WOW. Those three little letters could very well be all that is needed to describe last night’s electric Joe Bonamassa performance at the Warfield in San Francisco. And if I didn’t need to write this article, I’d just leave it at that, since honestly, it would be enough to describe last night’s epic display of guitar prowess by Joe and his gang of bluesmen.
The magic happened the moment the statuesque guitar player casually picked up his instrument, and what transpired was two hours of heavy blues/rock, tasty licks, and shaking grooves, a sound that isn’t heard very often in pop music today.
The layout of the venue also was unusual. To accommodate for what seemed like a more mature crowd, the floor was turned from its usual standing room only area to all seating. This didn’t prevent people much from bopping and weaving to the music that everyone was enjoying. If anything it prevented people from spilling their drinks on the people in front.
He kicked off the set with “This Train,” then quickly jumped into “Mountain Climbing” and “Blues of Desperation.” He then laced effortlessly one blues progression after the next, all backed by an all-star band that comprised legends such as Anton Fig (Late Show with David Letterman) on drums and Reese Wynans (Stevie Ray Vaughn) on the Keys.
To show his appreciation for the standing ovations that the crowd provided after every song, the California local with the wit and charm of a seasoned professional quipped about the area, “We’re a sunny place with shady kinda of people. But you’re just my type.” As if at that point the audience didn’t love him already enough already, they became even more enamored from that point forward.
Photos by Louis Raphael