The musical thread for this tour was “British Blues Explosion” with the music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page plus a selection of Bonamassa’s own hits including ‘Sloe Gin’. The band line up featured four renowned artists, all famous in their own right. Adlib were called on to provide PA and lighting for the tour.
The systems had to be flexible because the venues were a mixed batch taking in Dublin’s Vicar Street (where only the console and MDG’s theONE hazer were used from the lighting package) and, just before that, there was a special intimate performance at Liverpool’s famous Cavern club where they utilised the house rig. The first full production gig at Hoghton Tower near Preston had to be moved inside to Preston Town Hall due to weather conditions… but everyone took all this in their stride.
Adlib’s Lighting Manager Dave Eldridge co-ordinated the lighting requirements for Bonamassa’s regular LD Justin Duguid for the UK section of the tour, while Adlib Director Dave Jones looked after all things audio for both the UK where a full sound rig was supplied and Europe where the tour continued with a control package.
The idea for the lighting design was to create a slanting back wall of lights that introduced a lot of depth to the picture, accentuated further by having the three trusses staggered at different heights which looked highly effective! It was a bit of a brain-teaser in pre-production, working out the optimum angles and spacing to get the effect Justin wanted. “At last I realised why we learned trigonometry at school,” declared Charlie (the main Adlib lighting tech) who enjoyed dealing with the additional mathematics!
Challenges for audio also included the Cavern Club showcase where they had less than a quarter of the standard stage space they usually take up. The control package only went in to this show.
We’ve been lucky enough to work with Eric Rica (the tour's incredible Production Manager) and his brilliant team for many years now, it is honestly a pleasure. The live shows have grown over the years and Joe Bonamassa has proven to be one of the best guitarists & performers out there on the live scene.