Can words describe Joe Bonamassa on stage? If you’ll pardon my feeble attempt, here’s a description of what happened up on the mezzanine level in Harrisburg last night.
Before we went up, the crowd outside was psyched, buzzing with excitement waiting to get in and see The Man. One woman asked me for a light, and mentioned she has never seen him before but heard such great reviews she felt compelled to come. I told her there was a word for her - Bonavirgin – and warned her that she would never be the same again, so she should remember this moment in time because she was about to get Bonabaptized, and later, when she exits the building with a religious fervor for Joe B, she would understand what I was trying to tell her. Did she think I was being melodramatic? Probably, but she graciously smiled and laughed. Little did she know… (more on her later)
And there he was. Larger than life… with that presence. He owned the stage. He is a showman. He is the man. Does he understand how he mesmerizes the audience? How time stops when his fingers work their magic? I think so, but I’m not sure he fully understands his power to hypnotize. He goes to the zone. He IS the music. It is clear he loves what he does, and we believe it. I believe it.
The show was powerful, with a great line up. I thought some of his songs were better than I’ve ever seen him perform before. I personally thought Further on Up the Road was even better than RAH. (Yes, I said it, and I make no apologies for it.) Last Kiss and So Many Roads were kickin’. It’s always magic when Joe plays Sloe Gin, but last night… it was… a religious experience. Or maybe it was a sexual experience. I’m not sure, LOL. I’ve never seen him nail it like that. Every nuance of every note was the most incredible experience I’ve ever heard/seen/felt. I looked around and realized everyone – EVERYONE - was sitting on the edge of their seats. That’s when I noticed I was too! I was holding my breath. People were sighing. Gasping. Those five rows on the mezzanine level literally forgot to breathe! This will sound lame, but I cried, just a little. (I cried! What was that about? Joe nailed the emotion lyrically and musically.)
I won’t bore you with more details because most of you reading this were probably there, but I have to tell you about our girl. I was hanging around the lobby killing a few minutes before heading out to the bus, hoping for a chance to meet Joe, when who walked up and touched my arm with this doe-in-the-headlights look in her eyes. It was our Bonavirgin. She said, “Do you remember me? I just had to tell you. You were right. You were so right.” And then she was speechless. She looked at me with this look that begged for an explanation of what just happened to her. I smiled and laughed, and silently proclaimed her Bonabaptized. Another soul has clearly joined our masses, and she will go forth and proselytize. I think we have a new recruit for the Street Team!
You bring your guitar and I'll bring the wine. - Little Feat