The Art of Respect

Fans are the backbone of every performer. It is the fan that purchases the album, the concert ticket, and the merch that makes a musician successful. When someone purchases a ticket to see an artist perform, they are buying that artist’s time. They are using their hard-earned money to escape from life for a while to that magical music world where everything else just melts away. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Tuesday night and they have a big meeting at 8AM, they’re going to be there to see their favorite musician perform their favorite songs. With all the admiration fans have for their favorite artists, it is a wonder why so many artists do not return the favor with a little admiration of their own. Many artists can’t grasp the concept of showing up on time and respecting the people who make it all happen. Every now and then however, one artist comes along to show them how it’s done. Case and point: Joe Bonamassa, the most respectful bluesman in the industry.

Watch Joe Bonamassa with Eric Clapton live from The Royal Albert Hall (2009)

Who is Joe Bonamassa?

Though he may not be well-known in mainstream media, Joe Bonamassa is one of the best guitarist walking the earth today. With twenty-two #1 Billboard Blues albums under his belt, Bonamassa is a force of nature. Throughout the years, Joe has performed with the likes of Peter Frampton, Eric Clapton, Journey, and many more. He had put on mind-blowing performances at some of the world’s most renowned venues including The Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, and The Royal Albert Hall. A master of his craft, Bonamassa stands by his talent and ensures that he brings the most unforgettable performances each time he steps on stage. He appreciates his fans and wants to put on the best show possible, even if that means bringing his own sound equipment to every single venue. After selling so many albums and performing with the greatest in the industry at the best venues, many artists would succumb to it all and let it go to their head. Nothing could be further from the truth for Joe Bonamassa.

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The Man Behind The Shades

Off-stage, Joe is more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. Come show time, he’s dressed to the nines. As a performer, Joe exudes a bona-fide bluesman persona. A perfectly tailored suit and a pair of dark shades are all it takes to transform this down-to-earth guitar nerd into a Blues Rock Titan. Many people have asked him why he wears the suit. The answer is always the same: respect. The way he sees it, “if people are going to ‘pay’ to see [him], the least [he] could do is show some respect and dress properly for them”. There are two things a person can expect when going to a Joe Bonamassa concert (besides an awesome show). They can expect a clean look and a prompt starting time.

Watch Joe Bonamassa battle it out with cellist Tina Guo at Carnegie Hall

Always on The Road… and Always On Time

Bonamassa is constantly touring. The phrase “always on the road” that can be found on a lot of his merch is no exaggeration. On average, Joe puts on about 100 shows each year. That’s 100 nights of suits, 100 nights of blues. Each show has a starting time of 8PM, and Joe is on stage for every show at 8PM. Again, this is out of respect for his fans that are attending the show. He understands that there are hard working people paying good money to watch him on stage, and out of respect for them he won’t make them wait to do so. In fact, out of the very few times a show has started past 8PM in the last 5 years, it was to wait for fans. One show, there was another event happening in the area that had traffic backed up. To make sure the attendees didn’t miss too much, Joe decided to start a bit later – 10 minutes – so that those stuck in traffic had a bit more time but also so that those already in the audience weren’t left waiting too long. Being on time is something fans have come to expect from Bonamassa; it’s something they advise first time Joe show attendees of. It is something all artists should strive for.

It is a shame that more artists aren’t known for being on time – in fact it is the exact opposite. Particularly after decades performing on stage, one should have as much respect and adoration for their fans as their fans do for them. The career of an artist relies entirely on the people who purchase albums, listen to songs, buy concert tickets, etc. and Joe Bonamassa knows and respects that. Some artists should take a page out of Joe’s book.