Joe Bonamassa Playing on Dry Land In Cardiff

Joe Bonamassa Playing on Dry Land In Cardiff

Tonight, Joe Bonamassa opening his UK tour with a mix of jetlag and experiencing for the first time in 2018 playing on dry land. The Motorpoint Arena was ready and waiting and Joe B and his stupendous band delivered with fifteen deliciously tasty helpings of blues.

Joe Bonamassa did not seem jetlagged, he was pumped to deliver a night that will be etched on the musical antenna of everyone who had a seat tonight in Cardiff. Joe B was full of energy, confidence and the pure delight to be bringing his band to Cardiff once again. This was reflected in the inclusion early on in the set of new numbers which will be on the new album due out later this year.  Opening with King Bee Shakedown he hit the ground running with this rousing rockin’ and rolling number a real musical charge to make sure everyone one was sitting up in their seats revelling in the cascading riffs and licks from the Bonamassa guitar. His band around him were having fun from the horn section of the fabulous duo of Lee Thornberg and Paulie Cerra the renowned blues Saxophonist the dancing and tremendous backing duo from Australia Jade McRae & Juanita Tippins. Now into the mix and the compelling mix of drumming that is powerful and subtle, exquisite playing of the top hat as ever Anton Fig’s sticks and brushes ruled from the back. Adding to the rhythm and groove was bassist Michael Rhodes and magician on the keyboards Reese Wynans. The band that Joe surrounds himself with have been playing with him for years and tonight’s performance showed that this stability creates an innate understanding of the music and how to make Joe’s guitar and vocals buzz with vibrancy.

The set was a mix of something new, a lot of blue and something old. What had gone from the set-list and will be missed by many, despite the rising demand and popularity for gin, was that tonight Joe decided to drop Tim Curry’s Sloe Gin from the cabinet of songs.

The new tracks from the off led to some confusion as people thought I don’t know these, for me, it is always exciting to hear the music live before the studio version arrives. Just Cause You Can and Self-Inflicted Wounds are a pair of strong new Bonamassa numbers.

From his album Live at The Greek Theatre a tribute to the three Kings, his interpretations of Breaking Up Someone’s Home & I Get Evil had the crowds tapping their feet in time with the glorious blues, sharp exciting and entertaining.

The pair of numbers from Blues of Desperation worked well live. No Good Place For The Lonely with its confident driving beat and the change of the backdrop from red to deep blue and back to red added to the drama of the show. The number delivered in perfect harmony down to the matching Gibson Thunderbirds, guitar and bass creating a wonderful sound that reverberated around the arena. With a quick change of guitars How Deep This River Flows a number replete with delectable Bonamassa riffs and guitar fireworks. The long instrumental extravaganza once again making the show so much more than a guitar lead break. The keys danced through the melody and the horns a sting to the tail. Adding to the sparkling live rendition the horns and backing vocals filling out the sound in the arena.

Going back-in-time with Slow Train and Driving Towards the Daylight the arena was alive with pure musical joy. No longer could we sit as we wanted to Boogie with Stu along with Joe and his band. Closing with Led Zepplin’s How Many More Times reflecting his tour celebrating British Blues and forthcoming live album.

With the mix of instruments and the celebration of Joe B’s guitar playing that was gritty, harmonious and above all steeped in blues tones of every shade.  We wanted more, plenty of whoops, cheers and We Love You, Joe, bought the band back on stage for one final song for Cardiff tonight. Closing the night of fabulous live music with Hummingbird, a favourite number of Joe to play live and left the audience very satisfied as we stepped out of the arena with our heads full of riffs, and licks that Joe Bonamassa shared with us tonight courtesy of his dancing fingers over the six-strings.


Set List
King Bee Shakedown
Evil Mama
Just Cause You Can
Self-Inflicted Wounds
I Get Evil
No Good Place for the Lonely
How Deep This River Runs
Breaking Up Someone’s Home
Slow Train
Driving Towards the Daylight
Boogie With Stu
Last Kiss
How Many More Times



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Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Having heard all of the twelve tracks on the album live in 2016 when Simpson & Flemons visited Cardiff, I was delighted to be able to relive the night of live music once again. In fact, can re-live the experience as often as I like. The only things that are missing the presence of two great musicians and the interesting anecdotes and facts between the numbers giving context and a deeper understanding of the deep roots of the acoustic music being played. All twelve tracks have a purpose and in addition to the new arrangements and musicianship we have the blending, and mixing of British traditional music and blues in many guises and the common heritage of themes, lyrics and melodies the two traditions share.

The twelve tracks that are as they state ever popular to lovers of acoustic music, were recorded live during their sell-out autumn 2015 tour. Simpson and Flemons find a unity as they harmonise what are the common core of roots acoustic music from each side of the Atlantic. They find the common threads that show a deep psyche of roots music in the cultural memories of folk.  Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons champion traditional music that is still relevant and speaking to us today the modern audiences that packed their shows. The people travelled as did their music creating a river of creativity. Opening the album of delights with  Here we go as they pick up instruments and play.  Short Time Come Again No More reflects back across the Atlantic the suffering of the factory workers of the North West as well as those hit by the cotton famine of the American Civil War. A mirror image, re-working of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More it hits the message home hard and the lyrics win through. The instrumentation throughout is fresh, lively with an energy that makes your feet tap and becoming engaged. For many this album will be an introduction to the Quills as part of the multi-instrumentalist repertoire that is Dom Flemons, this pipe-like instrument can be heard on Bulldoze Blues, inspiration for Canned Heat’s Going Up Country this combined with his vocals that have an authority and intensity as he spans the octaves with a purity and a mighty fine holler when required. Combining Martin’s scintillating slide and acoustic finger picking style joining in with Dom’s Quills with a piping call and the percussive bones this is music that sings from the heart deep into your musical DNA. The vocals are full of emotional intensity, yet at the same time, every song has a simplicity letting the words tell that tale of people’s experiences we all recognise today. The mix is enticing with Champagne Charlie re-invigorated and Coalman Blues telling the story full of humour and pathos. Every track has something to say to you the whole album zings with the energy of a live performance with emotions,  and the charm of music delivered with love and care.  All the traditional numbers are arranged by Simpson and Flemons and into the mix is a Flemon’s original Too Long I’ve Been Gone fitting into the mix perfectly.  A definite for your acoustic collection. I recommend close the curtains block out the world, sit back and be absorbed into the music and the power of the lyrics.

Mr Martin Simpson & Mr Dom Flemons – Ever Popular Favourites – Fledgling Records

TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. My Money Never Runs Out
  2. John Hardy
  3. If I Lose
  4. Little Sadie
  5. Pay Day
  6. Short Time Come Again No More
  7. Too Long (!’ve Been Gone)
  8. Bulldoze Blues
  9. Stealin
  10. Champagne Charlie
  11. Coalman Blues
  12. Buckeye Jim