When Joe Bonamassa released his debut album, A New Day Yesterday, in 2000, music fans probably thought he was a new kid on the block.
However, by that point, Joe had already racked up more than a decade’s worth of memorable onstage moments.
After beginning playing guitar at age 4, he was performing live by age 10 and opening for blues legend B.B. King by the time he was 12.
In 1991, after becoming known in the blues circuit, “Smokin’ Joe Bonamassa” (as he was billed at the time) was asked to appear alongside the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Albert Lee, Vivian Campbell and Steve Lukather at a Leo Fender memorial jam benefit.
The show was a tribute to the electric-guitar pioneer, who had died that same year.
A section of that night’s show can be seen in the clip below, with Bonamassa trading solos with guitar supremo Robben Ford.
Clearly influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan in everything from his note choices to his hat choice, there’s some tasty improvised playing all round.
Filmed at the Bren Centre at the University of California in August 1991, a copy of the full performance is now quite hard to come by, as it has as only ever had a VHS release in the mid Nineties.
Written By Forgotten Guitar for Guitar World which can be viewed here