Whether you would prefer to live in a Red or Blue State, Joe Bonamassa showed that you can deliver a plethora of “Blues States” with his wide range of indigoes during his last concert of the year at Dolby Theatre.
Dressed in his classic “shaken, not stirred” attire, Joe B told the packed house that the music would emphasize songs from his latest two albums Blues in Desperation and the Grammy-nominated Live at the Greek Theatre, “but I’m not moving my piggy bank to make room for the award just yet” he joked. Two and a half hours, 16 songs and 8 different guitars later, he and his band of regulars Reese Wynans/key, Anton Fig/dr, Paulie Cerra/sax, Lee Thornburg/tp, Michael Rhodes/b, Ron Dziubla/sax and a pair of backup vocalists made the blues rock during “This Train,” swamp on the stomping “Mountain of Desperation” and get misty and noirish on the moody and shadowy “”Blues of Desperation.’
With both his street corner vocals more styles and deliveries on his Gibson guitars than Mariano Rivera, Bonamassa could take you to a 12th Street and Vine on the Kansas City laden “I Gave Up Everything For You ‘Cept The Blues” or drop you onto Beale Street for a simmering Memphis stew on “No Good Place For the Lonely.” A mix of Bo Diddley grooves with an Aerosmith twist had the guitarist go tender to the Fender, making the strings meow like a kitten as Wynans smoldered on the B3. The foot stomping “Never Make Your Move Too Soon” allowed the horn section to purr, growl and bebop while Bonamassa snarled out the lyrics before making the audience feel it was part of the Chittlin’ Circuit with Wynans pulling out all of his Professor Longhairs on a striding “”Don’t You Lie To Me.”
Closing down the evening with a smoking King read of “Going Down” his playing mixed both urgency, style and passion, even at this late stage of the show giving a flip of vibrato on strings when a lesser man would have coasted through the prodigious solo. Stripped down to basic Led Zeppelin standards, Bonamassa took a medley of the classic “How Many More Times” with “The Hunter” and took it on a series of serious stratified Stratocaster excursions to exotic musical lands.
Even Midnight Blue was painted on the canvas, as the encore tribute to the recently departed Leon Russell’s “Hummingbird” mixed the romantic blue night with passionate gospel blue voices, showing that whether in the church, street or club, blue is a color that fits everywhere.
Upcoming shows at The Dolby Theatre include Straight No Chaser 12/30 and Regina Spektor 04/08