Joe Bonamassa Live At Radio City Music Hall cd and dvd review
In January 2015, Joe Bonamassa took the iconic Great Stage at Radio City Music Hall for the first time for a sold-out, two-night run that allowed him to fulfill his lifelong dream of performing in one of the world’s most legendary venues. On October 2, 2015, Bonamassa will share this experience with fans and music lovers around the world with Joe Bonamassa – Live At Radio City Music Hall as a DVD + CD set, Blu-Ray + CD set and 2 LP vinyl + MP3 download on Provogue in the UK.
The set features over 75 minutes of music, two newly recorded songs, nine unreleased live tracks, over 2.5 hours of live footage, a special 45-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, a 40-page collector’s book with exclusive photos, and a sneak peek into Bonamassa’s childhood home and musical heritage. Everything is presented in a beautifully designed package.
These shows were the culmination and the finale of Bonamassa’s special half acoustic / half electric tour, which he showcased around the world for the past year and a half. The first set has Bonamassa playing alongside the acoustic band “The Huckleberries” from his #1 Billboard CD/DVD An Acoustic Evening At The Vienna Opera House (Irish fiddler Gerry O’Connor, nyckelharpa and mandola master Mats Wester, keyboardist Reese Wynans, and percussionist Lenny Castro). He then shifts into electric mode for the second set with his regular touring band (bassist Carmine Rojas, keyboardist Reese Wynans, drummer Tal Bergman, trumpeter Lee Thornburg, trombonist Nick Lane, and saxophonist Paulie Cerra).
The hardest working man on the planet has produced another sure fire winner for all of his fans and I am continually amazed how the quality of the live shows and product he put's out never ceases to be anything other than top draw.
You would think he needs to re charge his batteries once in a while but it seems as he dips into his musical heritage he regenerates and evolves and comes out ever stronger.
This lovingly put together package shows off his qualities to the max.
Backed on the acoustic set by The Huckleberries he dips back into his catalogue for a mesmerising " Dust Bowl " that was made for that scenario with the laid back atmosphere suiting the music perfectly.When you think of Joe you think of a guitar player but what sometimes gets missed is the fact he has worked so hard on his vocals and his tone and soulful melody have such emotion in them and he really is a world class vocalist too.
His latest studio album Different Shades Of Blue is well represented with 7 songs in total.Split into 2 acoustically and 5 electrically with the title track in the acoustic section and again works wonderfully well.Joe's vocal soars alongside added percussion from the legendary Lenny Castro and a solo from Mats Wester on mandolin.
That is another thing that I love about Joe.He surrounds himself with some of the world's best musicians and he draws inspiration from them all.He allows them to all express themselves and all have solo spots that I am sure other musicians would say just look at me.
Photo Credit: Christie Goodwin
On the electric set opener I Can't Be Satisfied the first solo is played by the quite simply fantastic Reece Wynans on keyboards and then on new song One Less Cross To Bear we have a drum and percussion work out mid song by powerhouse drummer Tal Bergman and Castro again.Superb heavy riff from Joe on this one which welds together with the horn section that fills in the gap of the riff.
As it was recorded in 2015 we have a couple of songs from his recent Muddy Wolf project all showing off a real swing theme to them that seemed only right to play in New York.
If you have been lucky enough to see Joe play you never get a greatest hits set,but that shows he wants his fans to love all of his music and as the set concludes with 3 tracks off Different Shades Of Blue it seems only right that we get to see album tracks that deserve to be played live. Love Ain't A Love Song has a Reece Wynans extended keyboard solo in it where Joe takes a back seat before he unleashes a solo of pace,power and guitar pyrotechnics that few can match.
The dvd starts with a new Joe piece of music called Bite The Big Apple which suits the theme perfectly with scenes of New York all building up to Radio City Music Hall.
You see the back stage crew getting the show ready as well as Joe talking about his thoughts on the venue from the first time he saw it many years ago.
I love the scene where he is presented by his parents the trumpet played by his great grandfather at the venue generations ago.Joe displays a look of awe that shows he is still the excited child brought up with music in his life.
Superbly produced by Kevin Shirley and I love the slightly different look on the dvd when the screen splits into 2 or 4 showing off all of the band members and not just Joe.Unlike some filming's that go from one band member and back every milli second giving you a headache this seems to lovingly hang on every last look at Joe soloing or a band member work out.
The man just never stops does he but for that we should all be thankful as I really wish some of my favourite other bands or artist's had released more live albums and capture that moment in time that Joe Bonamassa does again and again and we look forward to the next instalment with The Three Kings set due for next year.
CD TRACK LISTING:
- 1. I Can't Be Satisfied
- 2. One Less Cross To Bear
- 3. Living On The Moon
- 4. I Gave Up Everything For You, 'Cept The Blues
- 5. Dust Bowl
- 6. Trouble Town
- 7. Still Water
- 8. Different Shades Of Blue
- 9. Happier Times
- 10. Never Give All Your Heart
- 11. Hidden Charms
- 12. Love Ain't A Love Song
- 13. So, What Would I Do?
- 1. Bite The Big Apple (titles)
- 2. Dust Bowl
- 3.Trouble Town
- 4. Still Water
- 5. Different Shades Of Blue
- 6. The Huckleberries - Introducing the acoustic band
- 7. Black Lung Heartache
- 8. Happier Times
- 9. Never Give All Your Heart
- 10. Hidden Charms
- 11. Living On The Moon
- 12. I Can't Be Satisfied
- 13. Double Trouble
- 14. One Less Cross To Bear
- 15. Love Ain't A Love Song
- 16. Introducing the Electric Band
- 17. "Happy Birthday Mom!"
- 18. I Gave Up Everything For You, 'Cept The Blues
- 19. So, What Would I Do?
1. Bite The Big Apple - (behind-the-scenes) 45 minutes
Photo Credit: Christie Goodwin