“It’s like sterilising elephants up here!” So says guitar tech Dave Pate as he line checks Joe Bonamassa’s Yamaha APX acoustic on stage at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Now then, I’ve never sterilised an elephant, but I doubt whether it’d be that in tune. I’ve no doubt at all, however, that it may well be that loud.
Once again – in a theme that’s likely to become a recurring one here – I’m counting my lucky stars. I promise I’m not gloating. Many a hard-nose journo wouldn’t flinch. After all, it’s a bit unprofessional to be stoked just to be on stage with a guitar hero, isn’t it?
Well allow me this indulgence (and come inside these brackets where I can whisper. (No, closer still… whisper now…)) Bollocks! I don’t care what anyone says, no matter how many stars you meet, no matter how many guitar players show you what they know first hand, I defy anyone who truly has six-string DNA to not be just a little bit awestruck by experiences like this.
Joe comes out. Plugs in the ’59 Historic Series Les Paul. There’s a Marshall Silver Jubilee pumping constantly, then and any one of a Van Weelden Twinkle Land, Two Rock Custom Reverb Signature or a Category 5 Plexi clone switched in for “colour” as Dave Pate tells me.
I’m floating. Just for a minute. But I’m up there alright.
Okay, more soberly, and back to business. The reason we’re here is because that a) Joe Bonamassa is just about the most exciting blues prospect we’ve seen since Stevie Ray; and b) Guitarist has been invited to spend a couple of days to get to know him a little better. You can read the April issue of the mag – on sale 13 March – to get the full story.
In the meantime, Check out MusicRadar's exclusive gear walk-through video with Joe Bonamassa.
By Mick Taylor