The first time Joe Bonamassa came to Sydney, Australia back in March 2010 he played a 1000 ticket venue called The Factory Theatre (read my review here), the next time he came back downunder in 2011 he knew he had a good following so wisely upgraded the venue to the Enmore Theatre (read my review here). This time Joe obviously decided to give another venue a try, the State Theatre, which is an amazing building with chandeliers a plenty, in fact this is the venue BB King played on his last visit to Australia.
Joe opened the show all alone on stage with an acoustic guitar playing “Seagull” before being joined by his long time crazy looking drummer and percussionist Tal Bergman who as you can see in the above video played Congas and Bongos for “Dislocated Boy”. Joe also played an acoustic version of “Driving towards the daylight” from his latest solo album and “Woke Up Dreaming” before trading his acoustic guitar for his trusty Les Pauls. Funnily enough the second part of the show opened with the same song that he opened with last time around, “Slow Train” probably because it is easy to build the intro before launching into the slow grinding blues track from Bonamassa’s 2011 album ‘Dust Bowl’. Other tracks that Joe played included ‘Dust Bowl’, ‘The Ballad of John Henry’ and the classic Gary Moore track ‘Midnight Blues’.
Unfortunately the distance to Australia is so great that Joe doesn’t bring his constantly evolving monster rig that has been the subject of many a video and forum discussion. Instead he simply hired a few Marshall half stacks and brought along a Clearsonic amp shields to avoid the horrible beaming effect guitar speakers can have on the front few rows of an audience, I was particularly grateful being 6 rows from the front.
I should also mention the support act for the State Theatre, an incredible Australian talent called Claude Hay. I hadn’t heard of Claude before but I will have to get along to see him play the next time he’s in town. Claude is a one man band that use a looper and a collection of interesting guitars coupled with a simple drumkit to create songs on the fly. He even played slide on an electric Sitar that sounded unreal! Check out this video of Claude and his looper in action – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3ifji_kku8.