Blues-rock prodigy Joe Bonamassa played the second of his three-night run at The Beacon Theater on New York City’s Upper West Side on Thursday night for a two-plus hour performance that started and ended with everyone on their feet. Full disclosure: my dad’s a massive Joe Bonamassa fan and that’s the only reason I even know who he is, and watching his live DVD from the Carnegie Hall performance told me everything I need to know about J.B. He’s been hailed as the savior of the blues and this generation’s guitar god, and he’s certainly on his own planet in terms of talent. We don’t typically cover things like this here but man, we should start.
Bonamassa is known for mixing blues and rock to create his own unique sound, and it’s hard to believe he’s been around as long as he has and is only 40. He opened for the late, legendary BB King when he was twelve, which speaks volumes to just how talented he is and has always been, and he’s part of the supergroup Black Country Communion with Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham, with all three currently doing their own things so it maybe a while before we see that group again. Sadly, the only Joe Bonamassa song I really know well is Driving Towards the Daylight, but after seeing him live I’ll be familiarizing myself with the rest of his catalog, posthaste.
There’s no setlist available online for this specific show, but the setlists for night one and night three are almost identical so it’s safe to assume night two was no different. The fun part was Slow Train played in the key of F because, as Bonamassa said, he “felt like it”. He’s the guy on stage, so I guess he gets to do whatever he wants, right? Assuming the setlist was mostly the same as the other two nights at The Beacon, that would mean J.B. played Blues of Desperation, Mountain Climbing, How Deep This River Runs, Last Kiss and a bunch of covers ranging from the musical stylings of Albert King to BB King and even Led Zeppelin.
There really isn’t much else to say at this point. Joe Bonamassa is an absolutely phenomenal guitarist rivaled only by so many. Gary Clark Jr, Eric Clapton in his younger days before arthritis took over, Page, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Brian May, BB King, Chuck Berry. That’s the conversation Joe Bonamassa is part of, and that he’s excluded from many “100 greatest guitarists” lists is a goddam Greek tragedy. I don’t know if there’s a blues guitarist alive other than Gary Clark Jr who can hold a candle to J.B, but they play completely different styles of blues that it wouldn’t even be a fair comparison. For a guy who’s only 40 years old, Joe Bonamassa might one day unseat Jimi as the greatest guitarist ever. If anyone dares to say it.