Joe Bonamassa Dust Bowl Tour Review and Photos - West Palm Beach

Sally Rosen - OFC Contributor
Joe Bonamassa

November 22, 2011 in West Palm Beach. Blues rock guitar great Joe Bonamassa mustered up his mojo at the Kravis Center Dreyfoos Hall performing songs from his albums including BLACK ROCK, DUST BOWL and THE BALLAD OF JOHN HENRY. A true prodigy and guitar virtuoso, brought to the limelight as a child by blues legend B.B. King, Bonamassa plays guitar like a symphony instrument befitting for the Florida fine arts venue. Playing the Kravis Center apparently is familiar to Bonamassa, who thanked the South Florida audience for their support from years past and shared that he "recorded 2008 live album in West Palm Beach right behind the stage" pointing behind the band. And Joe is passing it on to the youth at the Palm Beaches schools for the arts, noted on official fan site.

Bonamassa played a variety of guitars favoring a Gibson Les Paul for opening songs including a riveting "Midnight Blues." Emotionally charged "Sloe Gin" opened up with an extended crying guitar solo and crescendo to high pitched harmonics that left the audience breathless. "The Ballad of John Henry," perhaps the evening's finest offering, was introduced humbly and with great wit by Bonamassa as his "closest hit out of 12 albums and 134 songs!"

DUST BOWL on Amazon

A sweet spot and departure from his signature rock blues, was acoustic set that would rival the greatest of Flamenco Spanish guitarists. As a true guitar aficionado, Joe meticulously lists on his CDs the gear used for each track, from the guitar to the amp down to the year for each vintage instrument; like a fine wine and as a Stradivarius is to a classical violinist. Another masterpiece of the evening was "Django" with its mesmerizing vibrato that would appease the most ardent of Jeff Beck fans. Uplifting "Steal Your Heart Away" from BLACK ROCK stole the show. Band members from the evening included rhythm section Carmine Rojas on bass, Tal Bergman on drums and Rick Melick on keys.

So many accolades are rightfully bestowed upon Bonamassa for his unfaltering guitar magnificence that it sometimes seems to eclipse his fabulous vocals. The heart and soul of Ray Charles no doubt lives on in Joe when he sings bluesy chorus "hey, hey, hey" on earlier mentioned "Steal Your Heart Away." Encore "Bird On A Wire," song made famous by Leonard Cohen and sung righteously by Joe, brought on emotional shivers of appreciation.

After the show, OFC caught up with Bonamassa who changed from his quintessential dapper blues man suit into leather jacket and "Warson Motors" cap - European post-war era fighter pilot attire. When asked about his advice from BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION liner notes and being in “super group,” the guitar great with a great sense of humor reaffirmed his words  “Avoid announcing the name before consulting the US trademark office.  Who would have thought Letz-Zep-Again was taken?”  No need to fret fans, the name Joe Bonamassa and guitar legend associated with it will carry on for blues rock posterity and generations to enjoy!

photos by Sally Rosen - OFC Contributor