Joe Bonamassa at The Chicago Theatre in Chicago, IL

Guitar virtuoso, Joe Bonamassa, returns to the iconic Chicago Theatre for the first of a two-night engagement.

Back in 2011, Joe Bonamassa lamented about the difficult path he had taken to be able to play in a venue of this size. Now, however, every two years without fail he packs out The Chicago Theatre for two nights. He’s played here so often that it would be strange seeing him perform at a different venue when he makes his stop in the Windy City. Joe is certainly no stranger to playing in iconic venues. His upcoming summer tour will see him returning to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and will conclude with two nights at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

The current leg of this tour kicked February and included time on his Keeping The Blues Alive Cruise. There’s barely a time when he’s not on the road. The current leg of the tour runs until late March before he heads over to the UK and Europe in April, followed shortly after by his US Summer Tour.

This tour is in support of his September release, Redemption, so needless to say the majority of the setlist comprised of songs from this latest album. With 13 albums of material to choose from, selecting a setlist for each show must be a lengthy process. This set included a number of songs from his 2016 release, Blues of Desperation, as well as delving further back to with “Woke Up Dreaming” from Blues Deluxe and “Mountain Time” from So, It’s Like That. The setlist contained a number of tips of the hat to blues greats with covers such as Muddy Waters’ “Tiger In Your Tank” and BB King’s “Nobody Loves Me But My Mother.”

Throughout the night, a number of Bonamassa’s guitar collection made an appearance as he played a different guitar for almost every song. It was a great sight to behold, if not a rather enviable one. 

The band for the current tour includes Michael Rhodes on bass and the incredible Anton Fig on drums. Long-time Bonamassa collaborator, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Reese Wynans of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble was on the keys while Lee Thornburg and Paulie Cerra were the tight brass section. Juanita Tippins and Jade MacRae provided the evening’s backing vocals. 

Once again, Bonamassa proved that he is “keeping the blues alive,” the fact that he can keep performing at a venue such as this for two nights in a row. Whenever he’s in town, the crowds will surely keep coming. With the number of tour dates scheduled, you really have no excuse for not checking him out.

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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