Guitar virtuoso, Joe Bonamassa, continues his hard hitting rock and blues tour on his second night at the iconic Chicago Theatre.
When Joe Bonamassa played The Chicago Theatre back in 2011, he told a story about the difficult path he had taken to get to play a venue of that size. On his second night in front of a packed house on Friday, nobody was in any doubt that this is a fitting venue for Bonamassa and his band.
The band for the current tour includes a three-piece horn section along with long time Bonamassa collaborators Tal Bergman on drums and Carmine Rojas on bass. Daniel Sadownick provided percussion whilst Kevin McKendree stood in on keys in place of Reese Wynans who was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble.
As the night kicked off, the music showcased the talents of the entire band with an obvious focus on Bonamassa’s phenomenal playing. “Oh Beautiful!” and “Never Give All Your Heart” showed the band making great use of dynamics with the music regularly building from broodingly quiet to devastatingly powerful. The set list contained a number of tips of the hat to blues greats, including Howlin’ Wolf’s Hidden Charms and Otis Rush’s Double Trouble along with tracks by Albert King, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix.
Joe Bonamassa lives in a world between rock and blues. His other projects, Black Country Communion and Rock Candy Funk Party, showcase his versatility. However, it’s in his solo work where he really shines. There are not many players in the world whom can play in the rock/blues space as well as Bonamassa. The ability to play with the speed and technicality of Joe Satriani before pulling back to infuse the feel and emotion of BB King or Muddy Waters is a rare talent.
As the set rolled on, the whole band got their chance to shine. The rhythm section was rock solid and the horn section added dimension. It’s also worth mentioning that whilst a lot of focus is, deservedly, placed on Bonamassa’s guitar playing; his voice was excellent throughout and seems to be getting stronger as he matures as an artist.
Some of the best keyboard playing was reserved until the final song of the night, “All Aboard,” with Bonamassa and Kevin McKendree trading off during call and return solos which closed out the show. It was a fitting end to a night of top class entertainment that left the crowd delighted and on its feet.