Friday, 21 April 2017

Joe Bonamassa `Live at Royal Albert Hall` Live Review

Photo credit: Laurence Harvey

With its grand opening way back in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall has held vast concerts, extraordinary events and has stood the test of time holding its self high as a true purveyor of the arts. Tonight’s showing is no different although it’s certainly more electric than the annual Proms. 

Joe Bonamassa who expertly combines arguably the two most important era’s of blues music from the Mississippi Delta sound in the US which was strangely misplaced by the American music community until the British invasion where bands like The Stones, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page where delivering back that Blues sound with altogether different attitude and energy. 

Ok, so if you weren’t quite sure on Joe Bonamassa, you’re a little more up to speed. 

Now in my 13 years of concert going, it’s certainly nice to still be achieving firsts of venue visits. The Royal Albert Hall is certainly a splendid venue artistically and on tonight’s showing is perfectly suited to Joe’s historical lesson on the blues albeit beefed up and highly amplified. With no support act on tonight’s bill, we are treated to about two and half hours or 16 songs, the full set list is below.

Joe’s magic on the guitar is certainly no mean feat and his vast array of guitars on choice here are simply mindboggling, certainly if you enjoy ogling at guitar well dare I say porn, then Joe has the best on show, from Korina Flying V’s through to 59’ Les Pauls, he has it all. The backing group shall we call them are a who’s who of whom has played with Joe for many years and certainly have accreditation lists a mile long including The Tonight’s Show and working with Stevie Ray Vaughan, the amalgamation of the group definitely feels like your stepping back in time with Joe’s big band approach. 

To the songs themselves, a group of 16 songs spanning Joe’s career so far, although one or two personal favourites got missed but it’s nice to hear something different in the mix. Rarely, are any of the songs that Joe puts together are 3 minute radio friendly smackers, these are far more elaborate workings, yet all the guitar work is strangely simple yet so pure and wonderful to hear each note ring out. The band and Joe are exceptional on a number of the songs such as `How Deep This River Runs`, where to single out the backing singers are in such fine voice. 

As with `Love Ain’t a Love Song`, where Joe’s ability to build a song into a crescendo of sheer noise and fun is exactly what we love about him. 

The crowd, even though my 3rd time watching the blues maestro is still an odd one as it’s all seated although that’s perfect for tonight, it feels that some energy is lost between crowd and Joe due to this separation and certainly takes a good while to build up that liveliness that a support band would have been ideal for. Also just a on a very small side note, this also might have been improved if Joe was a little more interactive with the crowd during the earlier part of the show. Still he’s a man who speaks through his guitar where his true voice lies. 

Overall an absolutely brilliant set from the Blues master, the setting, the backing band are all absolutely on fire for tonight’s performance and after 2 and half hours people will certainly feel that they got a lot of Joe for their buck. 

Photo Credit: Laurence Harvey

9/10- Joe is the king of mordern blues, he’s no pretender. 

Stand out tracks:
`How Deep This River Runs` and `Love Ain’t a Love Song`

Set Listing:
1. This Train
2. Mainline Florida
3. Mountain Climbing
4. Blues of Desperation 
5. No Good Place for the Lonely 
6. How Deep This River Runs
7. Boogie with Stu
8. Never Make Your Move Too Soon
9. Angel of Mercy
10. Love Ain’t a Love Song
11. Dust Bowl
12. Little Girl
13. Pretending
14. Black Winter/Django
15. How Many More Times
16. Hummingbird

Joe Bonamassa on the net: 

All Photo's accreditation: