CD Reviews

Joe Bonamassa - 'Live At Radio City Music Hall' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 22, 2016    
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Another essential purchase for fans of one of the world's premier Blues players.

Probably the hardest working man in the music business today, Joe Bonamassa just keeps doing what he does – playing high quality Blues and releasing a steady stream of studio and live material, each one different enough from its predecessors to be worthwhile purchasing, but all with the same guarantee of top drawer musicianship and live excellence.

His latest release, 'Live At Radio City Music Hall' celebrates a milestone for Bonamassa himself, allowing him to document the fact he played at a historic venue which has housed performances across the years from every legend you care to think of, from Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr to icons like Ray Charles and Tony Bennett and divas Bette Midler and Liza Minelli all the way through to someone closer to Bonamassa's area of expertise in B.B. King.

Far from suggesting he belongs on that hallowed list, Bonamassa remains extremely humble and seems genuinely thrilled to have chance to perform there himself, so you can hardly blame him for wanting to document it. As usual though, he's made every effort to make sure this show has a bit of a twist in order to entice his loyal fan base even more.

Effectively appearing with two backing bands, the first half of the show features his amazing acoustic line-up, dubbed The Huckleberries, who impressed so heavily on his superb acoustic album recorded in Vienna. They deliver a stunning array of material, before the guitarist changes things up and brings on his regular touring band of Carmine Rojas, Reese Wynans and Tal Bergman to go electric. He also brings in a horns section once ag*ain to bolster the sound, something I've always loved.

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Set-list wise, Bonamassa also rings in the changes, offering cuts like 'Dust Bowl' and 'Love Ain't A Love Song' alongside several efforts which haven't been released live before, including 'Different Shades Of Blue' and 'I Gave Up Everything For You, 'Cept The Blues'. If that isn't incentive enough for his fan base, there is 'One Less Cross To Bear', an excellent brand new song that has also been added to the proceedings.

There is a vinyl release, but unless you're an absolute vinyl nut, the CD and DVD combination set offers more value. The audio side does omit six tracks that appear on the DVD, but still manages to encompass the feel of the show. The DVD itself not only has more songs, looks good and sounds superb, it even has an entertaining forty-five minute featurette taking you behind the scenes of this historic Joe Bonamassa show.

Another essential purchase for fans of one of the world's premier Blues players.

James Gaden

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