitar, Reese WYNANS on keyboards and Anton FIG on drums were the strong rhythmic section.
Fifteen spectacular songs composed his set list that night but just four of them come from his last opus: “Evil Mama” – “King Bee Shakedown” –“ Just’Cos You Can Mean You Should “ and “Self Inflected Wounds”. All the others were a big collection of older titles from different works.
With “Evil Mama”, the two background Australian singers and the horns, added a great feeling to the show.
Joe BONAMASSA’s British and Irish influences have been well identified in some topics such as “Blues Of Desesperation” or even “Sloe Gin”.
“Sloe Gin” is a red liqueur made with gin and sloe drupes, which are a small fruit relative of the plum. But it’s also a song that set fire to the house!
The concert took a whole other dimension when he directed his set to the BLUES !! It was “The Blues Explosion” when he gave nods to his heroes: a BB KING cover and the ZEP-flavored “Tea For One/I Can’t Quit You Babe”/”How Many More Times”. I have to say that it’s this BLUES facet that retains all my attraction towards him. In other words, I prefer the BluesMan as the Rocker!…
With the standing audience, we knew the show would definitively be memorable. And it was!
JOE BONAMASSA left the stage happy that night after two encores: “Woke Up Dreaming” and “Hummingbird”.
Those who thought that Joe was just the rocker next door, will be astonished forever by the different shades of his talent!
It was just…a perfect show!
Many thanks Eléonore MEVEL (GDProductions) and to Rosine Alleva for editing and publishing.
I was born in Portugal and lived the Sixties exploring the great UK Rock magazines: "The New Musical Express" and "Melody Maker". Ray Charles and Pat Boone were my father’s fav. I became “The Great Pretender”. Cliff Richard was our Elvis Presley. As a beach boy, with my first guitar, I met a beautiful French girl on the beach! It was the Summer of 69!! We got married and rock music was our dowry. In France, I became a Wine Genetic Research Scientist. One of my works contributed to the decoding of the genome of the vine! As a rock journalist, I’ve worked twenty years for the Portuguese and Brazilian Rock Press. I ‘ve interviewed so many great artists. Then, one day I met FRANK ZAPPA! I got into trouble for introducing my wife to "Uncle Meat"!
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