How do you get to Carnegie Hall? That is a question that’s been on the lips of many a musician. It’s a historic venue in the heart of Manhattan, and a venue that has held some absolute memorable moments not just in music history but also it includes Suffragette speeches in 1908, through to the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s film `The Kid’ in 1921 and The Beatles in 1964.
For Joe Bonamassa, his already extensive list of played venues is as long as it is illustrious, yet one venue that eluded him was Carnegie Hall. The bonus content on this DVD, Joe explains that from boyhood dream Carnegie Hall was the last one on his bucket list and precisely why it wasn’t his usual foray with electric instruments.
To the main feature, the way the stage is set up and presence of the band is almost homely like Joe’s playing in your living room or at the end of the most picturesque pub nestled somewhere a village of equal beauty straight away Joe invites you in.
The inclusion of such an outstanding group of individuals is quite astonishing, although that’s not saying due to their quality but the fact Joe can transpose what would be a rip roaring electric blues set to an acoustic one and have many elements of world music is a huge credit to each individual member bringing in their stamp on this illustrious evening.
Before we mention particular songs, draw your attention to the guitars on stage, mostly Gibson’s and most being at least 100 years old or there around, so in the grand scheme of things the blues should be played on these old beauties something that I’m sure the likes of Robert Johnson would have only dreamed of.
Opening the show with `This Train` it’s a very upbeat rendition of the electric driven piece, although the crowd haven’t started bouncing on their chairs, it’s definitely the right track and right mood to get them ready for an hour and half of a musical extravaganza.
Although on `Drive`, Joe and company bring that ecstatic feeling down to earth with the adding a far more sombre tone that blues music does replicate, although some may assume that the blues can be all like `Drive` yet the Blues is very expressive and these two songs are perfect examples of that.
One aspect of `Live at Carnegie Hall’ and one that’s very much part of Joe’s sound is the use of world instruments and on this occasion Joe’s band consists of Egyptian, Australian, of course American and Chinese members, each adding in an extra ingredient to serve the song.
Joe is relentless with releases, with some who churn out so many albums so quickly, it can become tiresome yet with Joe his unique vision 99% of the time will result in watching something or listening to an album that’s pretty darn special. He won’t just put out a live album of `Live at?’ if it doesn’t have any resonance with himself or his audience. Definitely with `Live at Carnegie Hall’, you get that sense of true accomplishment that he’s doing something he loves and wants you to come along for the ride.
9/10- Joe’s last venue on his bucket list, warm and inviting, its Joe B to a T.
Stand out tracks:
`Drive’, `This Train` and `The Rose'
1. Cold Streets (Intro)
2. This Train
4. The Valley Runs Low
5. Dust Bowl
6. Driving Towards The Daylight
7. Black Lung Heartache
8. Blue and Evil
9. Livin’ Easy
10. Get Back My Tomorrow
11. Mountain Time
12. How Cam a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?
13. Song of Yesterday
14. Woke Up Dreaming
16. The Rose
17. Cold Streets (Credits)
Joe Bonamassa online: