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Masterclass – Joe Bonamassa in Murcia

Photo by Miki

There are expressions for this kind of thing; “Selling sand to the arabs” – “Taking coals to Newcastle”.  But “Bringing guitar to Andalucia”, at least to my knowledge, is not one of them.  Joe Bonamassa had the balls to do just that when he and his band performed for well over 2 hours in Murcia last week, and the Spanish loved him for it. It was his first visit there, and me and my partner Miki welcomed it, loving his music, and the fact that it was only an hour or so’s drive from where we live. Miki, being a painter was inspired to capture him. Check out her take on things HERE.

Photo by Miki

The late English entertainer Roy Castle had a catchphrase: “Dedication’s what you need” and boy, is Joe the living embodiment of that. He plays guitar around 6 hours a day without fail, and since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, and it shows. He is the master of his instrument. The guitar is a living thing in his hands. He caresses it, coaxes, cajoles it, and he makes it sing. From a whisper to a roar, a blinding flurry of runs, or that single sonorous note, perfectly plucked, hanging in the air, beautifully formed – an auditory equivalent of the first drop of morning dew falling from a leaf, a moment of wonder.

Me outside the auditorium in Murcia before Joe's gig

He paints pictures in the air, does Joe. There are very, very few guitarists that come close to his artistry, perhaps Jeff Beck, but few others have the skill and the soul.

Me and Joe in Loket, Czech Republic, for the Black Country Communion gig

His work ethic is amazing. He tours, and tours and tours. Fantastically organised and marshalled by his Manager Roy Wiseman, (who I admire enormously for his attitude to the Major labels and his commitment to Joe)- he can move around Europe with ease day after day, getting to his public, and winning over new fans. Does he get on the radio much? Not really. Has he had any hits. Um, not really.  He is a musician apart. Apart from the sickening conveyor belt of dross that is served up via the media and airwaves of five minute wonders and meagre talents, that the rest of us are expected to eat up like conditioned sheep.

In the real world, where there are real music fans, and music matters, Joe Bonamassa is King.

Kev Moore

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Black Country Communion – Live in Loket, Czech Republic

Black Country Communion in Loket: L-R: Derek Sherinian, Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa

We’d decided to go to the Czech Republic for a week, in order to take in the wonderful city of Prague, whilst planning our main reason for the trip – seeing BCC on our last but one evening in the country, in the beautiful town of Loket. Most of the time, we enjoyed sunny weather, but perhaps we should have heeded the early warnings when we had to shelter in a bar in Prague from an amazing lightning storm and torrential downpour, preventing us from watching an outdoor concert in the Old Town Square.

Derek, Glenn & Joe soundcheck before the deluge. Jason is getting an Ice-cream. (See below)

I think he got one of the fans to hold his ice-cream while he signed.........

Nevertheless, Sunday came in Loket, the sun shone, the trucks moved in and erected the sound stage, PA and lighting, and all looked fine for an amazing night in the riverside amphitheatre, with the impressive Loket castle as the backdrop, looming large on its gigantic rock. We’d already been here for several days, getting the feel of the town, exploring the area and waiting for BCC to arrive.

Couldn't resist it....on stage in Loket the day before the show.

Loket has seen its fair share of celebrities – Daniel Craig was here in ‘Casino Royale‘ when Loket doubled for Montenegro. In the cafe scene, you can see our hotel in the background!   The Hotel (in real life) is called Hotel Goethe – a nod to the famous German poet who stayed here back in the day.

During the day, we wandered around this ‘fairytale village’ (to quote Harry from ‘In Bruges’!!) – and managed to say hi to Joe Bonamassa, and get a photo with him, and also chat with keyboard virtuoso Derek Sherinian, who happened to be at the next table while we ate perhaps the best apfelstrudel of our lives! (I recommended he try it  🙂  )

With Joe in Loket on the afternoon of the gig

It might have been Goethe’s town in his day, but it was rock’s poets on display tonight…….and no sooner had we taken our place in front of the stage than the heavens opened, and it bucketed down. For the next four hours. Non stop. It rained for  Radim Hladik and his (very good) band Blue Effect, and it rained for Black Country Communion.

"How are you feeling out there?!" shouted Glenn. "Wet," I replied, truthfully.

Glenn strode out….”I-I-I-I am a messenger!”  – and off we went.  He gave a heartfelt apology for the rain we were suffering under – and we were suffering – but this band simply dispelled any thoughts of personal health and safety as they transported me back in time to a…er….time when music was just stupendous. Thanks to this band, it is again, and those short-sighted critics and lazy journalists that dismiss this band as merely re-hashed Deep Purple are missing the point by a country mile. This band is a MODERN rock band, drawing on all that’s good from the past – the musicianship, the energy, the spontaneity……and….. whisper it quietly in the corridors of corporate radio, for it is a dirty word: ROCK.

Glenn Hughes owned the stage, an ethereal wraith spitting out amazing vocals and meandering bass lines in equal measure. Joe strode out into the downpour, precariously hardwired into his pedal board, soloing like a demon, and then theatrically wiping down his guitar with a towel, flinging it away with a flourish (the towel, not the guitar) bringing huge grins from the rest of the band, and cheers from the sodden audience.

Joe does his thing

The smiles exchanged between these guys onstage as they moved effortlessly between songs that are destined to become modern classics (I reckon BCC have about five of ’em already and counting) said everything about how good they feel doing this, and about how good it really is. And believe me when i tell you as a student of rock all my life and a professional bassist and singer of 33 years standing: THIS IS THE GOOD SHIT.  I hope they make more albums. I stood there in the rain, probably caught pneumonia. And for this band, I’d do it again.

Somebody was kindly filming from the rear, just look at this amazing setting! We’re stood front row, just in line with Joe’s monitors. You can’t miss us, we’re piss wet through and hooded. 🙂

Kev Moore

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments