Joe Bonamassa
November 19, 2011
Columbia, SC
Township Auditorium
Concert Review by Joseph Hett

Bonamassa Showcases His Blazing Blues

Joe Bonamassa arrived at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, SC on a mission Saturday night, to showcase his ability to shred a guitar while singing the blues. It was a night of fast paced blues and slower string bending ballads.

Bonamassa hit the stage and started the evening off with a Rory Gallagher song, “Cradle Rock.” That set the tone for a night full of rocking blues.

He kept the tempo up with the next song, “When the Fire Hits the Sea.” They then slowed it down with “Midnight Blues,” a Gary Moore cover.

The band was spot-on the entire night. During “Slow Train,” Bonamassa and the drummer kind of dueled their respective instruments to emulate the sound of a train rolling down the tracks.

Bonamassa told a funny story about halfway through the set. He said that someone left some flowers and a card on his tour bus that morning. And when he looked at the card, it was made out to “Miss Swift.” The crowd erupted in laughter. This is because the country star Taylor Swift played in Columbia the night before.

Right before “The Ballad of John Henry,” Bonamassa said that this was his “highest charting song, the closest thing to a ‘hit’ he has had so far.”

Bonamasa was handed a double-neck guitar and went into “Young Man Blues” and even threw in the opening of “Stairway to Heaven.”

The highlight of the night came when he performed an acoustic solo version of “Woke Up Dreaming.” Bonamassa made the stripped down acoustic guitar seem very clean and every string could be heard without any clutter.

Bonamassa ended the set with “Mountain Time” and then made a quick exit from the stage.

He then came back out on the stage for the encore, and the crowd erupted when they saw that he was wearing a South Carolina Gamecocks sweatshirt.

He then played “Bird on a Wire” and went into the ZZ Top song “Just Got Paid Today.” He also threw in some of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” to the crowd’s delight. After that, Bonamassa and the band bowed to a standing ovation.

Joe Bonamassa did put on an amazing performance. He hit every string on finger cramping solos and sang with true soul.

He played like Billy Gibbons, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Page all rolled into one.

Bonamassa said he hadn’t been to Columbia in 10 years, so let’s hope it won’t be that long until he comes back again to put on another amazing performance.