Topic: Sheffield Boardwalk 24 Sept
Drove the 100 miles to see Joe at Sheffield on an unseasonably warm Sunday evening.
Passing the venue on the way to park the car saw that the SOLD OUT signs were already up. Good job I had bought tickets the instant they were available At the gig with my 19 YO son and a friend who had never heard of Joe (apart from me telling him loads of times!!) It's the third time I have seen Joe but still had to go and stand at the front of the stage - when you get the chance to see your music hero you don't want to stand at the back do you !! Great to see there were a group of young (18/19ish ??) guys also at the front and obviously up for a great night along with other young right through to older people. Great music is universal after all !!
Support band were an exciting more rock than blues three piece Stone Sole River. A guy on the merchandise stall told me we wouldn't be disappointed with them - and he was smack on the button. Really enjoyed their very tight set of original numbers and my son and I agreed that we would buy the CD at the end of the gig - which we did. The band were at the desk chatting to the crowd at the end ala Joe and signed the said CD. Many thanks guys - it's great when bands take time out to meet the cheering arm wavers. Haven't had time to listen to the CD but I'm really looking forward to it (long drive south tomorrow. Methinks the M6 will hear the results ;-)
The guys had a great raport with the audience and asked if we were looking forward to seeing Joe. Guess what the response was!!
These guys deserve a plug here - so check out their website www.stonesoleriver.com
Just a short wait while the stage was rearranged and the great moment arrived. Bogie belting out that awsome beat, the bass nicely cooking along and an unseen Joe gently playing some tantalising sounds. To a great cheer, Joe appeared from the left of the stage and into Taking the Hit. Even alcohol free (driving!!) I couldn't help but jump up and punch the air.................probably not on my own. The night was so exciting I can't remember the whole set list but it was a constant bombardment of high octane full on JB. I particularly remember Mountain Time starting and trying to tell my mate it was one of my favourite songs whilst trying to keep the raised hairs on my neck under control !! It seemed there may have been a slight tuning problem which was unfortunate with such a tender opening few bars - but I think that was unsurprising in the now rising mega heat. However, all was good.
The band really seemed to be having a great time. I love it when Bogie flashes a genuine smile - which he did often - I guess it meant real enjoyment. I wonder how bands can keep such enthusiasm and energy up when they play night after night the almost same set to different people but I think this band genuinely loves every single minute - I guess with the quality of the music, that's not as difficult as I first thought.
Joe was communicating with the audience a great deal -which again I think reflects the fun they were having. Standing at the front I could see the little glances and smiles that he was giving to us during some of the playful guitar phrases. Incredible with a capital F !! He had me laughing when during a Freddie Mercury like sing along during Burning Hell he stopped to tell us that the band sing 13 songs every night of every week of every year of every decade and all he was asking us to do was sing 4 lines. We had to raise the volume level of our singing back !! Temendous music awsome atmosphere and great fun. Joe kept coming right to the very edge of the stage so you (ie the lucky ones at the front) could see every note fretted in great detail which was simply brilliant. The guitar was within strummable distance. No rock star aloofness with our man.
The music seemed to get louder about halfway through the set and maybe sometimes it seemed that the PA was pushing the absolute limits of its performance. My left ear is still ringing as I type this !!
I saw Joe at the same venue in February and he said that there were 125 people in that night and last night there were 405 - full house. Is this the time Joe is about to become more than a "secret" ?
Joe introduced a "real cute chick" (sorry for the poor cliche - no sexism intended - but she was !!) onto the stage to play one song with the band. He was playing a blonde Gibbson 335 (??) at this stage, which was apt given the ladys hair ;-) I didn't get her name when Joe introduced her (Chantelle ?? - anyone know ?) but she sure has some....err.....balls to play with the band from a cold start when the band were cooking !! Well done there then. At one point she was looking at Joe in the same way I look at my guitar teacher when his fingers disappear into an unfathomable blur and he says "now you" My admiration goes out to her...........and my sheer unbridalled envy for playing a few licks in front of an appreciative audience with the master.
Joe played a solo accoustic spot half way through the set on the Takamine I think which totally and utterly delivered and more. Besides the sheer musical genius the actual physical demands must be tremendous for such a performance.
I met a really nice guy in the audience who had travelled from Hull for the gig and had never seen Joe before and we were chatting between the two bands. We were both impressed by the SSR spot but I told him that he was in for a real treat in the couple of hours to come. I think he was suitably impressed. Another convert !!
There were flashes of other peoples music through the night - Spoonful was aired and towards the end a play around with Led Zeps Dazed and Confused where Joe showed the real meaning of spanking the plank !!
Joe told the audience that he never thought he would be in a bar in Sheffield drinking a pint of Guinness and seeing a guy in a Joe Bonamassa tee shirt, and that it was "really cool" I wonder if they really know how popular they are with the music loving public. Anyway, I'll be wearing my JB teeshirt at the Blackpool gig - maybe that will be cool too
Thanks for the Blackpool gig Joe - it means that my 14 YO son can see you. I booked tickets already and the club owner told me that it probably wasn't neccessary as they are a sizable venue and probably wouldn't get sold out. On the evidence of last night in Sheffield - I'm not so sure !! Here's hoping.
Thanks for a great gig. I'm sure there were many JB converts made on this tour.