Joe Bonamassa Fills Santander Performing Arts Center With Soul And His Unparalleled Brand Of Electrifying Blues


Nestled in the heart of the vibrant cityscape, the Santander Performing Arts Center recently played host to a musical odyssey led by none other than the maestro of blues-rock virtuosity, Joe Bonamassa. On a night infused with anticipation and the promise of extraordinary sonic journeys, the iconic guitarist took command of the stage, transforming the venue into a haven for aficionados of soul-stirring melodies and electrifying guitar riffs. As the audience eagerly gathered, the air pulsated with excitement, setting the stage for an evening destined to be etched into the annals of unforgettable live performances. Joe Bonamassa’s concert at the Santander Performing Arts Center promised not just a show, but a transcendent experience, where the strings of his guitar would weave tales of passion, skill, and musical mastery.

As the lights dimmed at the Santander Performing Arts Center, the air thickened with anticipation, and a collective hush fell over the audience. Joe Bonamassa, hailed as a modern-day guitar virtuoso, emerged into the spotlight, surrounded by a band of equally accomplished musicians. The evening kicked off with the blues-infused “Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again),” a track that immediately set the tone for an immersive musical journey. Bonamassa’s soulful vocals intertwined with the searing notes of his guitar, and the chemistry with his band members, including rhythm guitar Josh Smith player drummer Lemar Carter, bassist Calvin Turner, renowned keyboardist Reese Wynans and the powerful vocal backups of Jade MacRae and Danni DeAndrea was palpable from the outset.

Transitioning seamlessly from one masterpiece to another, the band delved into the blues classic “Twenty-Four Hour Blues” by Bobby Bland. Bonamassa’s guitar prowess shone as he navigated the intricate fretwork with finesse, while Calvin Turner’s bass lines provided a pulsating backbone to the performance. The stage came alive with a raw energy that echoed the essence of blues at its core. Guitar Slim’s “Well, I Done Got Over It” followed, a rendition that paid homage to the blues legends while injecting Bonamassa’s distinctive flair.

Bonamassa’s “Self-Inflicted Wounds” left the audience awe-inspired and captivated. While his guitar prowess is unquestionably extraordinary, it was the stunning vocal performance of singer Jade MacRae that stole the spotlight and elevated the entire experience. MacRae’s voice possesses a rare combination of power, soul, and emotional depth that brought a new dimension to the blues-rock ballad. Her delivery was nothing short of mesmerizing, effortlessly navigating the song’s intricate melodies and conveying the poignant lyrics with raw authenticity. MacRae’s stage presence and vocal command added a layer of intensity and vulnerability, making “Self-Inflicted Wounds” an unforgettable highlight of the evening, showcasing the incredible synergy between Bonamassa’s masterful instrumentation and MacRae’s exceptional vocal talent.

One of the highlights of the evening came with “I Feel Like Breaking Up Someone’s Home Tonight,” a track that showcased not only Bonamassa’s technical proficiency but also the collective synergy of the band. Reese Wynans’ keyboard embellishments added layers of richness to the composition, creating a sonic tapestry that enraptured the audience. The chemistry between Wynans and Bonamassa was particularly evident during the instrumental interludes, where their musical dialogue spoke volumes.  As they have throughout the night, the powerful one-two punch of Jade MacRae and Danni DeAndrea laid a soulful vocal backdrop which lifted the song in all of the right places. There was an added element of surprise and explosive guitar playing as Bonamassa introduced the talented Nick Perri to the stage.  The Reading native trading blistering licks with Bonamassa as the two guitar slingers utilized their speed and flawless playing, bringing the crowd to their feet.

“Curtain Call” marked a poignant moment in the set, with Bonamassa’s emotive vocals resonating through the venue. The song’s blues-rock roots were accentuated by Lamar Carter’s dynamic drumming, creating a rhythmic foundation that propelled the performance forward. The stage design and lighting effects complemented the mood, enhancing the overall visual and auditory experience for the captivated audience.

The mood took a contemplative turn with “Is It Safe to Go Home,” a blues ballad that allowed Bonamassa to showcase his storytelling prowess. The song unfolded like a narrative, with each note painting a vivid picture of heartache and introspection. Calvin Turner’s melodic bass lines added a somber depth, underscoring the emotional weight of the composition.

In a nod to blues-rock history, the band ventured into “Lazy Poker Blues” by Fleetwood Mac, infusing their own interpretation with a modern edge. Bonamassa’s guitar licks paid homage to the original while injecting a renewed vitality, demonstrating his ability to bridge the gap between tradition and innovation. The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause, appreciating the homage to blues roots intertwined with contemporary artistry.

As the concert reached its climax, the unmistakable opening riff of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” reverberated through the Santander Performing Arts Center. The crowd erupted in cheers, and Bonamassa’s electrifying performance reached its zenith. The synergy between the band members was at its peak, creating an infectious energy that reverberated through the venue. Carter’s drumming and Reese Wynans’ keyboard wizardry elevated the song to new heights, while Bonamassa’s guitar solo left the audience in awe.  True to form, Joe would transition into the inducement of Led Zeppelin’s iconic “Dazed and Confused”.  This would also pave the wave for Lemar Carter’s thunderous and explosive drum solo had fans throwing their arms in the arm as the theater swelled up with cheers of astonishment.

As the final notes of “Just Got Paid” lingered in the air, the band briefly left the stage, only to return for an encore that would etch itself into the memories of those in attendance. The triumphant ballad “Mountain Time” served as the perfect epilogue to the evening. Bonamassa, armed with an acoustic guitar, bared his soul in an intimate musical conversation with the audience. The stripped-down arrangement allowed the nuances of his vocals and the delicate intricacies of his guitar playing to take center stage. The emotional resonance of “Mountain Time” created a profound connection between performer and audience, bringing the concert to a poignant and memorable conclusion.

In the aftermath of Joe Bonamassa’s concert at the Santander Performing Arts Center, the echoes of blues-infused brilliance lingered in the air.  The collective melodic foundation, contributed to a performance that transcended the boundaries of a typical concert. The setlist, carefully curated to showcase the breadth of Bonamassa’s musical influences, paid homage to blues legends while simultaneously pushing the genre’s boundaries. The seamless interplay between the musicians, coupled with Bonamassa’s unparalleled guitar virtuosity, resulted in an evening that was not merely a concert but a transformative experience—a testament to the enduring power of blues and the exceptional artistry of Joe Bonamassa and his band.