I have to admit, having been to this concert in June 2016, I was concerned that the CD/DVD would never be released. It has, and all Bonamassa fans will be delighted at the result. Hopefully, some new fans will listen as well, for this is one of the master guitarists of any generation.
This concert follows on from the Muddy Waters/Howlin’ Wolf tribute and the Three Kings homage, covering most of Joes’ major influences.
Bonamassas’ debt to British blues is well documented, and here he reveals a deep understanding, as well as love, of the music of his three British influences, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Paige. To my mind, Joe wisely stays away from the main songs of each artist, presumably to avoid direct comparison. This decision also enables Joe and the band to play exactly the tracks they like best.
Don’t get it wrong, this is no slavish tribute, more a use of the material as a starting point for some splendid re-interpretations. Bonamassa has never been afraid to collaborate or to share the limelight and this is true once again here, sharing lead vocals with Russ Irwin on “Let me love you, Baby”, and allowing keyboard player Reese Wynans plenty of solo work, particularly on “Boogie with Stu”.
Pretty much all forms of Blues are here, boogie woogie, the driving rock of “Motherless Children”, the hard blues-rock of “Spanish Boots”, the moodiness of “Tea for one/I can’t quit you baby” and the sheer fun of “Little Girl”.
As you would expect, there are plenty of extended guitar solos here, particularly on “SWLABR” and “How many more times”, which feature the trademark ‘controlled’ improvisation we have come to expect! The album should have been subtitled ‘Bonamassa Unleashed’. Favourite tracks? well, all really, but “Spanish Boots” and “Pretending” really stand out, as does the exceptional playing on “Blackwater/Django”, a track which reveals the Spanish/Mexican and Eastern influences on Joes’ playing.
The band is rounded out by the effortless bass playing of Michael Rhodes and Anton Fig on drums.I love watching Fig, as he relishes playing live after so many years in the studio and on the David Letterman show, attacking the kit as if it might be the last chance he gets.
- Beck’s Bolero/Rice Pudding
- Mainline Florida
- Boogie with Stu
- Let me love you, baby
- Plynth (Water down the drain)
- Spanish Boots
- Double crossing time.
- Motherless children
- Tea for one/I can’t quit you, baby
- Little Girl
- Black winter/Django
- How many more times