Blues Night at the Mission Ballroom in Denver, Colorado. This past Monday, Grammy award-winning blues artist Beth Hart brought her vibrant, high energy blues performance to the Mission Ballroom in Denver, Colorado. Opening for her was the New England young blues phenom Quinn Sullivan. Tonight, two great musicians treated the audience to a diverse blues performance.
The evening started with a stripped-down session from blues guitarist and singer Quinn Sullivan. The talented Chris Bloniarz accompanied him on piano and mandolin. With his vibrant blues, rock and pop hybrid, Quinn Sullivan reminds me of a young John Mayer. The short setlist was a mix from his most recent release, Wide Awake, and a few covers. This included the blues-rocker “In a World Without You” and “How Many Tears.” The most impressive part of the show was how Sullivan segued from his “You’re The One,” to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Someone” without missing a beat. This got the audience out of their seats and danced the night away. Quinn ended the evening with his hit single, “All Around the World.”
The songs Quinn played tonight showed more of a mature pop-soul influence. It’s a throwback to the singer-songwriters of the early 70s, with Bloniarz playing the mandolin to Sullivan’s smooth silky guitar picking. This was a perfect warm-up to the headliner, Beth Hart.
Quinn Sullivan – Vocals, Guitar
Chris Bloniarz – Mandolin, Piano
1.) In a World Without You
2.) How Many Tears
3.) Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?
4.) You’re The One / I Wanna Dance With Someone
5.) All Around the World
A 30-minute intermission followed with the dimming of the lights to a blueish glow. Beth Hart walks onto the stage to a chorus of applause and cheers from the audience. She was stunning in a black sequin top and matching black leather leggings. Beth sits down at the baby grand piano with a single spotlight illuminating her. The show begins with “You Belong To Me.” Beth Hart has incredible stage presence and charisma to hold the packed Mission Ballroom audience in the palm of her hand. Her sultry but powerful voice reverberates throughout the intimate concert hall. This was a perfect opening song for a non-stop 2-hour show.
Beth follows by introducing her band. This included long-time members, guitarist Jon Nichols, bassist Tom Lilly, and drummer Bill Ransom. The chemistry between them was powerful as everyone had individual high points during the show and on every song. She teases how long guitarist Jon Nichols and bassist Tom Lilly have been with her.
Beth did a powerful rendition of “Rhymes” and “Delicious Surprise” off her albums. It was amazing to hear and see how powerful her voice was with its natural vibrato. She jokingly explains to the audience why she has a bamboo stick between her fingers like a cigarette. The bamboo stick and the nicotine patches have helped her quit smoking. She jokingly said she would be buried with the nicotine patches when she dies.
This was the best part of the show. This was also Beth Hart at her best. Storytelling before each song. “War in My Mind” was about her lowest point before getting sober. She started to attend a Korean church that didn’t speak any English, and how a Korean lady talked to her in English and helped her.
“My California” was next as it describes another low point. She told how she met her future husband and how he proposed to her at rehab. He was the only one to see her. The best quote from this story is her husband saying he likes women like Harleys, 20 years older with lots of problems. Beth follows with, “I need a hero.” Her husband and road manager of 20 years comes out and kisses her to the audience’s applause. The solo piano set ended with “Without Words in the Way.” Tom Lilly accompanied this on the upright bass.
The show segues way into the acoustic set, beginning with “Sugar Shack” and “Fat Man”. The fans were dancing in their seat during these feisty blues tracks. Beth ended the almost two-hour set with Led Zeppelin cover medley “No Quarter / Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” She jokingly as the audience not to throw things at her if they didn’t like her version. The Led Zeppelin covers album was a pandemic therapy. Beth states in her press release, “this Zeppelin album allowed me to get all my rage out, and for that, I’m really grateful.”
After a very pause, the one-song encore ended the incredible two-hour set. Beth covered the classic Etta James cover “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Beth had covered this live with Joe Bonamassa. Beth Hart is one of the most incredible blues artists today. As they say, you have to live the blues to play the blues. And Beth Hart, in her amazing journey, has lived the blues and is now recognized as one of the best.
Beth Hart – Vocals, Piano, Guitar
Jon Nichols – Guitar
Tom Lilly – Bass
Bill Ransom – Drums
1.) You Belong To Me
3.) Delicious Surprise
4.) Spirit of god.
5.) War in my mind
6.) My California
7.) I Need A Hero
8.) Without Words In The Way
9.) Sugar Shack
10.) Fat Man
11.) House of Sin
12.) Broken and Ugly
13.) No Quarter / Babe I’m Gonna Leave You Medley
14.) I’d Rather Go Blind(Etta James cover)
Hi, I’m a professional photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I started to take photos at concerts because I get bored very easy and need something to do while watching a musicians or bands perform. So I started taking my point and shoot camera with me and recording what I saw and to show my friends. At first, the camera was just a photographic diary of my concert experience. But after a while I started liking the quality of my shots and concert photography became my hobby. I decided to post my pictures on instagram and facebook. I think fans liked what they saw and started to follow me. Concert photography became my passion and finally I asked All Music Magazine if I could take photos for them. They like my concert photography Instagram page and that opened the door to a whole new area – the photo pit. Now I am happy to say I’m chasing my photography dream – as a professional concert photographer.