Joe Bonamassa live at The Royal Albert Hall in London 2019

Nearly 10 years to the day that he first played The Royal Albert Hall, Joe Bonamassa has come a long way since he first stepped out on that hallowed stage. From a nervous young guitar prodigy to a modern blues icon, he has been recording and touring almost non-stop for the last decade. Tonight he is back for the first of three nights in a row at that same legendary venue.
Joe Bonamassa London shows 2019 poster
Opening his set with a joyous run through of Muddy Water’s “Tiger In Your Tank” , Joe proceeds to play a superb set of songs from his most recent album “Blues of Desperation”. While the album is very good, it’s live that the songs really come into their own, with a horn section giving them that extra boost of energy.
A true master of his craft, Joe Bonamassa is now also a confidant band leader with a seasoned group of legendary musicians behind him, from SRV keyboard player Reese Wynans to session great Anton Fig on the drums.
Bonamassa is well known for his reputation as the self-declared mayor of Nerdsville when it comes to guitars and tonight he is changing guitars almost every song, bringing out his Firebird for the stomping title track “Blues of Desperation” before going back to his trusty Les Paul ‘59 for the truly epic blues “How Deep This River Runs”.
Picking up the late Alvin Lee’s iconic Woodstock guitar, Joe thanks everyone who was here 10 years ago and proceeds to bring out 14 year old blues guitarist Toby Lee to jam with him. It is a special moment watching Bonamassa take on the role of the mentor and it feels like he has come full circle from the 11 year old who started his career jamming with BB King.
Bonamassa slows things down for a sublime version of “Nobody Loves Me but My Mother”. Peeling off searing licks on that legendary guitar is a marvel to watch. “Last Kiss” makes a return to the set with an extended duel between Reese on the keys and Joe’s guitar.
As the house lights go down and the cheering starts we have comfortably passed the two hour mark. Bonamassa returns for an encore that starts with the blistering acoustic showcase “Woke Up Dreaming” before ending with a spectacular “Mountain Time”, which finally brings the house down. Tonight Bonamassa gave the fans a breathtaking master class in the blues that won’t be forgotten soon.

PS1: Special thx to Peter Noble for making it happen!

PS2: Special thx to Kahmel Farahani for the gig review.

PS3: Photo credits: Marty Moffat and Zoran Veselinovic (the photo with Joe and Toby Lee).