I first discovered Joe Bonamassa years ago in Atlanta where he opened for blues legends Kenny Wayne Shepherd & B.B. King. It was late in the afternoon on an airless summer day when Bonamassa and his two band mates hit the stage to perform in front of a sunlit and sparsely attended venue. Granted there were a couple of in-the-know die-hard Bonamassa fans (who probably bought tickets just to see him), but the rest of us were spread few and far between, hoping that the opening act was worth bearing the heat.
I don’t want to get too wrapped up in reminiscence, but it turned out that Bonamassa’s performance was the most memorable aspect of the entire evening. The synergy between the three band mates was phenomenal, especially as they went from low tempo blues to fast paced, technically ludicrous solos. As a fan of blues-inspired rock (and rock-inspired blues), I knew I had stumbled on one of the preeminent creative forces in either genre. Even if you aren’t a fan of either, you might still enjoy seeing a live performance of “Don’t Burn Down That Bridge” – the closing track on A New Day Yesterday Live (2002).
I haven’t kept up with the band since that night so I can’t speak to their more recent releases, but there is something about that unique place and time that will never lose its magic. Try it out and see what you think!