REVIEW: Joe Bonamassa, Brighton Centre, Saturday, March 17.

ARGUABLY the world's consummate Blues guitarist and it's greatest exponent didn't just rock the joint he simply blew the roof off.

Joe Bonamassa took to the stage on one of the coldest snow-swept nights of this winter to bring the red heat of his extraordinary playing to warm the hearts of a sell-out 4,000 crowd, underlining his growing status as a living legend of the genre, writes Paul Thomas.

With a hand-picked seven-piece band of some of the world's greatest talent, his set was electrifying, ending a seven-date UK tour in Brighton before his return from his upcoming US concerts to rock Hampton Court in June.

This wasn't just Blues this was a stunning display of guitar-driven classic, deep soul sensation, switching from his undeniably unique hard Blues style to rock 'n' roll, boogie-woogie and beyond.

Frankly, is there anything better on the world stage today that gives so much pleasure to a growing army of adoring fans? I doubt it.

JoBo is electrifying, eclectic and stunning.

Dark suit and shades, at least eight guitar changes that I counted, a horn section to die for, keyboards drums, bass and two of the great backing singers on the planet had us all up on our feet.

A genuine genius, Joe opened with four songs from an album not due out till September, but they bore all the hallmarks of Joe classics which proves his creativity is being accepted at face value by a trusting audience which embraced the new self-penned pieces, owning their guitar hero's King Bee Shakedown and the startlingly soulful Self Inflicted Wounds.

Bonamassa had us all warmed up within seconds as the new stuff poured out before he drove through Albert King’s, I Get Evil, with a spanking horn section, one of whom, Lee Thornburg, had been part of the Tower Of Power horns, a backing section I saw back in '86 at the Hammersmith Apollo pumping up Huey Lewis and the News.

No Good Place For The Lonely was just driven as we all were doused in some equally heavy lighting. Breaking Up Someone’s Home really showed Bonamassa’s class playing but I was gone with How Deep The River Runs.

Look, it's like this....JoBo can stand at the edge of his gantry stepping out into the crowd and get everyone transfixed with the speed and accuracy of his incredible playing. But it's the soul this man puts into his music. It's an easy thing to say about many musicians, but with Joe, he really makes you feel it.

There were times he just slowly went down to the pick-ups to get so high in the note range it was difficult to see where else he could go, and although some don't like his extended solo breaks...this is what it's all about for those of us who are experiencing something special.

Joe is pushing the boundaries, Joe is giving us what we have missed for so long....guitar-driven Blues which is bringing the masses back to what is real...he didn't need to go to the crossroads and make a deal with the devil...the devil is in his playing and it's burning his fingernails.Backed by a stunning band that included Reese Wynans on keyboards of Double Trouble and KISS sometimer Anton Fig on drums whose associations also include BB King, (Joe's mentor from the age of 12) James Brown and Bob Dylan, and bassist Michael Rhodes (Johnny Cash and Stevie Nicks) and you've got pure class on stage, Drop in the cracking horn section (Thornburg and Paulie Cerra (sax and good grief exceptional if not unreal backing vocals), Nashville giant Michael Rhodes plus two stunning Australian backing vocalists in Jade, and Juanita Tippins...more wow, and you have in your face knock-out tour de force of Blues-Rock funky fantasy that comes around once in a lifetime.

Add in Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake fame (Fool for Your Loving etc) and you have a marriage made in Heaven as they jammed with great riffs on Breaking Up Someone's Home.

Paul Jones, the former Manfred, who is highly likely to have brought Joe to the attention to many of us on his Monday night Radio 2 Blues show, introduced his pal, and even though Joe said after the four lead songs: "I'm sure you're wondering where the f*** is the Ballard of John Henry," it didn't matter.

We had an old one, Slow Train from Dustbowl, but no Sloe Gin, and a great lick on covering Led Zeppelin's Boogie with Stu.

But it didn't matter, this was fresh, exciting and all over us like a rash you just can't quite itch.

Two hours wasn't enough and after the encore of his BB King homage, Hummingbird, we all wanted more and frankly that's how you should leave 'em, wanting more.

This man is re-writing the rule book while staying true to his roots.

His fingers are on fire, his soul is searching and his band blows you into next week.

Get on this train, it don't ever stop.

Roll on Hampton Court, it won't have been rocked like this since Henry VIII went through six wives.

Line-up: Joe Bonamassa (guitar, lead vocals), with · Reese Wynans (keyboards) · Michael Rhodes (bass) · Anton Fig (drums) · Lee Thornburg (trumpet) · Paulie Cerra (sax, backing vocals) · Jade McRae (backing vocals) · Juanita Tippins (backing vocals) Set list: *Denotes songs from Joe’s forthcoming studio album released later in the year.

1. *King Bee Shakedown 2. *Evil Mama 3. *Just Cause You Can 4. *Self Inflicted Wounds 5. I Get Evil 6. No Good Place For The Lonely 7. How Deep This River Runs 8. Breaking Up Someone’s Home 9. Slow Train 10. Driving Toward The Daylight 11. Boogie With Stu 12. Last Kiss 13. How Many More Times “Encore”

Hummingbird “Joe Bonamassa plays the Hampton Court Palace Festival on Tuesday, June 12. Tickets –

His new live album “British Blues Explosion Live” is released on Friday, May 18 on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and triple vinyl. Pre-order: