Joe Bonamassa

State Theater, Cleveland, OH Nov. 2, 2013

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Joe Bonamassa’s Fall Tour is more of a two for one show. Following the massive success of An Acoustic Evening At The Vienna Opera House, the first hour is an acoustic set that is laden with finesse that still rocks as hard as an acoustic guitar possibly can.  Cleveland, OH was part of the first leg of the U.S. tour Saturday night. After performing Richmond, one of his most requested songs, he foreshadowed the second half electric beat down to come remarking, “We’re happy to be opening up for Joe Bonamassa,” It was surprising to hear Derek Sherinian’s name during the band intros given the recent strife with Black Country Communion.  He is a wizard on keyboard, showcasing blazing solos throughout. After a 15-minute break, the Les Paul came out next for the haunting intro of Dust Bowl and he stayed on the gas for the remainder of the set. The two hours plus was thematically diverse and showcased multiple numbers off his latest Driving Towards The Daylight. With Tal Bergman’s athletic drumming, It occasionally felt like a hybrid of Zeppelin’s heyday with the energy of an 80s metal show. the . He closed it out with The Ballad of John Henry to a raucous standing ovation. Everyone stayed on their feet for an  encore with a symphonic version of Django performed so high up on the neck that he seemed to run out of frets. His demographic is changing as audiences are becoming familiar with him beyond the PBS specials where he gained his initial notoriety.




Boinamassa was once asked about being a rock star. He replied, “I’m not a rock star. I don’t dress the part or want to be anything like that. I just want to be a guitar player and always have been.”  Guess he’ll just have to settle for “Guitar God.” On that, the fans seem to agree.