JOE BONAMASSA at Lakeview Amphitheater

Photos: Joshua Davis

It was the perfect summer night in Syracuse, NY at the beautifully seated Lakeview Amphitheater. The intimate venue has played host to many major touring musicians, and this evening was for Blues legend Joe Bonamassa.

Fans were anxiously waiting for Joe to take the stage, and when he did the crowd immediately rose to their feet giving a standing ovation to the Grammy nominated guitarist. Dressed in his signature suit and shades, Joe Bonamassa wasted no time bringing out the guitar and taking control over the audience. The band with Joe is a lineup of unmatched talent:

Reese Wynans – Keyboards

Reese Wynans was a member of the Second Coming, which, from November 1968 to February 1969 also included two future and founding members of The Allman Brothers Band: guitarist Dickey Betts and bassist Berry Oakley. Wynans joined Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in 1985, playing keyboards on Soul to Soul and In Step and played with the band until Stevie Ray Vaughn’s tragic death in 1990.

Anton Fig – Drums

Anton Fig is one of New York’s most in-demand session drummers and has spent the last 29 years as the drummer for David Letterman’s house band on the NBC and CBS networks. Fig is one of America’s most widely-heard musicians and has racked up an impressive session resume playing on albums by Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Rosanne Cash, Joe Cocker, and Ronnie Spector. 

Michael Rhodes – Bass Guitar

He has played bass for some of the most celebrated and legendary musicians in the business including a veritable who’s who of country music icons. Some of the musicians he’s recorded for include Mark Knopfler, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris, and Faith Hill.

Lee Thornburg – Trumpet

Lee Thornburg is a trumpeter who has played with many legendary artists and is also a former member of Supertramp and Tower of Power. Thornburg played with Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders in the 1970s. Then he went on to tour with musicians such as Tom Petty, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis, and Rod Stewart.

Paulie Cerra – Sax

Paulie Cerra is a versatile and dynamic Saxophone player, having spent years on the road touring the world over and recording with many of the top blues and R&B acts. These have included Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin, Lucky Peterson, Luther Allison, Little Milton, Bobby Bland, Billy Preston and Jimmy Johnson.

This group of extremely talented musicians put on a show for Syracuse to remember – with guitar changes happening every other song, the powerful and booming voice Joe Bonamassa sent through the amphitheater, the amazing drum solo by Anton Fig, and many fans unable to stay seated took to the aisles to dance. 

Joe Bonamassa growing up in New Hartford, New York connected very well with what would be considered a home show for him. He mentioned how all of his family was in attendance, and cracked some jokes on the condition of Onondaga Lake.

The live performance of “Slow Train” was nothing short of perfect. Immediately when the drums began the into to this song, the crowd roared in anticipation. One notable fan that happened to be seated just in front of me, literally couldn’t stop from jumping up and down and screaming in excitement. I honestly couldn’t blame him after hearing the remarkable performance, and flawless execution from the entire band. It was certainly one of the best shows the Lakeview Amphitheater had hosted this summer.

Joe Bonamassa

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