Joe Bonamassa at Hampton Court. Surrey Advertiser review ****

“Hello Hampton Court” says the blues man dressed in black, halfway through his performance at the Palace’s annual music Festival. “We’re happy to come back here and play too loud and too many notes.”

Blues guitar titan Joe Bonamassa first drew attention when he supported BB King for 20 shows at the tender age of 12. He is a phenomenal technical player, this almost two-hour set had twelve tracks, all featuring blistering guitar solos, most but not all at breakneck speed, some lasting two or three minutes.

Bonamassa began with four numbers from his forthcoming studio album out in September, including the heavy blues King Bee Shakedown and the slower soul-influenced Self Inflicted Wounds.

More familiar tracks followed, including Some Other Day, Some Other Time and Slow Train “an old song in a new way”.

Bonamassa is not your traditional blues player, heavier than most, faster than most and mixing up styles with blues to rock and even some boogie woogie thrown in for good measure with a fun cover of Led Zeppelin’s Boogie With Stu.

This was a no compromise performance, high octane blues from start to finish. His adoring fans revered him, new material and old.

No mean slouch as a vocalist, Bonamassa brought his regular and talented band of drums, bass, sax, trumpet, keys and two backing vocalists from Australia who use their powerful voices as another instrument, layering to the blues wall of sound the main man produces.

When he returned for the encore Bonamassa said “Give the people what they want” and launched into a stunning version of “Sloe Gin”. This was exactly what the crowd wanted.

If you like your blues loud with too many notes Joe Bonamassa is the man for you.

Chaz Brooks

PHOTO CREDIT: Laurence Harvey

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