Joe Bonamassa // Austin City Limits Live // Review
So tonight we have the pleasure of watching the great Joe Bonamassa in one of the most iconic venues steeped in Blues history, the famed Austin City Limits Live which includes some of the most famous live performances ever captured on tape by fellow bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and another iconic six-string maestro Eric Johnson. But tonight Joe takes the stage advertised as a Blues-Trio but more of a power-quartet featuring the amazing Anton Fig on drums and mercurial Steve Mackey on bass and (a hapless) Jade MacRae on backing vocals sadly trapped in the US due to the covid lockdown! A rare sight of a small socially distanced crowd of 700 people in the room and I’m kinda jealous! Joe is wearing his Sunday best, a sparkly blue number which is a detour from his usual black suit, but that’s not what we’re here for.
We are here for the music and the trio kick off the night with ‘Oh Beautiful’ and its a gnarly intro and a killer solo that just seems unforgiving as an opening number, I couldn’t imagine going right in there with such a vicious and blistering opener, no rest for the wicked where Joe is concerned. ‘Love Ain’t A Love Song’ keeps up the pace with an up-tempo and equally punishing track that cuts through the mix like a hot knife through butter. Joe then shares his take on a cover/tribute to the late great Gary Moore with ‘Midnight Blues.’ Joe has that killer tone that Gary wore like a badge of honour and ‘Midnight Blues’ wouldn’t be the same without it. Four songs in with ‘Lookout Man’ and Joe is on his fourth guitar too, Tele in hand he’s run through a Strat, Les Paul and one other I kinda feel for his guitar tech at this stage and we’re only breaking our way into the set now. A new song, new guitar and Joe exchanges banter with the crowd as a new more personable Bonamassa have emerged out of the Covid-19 chaos, hosting Sirus XM Blues Shows to his own and highly entertaining ‘Live From Nerdville’ series where he interviews various musicians the only way he knows how it allows you an insight of the mind of the genius that is Joe Bonamassa but also another side of his personality that some may not have seen.
Joe covers yet another classic in Tom Waite’s ‘Jockey Full Of Bourbon’ with his own unique take with majestic control and Awe-inspiring musical dexterity that just blows the mind.Joe also revisits some of his earlier material here such as ‘Pain And Sorrow’ from way back in 2002 which stands up just as well today as it did back then, using a roadworn Strat with the most sublime tone and pentatonic runs that melt your face it’s one killer track. Joe really pushes the boundaries on this one to showcase his animalistic, in-the-zone playing. Another blast from the past with ‘Miss You, Hate You’ from way back in 2000 has early Joe reminiscing about lost love, bless his wee cotton socks. This track however does allow Anton Fig on the drums to flex his musical muscles before Joe goes all SRV on our asses with his rendition of ‘Scuttlin Buttlin’, well we are in Austin after all! Without the blink of an eye, we go from Stevie Ray to (JB) Jeff Beck for another seriously tasty homage to one of the greats in ‘Blues De Luxe’ where Joe just showcases all that poise, touch, tone and control that a lifetime honing your craft can only do. Joe and co. wrap up the initial set with one of his classic’s ‘The Ballad Of John Henry’ but with a slightly more edgy take on the usual version. The compulsory encore see’s the night en route to as close but not before Joe hits the stage with an acoustic with a furious rendition of ‘Woke Up Dreaming’ and finally a Robert Johnson cover to pay tribute to where it all ultimately all started for so many with ‘Cross Road Blues’ A savage cover, rip-roaring and a fitting close to a stellar show.
Bonamassa delivers mixing it up, keeping us mere mortals on our toes absolutely knocking it out of the park once again!
Love Ain’t a Love Song
(Gary Moore cover)
Beyond the Silence
Jockey Full of Bourbon
(Tom Waits cover)
Pain and Sorrow
Miss You, Hate You
(Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble cover)
Blues De Luxe
(Jeff Beck cover)
The Ballad of John Henry
Woke Up Dreaming
Cross Road Blues
(Robert Johnson cover)
ANNOUNCES ONE-NIGHT-ONLY LIVESTREAM PAY PER VIEW EVENT
LIVESTREAM WILL RAISE MONEY FOR FUELING
MUSICIANS PROGRAM TO HELP ARTISTS IN NEED
Joe Bonamassa is known for being “always on the road”. This time he is bringing the concert into the homes of fans around the world in an epic pay-per-view performance from the live music capital of the world – Austin, Texas.
On April 1st at 9PM ET, he will perform a specially curated set from Austin City Limits Live, alongside Late Night with David Letterman’s Anton Fig on drums and legendary bass player Steve Mackey, as a rare 3-piece Blues Rock power trio!
The live stream concert will be available “On-Demand” for 1 month after the live airing to anyone who purchases tickets. Fans who purchase the virtual live stream ticket will have the chance to watch the entire concert for repeated viewings until May 2021.
Austin is one of the first spots Joe originally performed as a three-piece, years ago at legendary Antone’s, and the city saw the rise of guitar visionary Stevie Ray Vaughan. Austin City Limits Live, known as “music’s best address,” is a national landmark and was awarded “Best New Major Concert Venue” by Pollstar when it opened.
Austin has been home to some incredible artists over the years such as B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Santana, Paul McCartney, Peter Frampton, and Bonamassa himself as well as many others. ACL Live is a world-class stage to perform at and no doubt, Bonamassa will bring his incredible power to the stage, making his own mark on its history.
This event especially goes out to the fans, who via social media, have made their stamp on the evening, selecting their favorite Bonamassa tunes from his unparalleled, extensive catalogue of 24 #1 studio albums and countless productions, to create a very special set list. It will be a new and exciting celebration of some searing hits from his earliest influences as well as amazing original compositions embodying the guitar mastery that he is best known for. This highly curated set will more than delight longtime super fans as well as captivate new ones.
There are a variety of pricing levels available for fans worldwide to be a part of this special “audience.” Tickets to the livestream event starts at $30. Fans may also purchase a $44.99 package that includes a limited-edition commemorative t-shirt, or upgrade to the Deluxe package for $64.99 which also features the Ultimate Video Collection, a 1-year all pass for Bonamassa’s on-demand service which includes 17+ concert releases from Joe Bonamassa, Black Country Communion, and Rock Candy Funk Party – available at any time on most devices.
As part of this unique concert event, fans also have the option to purchase a Commemorative VIP ticket giving them an experience they will never forget. VIP ticket holders will have their photo and name featured in the livestream credits and DVD credits as a virtual audience member.
Joe Bonamassa is one of the most celebrated performing musicians of today. Hailed internationally as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, Guitar World has honoured him as “the world’s biggest blues guitarist.” The TWO TIME GRAMMY-nominated artist has almost single-handedly redefined the blues-rock genre and brought it into the mainstream. Joe recently received his 24th #1 album on the Billboard Blues Chart with the studio album “Royal Tea”, a nod to his British heroes, recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
Amidst the pandemic, Joe performed the “Royal Tea” album in its entirety before its release last September at the iconic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with over 17,000 virtual tickets sold, reaching 44 different countries. The event also raised over $32,000 for Bonamassa’s Fueling Musicians program, presented by his non-profit Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation (KTBA). Now Joe is ready to hit the stage again for an even more exciting, fan-curated experience at Austin City Limits Live. Each ticket purchase for the Livestream will include a $1 donation to ‘Fueling Musicians’.
Bonamassa has been working hard to raise money for musicians affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Fueling Musicians program is an emergency relief fund designed to support musicians by providing immediate cash payments for essential living expenses of $1,500 to help them stay afloat and get back on the road again when it is safe. To date, they have raised over $380,000 and distributed the money to over 230 artists. In fact, they are getting checks delivered to some folks who have yet to even receive their support from the government stimulus. As someone who has spent most of his life on the road, Joe knows the clear and evident impact of the crisis on his entertainment community. For those interested in donating, visit HERE
While much of the applause Bonamassa receives should be credited to his sheer talent, some part of his success needs to be attributed to Joe and his business partner for having the foresight and ability to become some of music’s savviest entrepreneurs. Bonamassa now 43, and his partner Roy Weisman have together devised a 360-degree independent business model that has survived and thrived during one of the music industry’s most uncertain eras, particularly considering the challenges created by the current pandemic.
In addition to the Livestream, Bonamassa has announced a select run of live, limited capacity, safe and socially distanced in-person shows for March and April through Macon, GA, Clearwater, FL, Austin, TX, and Huntsville, AL. Tickets for those events can be purchased HERE
03/27 – MACON, GA – MACON CITY AUDITORIUM (SOLD OUT) 03/29 – CLEARWATER, FL – RUTH ECKERD HALL 03/31 – AUSTIN, TX – ACL LIVE 04/01 – AUSTIN, TX – ACL LIVE 04/03 – HUNTSVILLE, AL – MARK C SMITH CONCERT HALL (SOLD OUT)
Joe continues to crank out weekly programming for his radio show “Different Shades Of Blue” for Sirius XM’s Bluesville channel. Last year, he kicked off a new at-home weekly video interview series “Live From Nerdville” which currently has over 40 episodes aired on his Facebook, YouTube, and Podcast outlets. With a new episode each week, Joe has featured conversations with Neal Schon of Journey, John Oates of Hall & Oates, Glenn Hughes, Paul Stanley of Kiss, Warren Haynes, Keb’ Mo’, Walter Trout, Steve Lukather of Toto, Bob Lefsetz, esteemed singer-songwriter Dion and is currently booking new names for his 3rd season.
In June 2020, Bonamassa and his manager Roy Weisman debuted their new record label Keeping The Blues Alive Records by releasing music icon Dion’s critically acclaimed latest album “Blues With Friends”.
On February 26th, KTBA Records released Joanna Connor’s new album “4801 South Indiana Avenue” that featured the singles “I Feel So Good”, “Destination”, and “Bad News”. Described by many pundits as Chicago’s reigning Queen of blues-rock guitar, Joanna’s album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Albums Chart.
To keep up with everything Bonamassa, visit jbonamassa.com and stay connected on social media.
Joe Bonamassa // Austin City Limits Live // Review