Sunday, 30 May 2010

Jollification - The Lightning Seeds (and plenty of it)

Apologies for being late going to press!

Our first venture out back here in Weymouth started on the right foot, with a Cuckoo in the Longcroft Cemetery. This is a first for me at my local site, and as I could hear it from home it is also added to the 'From Home List'. A little John Mayall (Blues From Laural Canyon, The Blues Alone & the seminal Crusade) with the coffee and toast and then off to Weymouth for a little more sight-seeing for Ille.

Ille and me at the end of Weymouth Stone Pier

A circuit of Weymouth harbour, then out to the end of the Stone Pier, where we found a 'colour ringed' Alba Wagtail (possibly White Wagtail) with bright pink ring on left leg, if this information is useful to anyone out there? Taking the rowing boat ferry from the Life Boat Station to the Pavilion, I reminisced with the Captain about the days when my Grandfather Scan Edwards did the same job in his later years. Most people think his 'nick-name' Scan was a shortened version of his real christian name Stanley, but during many happy talks with him I discovered that it simply stood for 'Scandalous', nice one Granddad wherever you are.

Ille Weymouth Stone Pier with Nothe Fort in the background.

Weymouth 'gig' the Sir Tristan returning to Weymouth Harbour after Sunday practice.

Overlooking Weymouth's dog infested beach from the south end. The phone call was just to confirm yet another party.

Walking back along the sea-front, a pint was anticipated and fortunately we bumped into 2 neighbors Joy Langford and Julie Farn enjoying lunch al fresco outside the Victoria Hotel, so joined them for an hour. Had I not gone on the Eastern European jaunt I would have gone to Berlin with Joy, from where she has just returned with tales of Nightingales, Woodpeckers and Deer.

An evening with Joe Bonamassa - Bournemouth International Centre.

It was as cheap to get a return taxi, door to door, than it was to take the train (says something about public transport doesn't it?), and arriving a couple of hours early to get something to eat.

The 'Band' arrive at the stage door, Bagsy, Ille, Sheila and Bowie (Lorne)

As far as the food was concerned we dropped extremely lucky visiting 'Steakout' right next door to the BIC, where the food, wine and Strongbow were excellent.

The concert opened in fairly mediocre fashion with 'down home' American blues shouter Sandi Thom. She and her band of very good musicians didn't exactly set the audience alight, and the set was only saved by the 'self penned' third number, In the Valley of the Blues, and some red hot 'harp' playing by the lady herself reminiscent of Sonny Boy Williamson.

Now, when I say I've seen 'most' of them over the years, that includes the likes of Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Mayall, Clapton, David Gilmore, Rory Gallagher et al. What I hadn't seen, until last night, was such a 'complete' set of Rock 'n' Roll by what are arguably the finest 4 musicians playing together in the world today!

Armed with trademark double-neck Fender, Bonamassa simply strolled onto the stage, and without greeting, or warning launched straight into The Ballard of John Henry. I don't ever remember a crowd going so wild of a single strum of a guitar - "Who killed John Henry, in the battle of Sinners and Saints".

Having 'slayed' everyone in the room with what has become his signature number, it was hard to see how the evening was going to get any better musically, but we didn't have to wait long. Again without formality he simply changed guitar and embarked on the haunting Last Kiss, with bassist Carmine Rojas steeling the scene with bass lines that could show Jack Bruce a little direction. It had just got better.

If the 4 of us had sat down before the gig and devised a 'play list', with the exception of the heart jerking Story of a Quarryman, it was all here, and by the third number, So Many Roads, the tears had literally begun to flow. After this, he did stop for a very quick "Hello Bournemouth", but he was here to play not to talk so it was straight on with 3 tracks in a row from the much acclaimed new album Black Rock, of which Trick or Treat was outstanding. I am going to buy this album even if it's for that track alone!

Returning to more of what are now considered standard Bonamassa classics, he simply ripped the head off High Water Everywhere, with Bogie Bowles playing probably the 4th best drums I've ever witnessed (the others being Phil Collins dueting with Chester Thompson, Ginger Baker and of course Bonzo).

The numbers just kept coming and coming, there were no short-cuts, but as his 'roadie' handed him that hallmarked Gibson Flying V we knew the end was nigh. Asking Around for You was interrupted midstream by the Zeppelin classic guitar break from Dazed and Confused,

with Joe perched high on the amplifier bank and cheekily climaxing with the Flying V salute.

There were only 2 disappointment to the whole evening, one was I was too busy taking this photo not to catch the thrown plectrum that landed at my feet, and quickly scooped up by a very grateful fan, and these crap photographs. To try and redress this, here are a few from photographers far better than I.

Joe center stage, Carmine Rojas bass guitar, Bogie Bowles drums, Rick Melick keyboards.

Joe Bonamassa

Carmine Rojas

Mr Rojas and keyboard player Rick Melick

and Bogie Bowles

My final broadside would be to say that those of you who were not there, should do the next best thing and buy the DVD Joe Bonamassa Live at the Royal Albert Hall (£14, which I will personally refund if you don't like it). SENSATIONAL is too smaller word to describe this quartet - just get out there and have a listen!

Yours aye
Another Satisfied Customer