IN a town known for its bright lights and spectacle, Joe Bonamassa and his stellar band turned in a show which at times bordered on the jaw dropping.

In trademark dark suit and shades, the guitar ace served up over two hours of enthralling, pulsating blues rock which just added to his reputation of being one of the best on the planet at what he does.

With no album to promote – Blues of Desperation, his last release came out last year; and no overall theme to the show – his last UK tour paid tribute to the greats of the British blues scene, this was a freer, more varied and even more enjoyable show than normal.

That is part was due to the band of musicians surrounding the maestro. For this tour, trusty sidekicks Reece Wynans on keyboards, bassist Michael Rhodes and drummer Anton Fig have been joined by a two-piece brass section – Lee Thornburg on trumpet and Paulie Cerra on sax – plus two brilliant backing singers.

The total effect was of a much more rounded, full band show with everyone being given their chance to shine.

With the masterful Fig and rock solid Rhodes laying down an unshakeable foundation, Bonamassa is left free to create musical mayhem as he wishes.

Some virtuoso guitarists are undeniably technically excellent but you feel that a lot of their noodlings are being done just because they can.

Not so with Joe Bonamassa. He’s a man who is totally at one with his instrument, be it the battered flying V or the beautiful Les Paul.

The musicality, the feeling, the understanding of the song just flows through those blurred fingers as he works his way around the fret. He’s not showing off, he doesn’t need to. He’s that good. No, what he’s doing is interpreting the song in the moment, every note you feel is affecting him just as much as it reaches into the soul of the audience.

Songs from Blues of Desperation were sprinkled through the set but we were also treated to covers of Led Zeppelin’s Boogie with Stu a great version of Clapton’s Pretending and a breathtaking instrumental Black Winter which was part jazz, part rock and took what can be achieved on a single guitar to the limits.

Over the years Bonamassa’s voice has come on leaps and bounds and perfectly fits the kind of songs he loves.

But it is the guitar playing – and that band – which make any night with Joe a special one. And for this show in Blackpool it most certainly was.