Joe Bonamassa: A sledgehammer ‘tween the eyes.

So we went to Orlando and walked the long mile to see Joe Bonamassa in the Hard Rock Cafe…Tia & I and 2 of our friends.  It was worth it.  WHAT A SHOW!  Crosby was very cool and did his warm up job, funny and talented.  Keeper.

Then out came the boys and there was lightning and thunder indoors.  Wait a sec…

When I came out of my self imposed musical retirement less than 2 years ago (after 16 years to raise my kids) I was aware that there would be changes in/on the scene.  I came out anyway.  I’ve seen countless sloppy guitar players and wannabes in the last 21 months.

Smoking Joe is the real deal.  No slop there.  A real guitar player.  A young Master.

Joe…a bar band you are not.  Very impressive what you’ve done.  Only someone who has studied the masters can do what you do, that is, successfully take it “outside of the box” to the next limit. 

Thanks for letting me get that picture between you and Carmine.  Maybe now, my fingers will work on my bass.

My wife and friends sat with their mouths open for a number or two and then erupted in screaming applause.  It was a treat for me to see Ms. Tia enjoy herself so completely.  You definitely pulled out all the stops on this last show of this tour.  Now my friends KNOW where I’m coming from.  THANK YOU Joe and company for the sledgehammer between the eyes.

The Hard Rock Cafe crowd was (sometimes too) rowdy and was quite vocal even when Joe tried to shush them just a little.  Joe, you just took it all in stride and exhibited, once again, that you are the consummate professional. 

Listen people, when JB came off mic to sing “If I ever get to Heaven, and I’m praying that I do…”  I hollered “You will Joe.  You will!” and the crowd roared its approval.  Even the drunks in the back of the room.

I figured out later that night while we were celebrating Rick’s birthday why I felt hope when I heard them play in West Palm Beach.  It is because of that professionalism stacked on top of his prodigious talent.  I have watched greatness disentegrate under the strain of this business and all the excesses that go with the lifestyle, in my 35+ years in & out of the music biz.  The veterans know of what I speak.  I HAVE HOPE…

Joe came out wearing a sport coat; dressed like a blues man.  Bogey, Carmine & Rick were attired like the pro sideman they are and the overall show was visual as well as musical.  The emotional sounds and vocals that poured off that stage were raw but polished.  Figure that out.  They filled up the room.

Tight changes and a perfect mix give the edge that a band needs to cross the line into greatness.  Joe, you and your guys have that edge.  Take the blues to the next stage.

During the acoustic set in the middle, I heard someone say “I didn’t know a human being could move their fingers that fast.”  In Espanol my old guitar teacher called those exercises with those Arabesque type scales “Aranas” which means spiders.  Outside the box…genius executed perfectly.  Only thousands of hours of hard work and practice could give you that.

I HAVE HOPE…I recently auditioned a guitarist and it went on for two hours.  When somebody “Look at the time,” my drummer said, “That’s a miracle…as abusive as this guy is to most guitar players.” pointing at me.  Nice huh?  My wife and daughter were dancing in the kitchen.

Joe, maybe one day we’ll sit and talk.  Ms. Tia called my number one son at college and bragged about you.  She just doesn’t do that sort of thing.  He’s a guitarist, too.  So you got high marks, young sir.  Enjoy your Holiday.  Then on to Europe.

Happy Birthday Rick!  Many more, mate!  I checked out that funk on your web site.  NICE!

Bogey, so nice to see a southern boy make good.  You have my number…call it.  If we get to LA and you are in town, Tia & I will hang out for sure.  Thanks for the invite.

Carmine you fed me again.  Gracias mi ‘mano.  Yo te amo.  Next time I’ll eat before I come…maybe.  Tia looks good, huh?  I’m overjoyed that we got a chance to see you, even though you told stories about me to that backstage crowd.(GRIN) Loved that.  The terrible trio survived!  I celebrate that, even while we speak of & mourn the ones we’ve lost along the way. 

A word about Hard Rock Cafe:  Don’t be too hard on the employees there.  They have corporate minded bosses and they have an industrial theme park mindset.  I feel for those who missed their chance after the show, but there’s time now to prepare for the next Orlando event.  One thing nobody will deny:  the sound there’s SPOT ON!  Good equipment.

Joe, I would vote to give B.B. King’s new club a closer look.  I have not been there, but most of Daytona Beach has some buzz going on about it.  Or maybe in Daytona Beach?

The blues are in good hands with Joe Bonamassa, y’all!  Rest well. 
Merry Christmas and may God bless.


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