Joe Bonamassa has played the Royal Albert Hall before – if memory serves, twice before – and it has a special place in his memory and his history.

The sold out crowd definitely had a special place in their hearts for Joe Bonamassa and from the opening notes of ‘This Train’ they were bopping and boogieing.

It helps that he has an awesome band behind him with a major name in every point in the lineup and including Stevie Ray Vaughan’s favourite keyboardsman Reese Wynans, Anton Fig on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass but the bottom line is that he could turn up with a pickup band from the depths of rural Cornwall and he’d still be Joe Bonamassa. On stage, no matter how good the band, all eyes and ears are on Joe.

The set was a long one, nearly two and a half hours, but it went through in the blink of an eye. Changing guitars with regularity – I spotted a couple of Strats, a Tele, a Gibson Les Paul and a couple of Flying V’s as well as a whole bunch I wasn’t familiar with – and every one perfectly suited to the song he was playing.

He covered a huge amount of material including a stunningly dark ‘Blues Of Desperation’ and set out a lonely and heavy place on a wonderful ‘Dust Bowl’. His soloing was, as you would expect, immaculate and his vocals right on the money.

There probably isn’t any other guitarist in the world who has the chops and the skills that JB does but you never get the feeling he is showing off. He seems to be enjoying playing as much as the crowd did listening to him.

Anyone who is ‘into’ Blues should experience Joe Bonamassa at least once (more is better) as you probably won’t hear a more skilled player or one who is better suited to playing live.

RAH is small enough to be still capable of getting the crowd in touch with him, the longer he plays the old vault the better.

There are two shows left in this tour:

BLACKPOOL OPERA HOUSE
SATURDAY 22nd APRIL 2017
24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444
Venue Box Office: 0844 856 1111
Tickets: www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Tickets: www.jbonamassa.com/tour-dates
97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HL
www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

SHEFFIELD ARENA
MONDAY 24th APRIL 2017
24 Hour Box Office: 0844 844 0444
Venue Box Office: 0114 256 56 56
Tickets: www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Tickets: www.jbonamassa.com/tour-dates
Broughton Lane, Sheffield, S9 2DF
www.sheffieldarena.co.uk

Picture by Laurence Harvey