Joe Bonamassa...where do I start? He is probably the most recognised name in Blues Rock at the current time thanks to a stellar, but extremely busy, solo career and also as a member of the stunning Black Country Communion (although that could be about to change as I write this)! Hey, he seems to release more albums than I’ve had hot dinners, but they have always been quality in my opinion. ‘Beacon Theatre: Live From New York’ is the latest addition to that collection. It is essentially a double CD or vinyl (if you’re that way inclined) version of the similarly named DVD which was released about six months ago and that, dear readers, makes it a blessing and a curse. Musically, you cannot fault this. It contains twenty beautifully executed songs covering Joe’s solo career; his guitar work is exemplary, the band are extremely tight and you can feel the connection between them. The three special guests that make appearances (Beth Hart, John Hiatt and Paul Rogers) are all stunning, especially Beth who has an incredible voice and the production is absolutely spot on (Kevin Shirley can do no wrong at the moment), but having been lucky enough to see him live as both a solo artist and with BCC I want to WATCH this, not just listen, so that I can get, as near as damn, the true live experience of a Bonamassa gig.
In these hard economic times, releasing this now, so soon after the DVD, feels like a cash-in to me. Fans that already have the DVD are being asked to pay again for a CD version when they could easily have been released together as a single package. The official blurb says this is to promote Joe’s upcoming London gigs in 2013 but, let’s face it, Mr. B doesn’t really need that exposure; the gigs are going to be well attended regardless. Of course, there are almost certainly some people out there yet to discover the magic of Bonamassa and for them I would recommend they buy the DVD or pick up one of his solo albums instead. Bonamassa has proved that hard work, as well as an abundance of talent, can give you a successful and profitable career without having the backing of a major deal. This year alone we have had the DVD, a new solo album and the soon to be released third BCC album! I just hope that the ringing of a till is not getting in the way of his musical ethics and for that reason this release has to drop a couple of marks.
BEACON THEATRE - LIVE FROM NEW YORK
Review by Rick Tilley
56:12 & 63:04
DISC ONE: 1) 72nd St.Subway Blues; 2) Slow Train; 3) Cradle Rock; 4) When the Fire Hits the Sea; 5) Midnight Blues; 6) Dust Bowl; 7) The River; 8) I'll Take Care of You; 9) Sinner's Prayer; 10) You Better Watch Yourself; 11) Steal Your Heart Away
DISC TWO: 1) Bird on a Wire; 2) Down Around My Place; 3) I Know a Place; 4) Blue & Evil; 5) Walk in My Shadows; 6) Fire and Water; 7) Mountain Time; 8) Young Man Blues; 9) If Heartaches Were Nickels
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...twenty beautifully executed songs covering Joe’s solo career; his guitar work is exemplary..."