Topic: Perth, Western Australia; 23 May 2011
Amazing, unforgettable night.
Joe's 1st ever show in the Western half of the continent so most of us had never had the chance of hearing him in a live show. So expectations were high amongst those of us who knew Joe's legendary status; and expectations uncertain amongst the many who had come to hear the guy based on heresay, and his frequent mention in certain guitar-based publications.
Well he didn't disappoint... So in a few nutshells:
THE SETLIST: Pretty much as expected, much the same as posted for his Newcastle show review. I've posted the Perth list below anyway. Joe doesn't vary the list much. But it's good; something for everyone, (unless you came to see Joe do his "country thang"). No low spots.
THE BAND: Fantastic musicians, powerful and tight, looked like they enjoyed themselves, really cooked hot; the embers on which Joe burned.
THE GEAR: A privilege to hear Joe's '59 Les Paul downunder. Beautiful sweet tone, that can also snarl, bite, caress, and ignite. The range of tones Joe extracted was incredible from this 1 block of wood. Joe's other guitars also sounded killer. Not the usual choice he has on tour (4 guitars total for us Oz lads) but did the job and left us spellbound with tone. Initial disappointment he couldn't bring his full amp rig to Oz but the bunch of hired Marshalls sounded amazing, testament to the fact that a lot of the tone is in the fingers, not the electronics. And in Perth they didn't blow up. Bonus.
THE AUDIENCE: Perth audiences can sometimes be hard to crack, a bit reserved sometimes, a bit restrained. Comes from the isolation I think. But from where I sat it felt that Joe connected from the the time he strode on stage, stompin' and firing that goddam' Cradle Rock. From there the crowd were in his hands and responded to the call. A knowledgeable crowd (where are the young people?), and very appreciative that Joe had made the effort to cross the country for 1 night. I hope Joe caught the crowd vibe cos it was hot...
THE GUITARIST: Well Mr Bonamassa was simply superb, stunning, superlative. Despite his gruelling touring he played with passion, and with fire. On top of his game. As a guitar player myself it was a humbling experience. As a member of the crowd it was uplifting. It has been a journey of wonder to see Joe evolve as a guitar player. I felt last night that he has now assimilated his influences, cooked them up, seasoned and flavored, and now is producing THE signature JB style. His lead style crosses genres, is technically profound, passionate, and often singing and highly lyrical, spiced with notes from exotic scales, amazing dynamics, soars with eagles than dowses in flowers. What hasn't changed is his ability to make one's jaw hit the floor, and that's what mine did, numerous times, unbelievable.
THE HOPE is that Joe will be back to the West, again before too long. And that he has a whole legion of new fans.
THE HIGHLIGHTS: Too many to mention.
THE LOWLIGHTS: None
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: I didn't catch one of Joe's picks flung into the crowd.
THANKS: to Joe and his incredible band, one of the best live shows of my life.
THE SETLIST (if you want it)
So Many Roads
When The Fire Hits The Sea
So, It's Like That
If Heartaches Were Nickels
The Ballad of John Henry
Steal Your Heart Away
Young Man Blues
Woke Up Dreaming
Just Got Paid/D and C