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Boom Boom Club, Sutton, Surrey, 7 October 2006

So much has already been written about the former child protege and now grown guitar hero Joe Bonamassa that it comes as a pleasant surprise to report that Joe is indeed the real deal. Unlike previous Rock Blues contenders such as Johnny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe appears to be in for the long haul, and they key to his current success and future prospects lies simply in his stunning playing ability and the high standards that his sets both himself and his trio.

Playing to a sell out crowd, Joe overcame a touch of flu to mesmerise his audience with a redoubtable mix of hard rocking, languid shuffles, killer blues and an extended acoustic workout that held the audience spellbound throughout.

Bonamassa undoubtedly has a sense of style and showmanship, but the occasional overhead guitar swoops and pained expressions were always backed up by some scintillating playing. He delivered a fine shuffle on Free's 'Walk in My Shadow', some cutting edge riffery on Jethro Tull's New Day Yesterday' and he brought some real feel to bear on the exquisite 'Angel at My Shoulder'.

And of course, Joe is not averse to dipping into the classic rock back catalogue, resurrecting snippets of Yes's 'Starship Trouper' and climaxing his show with 'Zeppelin's 'Dazed & Confused”. And while Joe Bonamassa may pay due homage to the early 70's British Prog Rock era, there is little doubt that he is a heavyweight performer in his own right, and right now the hottest ticket on the block.

Review by Pete Feenstra

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