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Beth Hart - 'Live At The Royal Albert Hall' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/a6/ea/2c/beth-hart-live-at-the-royal-albert-hall-11-1558032744.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 16, 2019    
 
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A great example of a live performance from this extremely special artist.

A few years back I was asked to take photos of a Blues singer I'd never heard of at a small club in Southampton; the journalist I was with had never heard of her either. That night Beth Hart sang from her soul, shared her darkest and best moments with us, and won our hearts forever. We both agreed we'd witnessed something intimate and special, and that it was unlikely we would ever see her in a venue that small again. Fast forward six years and Hart was at The Royal Albert Hall, and for the benefit of those who have yet to catch her live, the show was recorded.

It's always fun when I review or photograph Hart to ask fellow reviewers if they've seen her live before. Then I watch the conversion as they experience this powerhouse for the first time. This live double album gives you an opportunity to experience this true force of nature for yourself.

This two-disc release is a full recording of the show and thankfully it hasn't been edited to just include the music. Hart's shows are a stream of consciousness, and she frequently shares with her audience the events that led her to writing a particular song; this can often be fun or indeed heart-breaking. The momentousness of the occasion (plus the fact her mother was in the audience) contributed to the most gut-wrenching version of 'Sister Heroine' I've ever heard – it reduced me (quite literally) to tears.

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Her set-lists are never the same and quite often they vary on the night depending on how she feels. She often follows an emotionally-draining song with a more "up tune"; in this case 'My Baby Shot Me Down'. She shares the best and the worst of her experiences, including some old favourites like 'The Ugliest House On The Block'. For many years she was undiagnosed bi-polar; this is such an integral part of her being and it seems to make her sensitive to the atmosphere around her. At The Royal Albert Hall that night, she seemed to draw on the support from the audience and this album seems to capture that symbiosis; she both gives and receives.

This live recording perfectly captures the atmosphere of this intimacy. If you're a fan, then this album is a great example of a live performance from this extremely special artist, but if you've not met Beth Hart before, this is a wonderful insight into what all the fuss is about.

Helen Bradley

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