Joe Bonamassa

Brought The Blues

And Boogie

To Conner Palace

March 10, 2020

Joe Bonamassa is one of the best guitarists playing today.


Any genre, any style. 




Although he may not be a household name, lovers of the Blues and overall great guitar playing packed the Connor Palace Theater on Saturday night to hear this guitar virtuoso.  


Bonamassa and his crack backing band featuring drummer Anton Fig, bassist Michael Rhodes, Lee Thornburg on trumpet, Paulie Cerra on sax and a replacement for Hall of Fame keyboardist Reese Wyans who was rehearsing for the upcoming Allman Brothers reunion, were spot on and note perfect all evening long. 


Kicking off the show with “Woke Up Dreaming” from 2016’s Blues of Desperation, Bonamassa was off and running. 


This man plays with heart and passion and pours himself into every solo that he plays.  

And he plays a solo at the beginning, middle and end of almost every song.  


Even though he has written many original songs from his thirteen studio albums, he still pays homage to some of the blues masters that came before him in concert.  Tunes like “I Get Evil” by Albert King, “Well Well” by Delaney and Bonnie and “Nobody Loves Me but My Mother” by B.B. King, all made their way into the set list.


One of the many highlights of the evening was his own song “Blues of Desperation.”


Bonamassa was a man of few words, but he did thank the audience for coming out.  He also noted that he felt that he was the house band for Ohio as he and his band would play all around the state when he was first starting out.  


He is also a vintage guitar collector and he played many different guitars throughout the evening.  From a few different Les Paul’s, to a Stratocaster, Telecaster and even a Gibson ES. There was a rumor going around that Bonamassa went to a local Guitar Center and purchased a vintage 1953 Les Paul with a pretty hefty price tag. 


The set ended with a great cover of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” which featured the ending solo of Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” with some fancy improvisation. 


The band come back to encore with “Mountain Time.”


I haven’t been as impressed with a guitarist since I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1988.  Joe Bonamassa is clearly carrying that torch. 

If you like your blues with a little more of a rock edge and a little bit of boogie, do yourself a favor and check out Joe Bonamassa the next time he comes to town. 

Review and photos by Greg Drugan

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