Music Review: Joe Bonamassa ‘Beacon Theatre: Live From New York’

Beacon Theatre: Live From New York
Joe Bonamassa
Provogue Records
September 25, 2011 US: CD | MP3
September 24, 2011 UK: CD | MP3

Albums with Black Country Communion, a duet with Beth Hart, a solo album, and inspired guest appearances with the likes of Lesley West and Derek Sherinian has seen majestically talented blues rock singer and guitarist Joe Bonamassa finally start to get the recognition he deserves. After over 12 years he has been slowly improving over his 14 solo albums and the last year or so has seen him in a rich vein of form.

During this time the king of modern blues rock recorded his fourth live album, Beacon Theatre: Live From New York on November 5, 2011. It’s an impressive 2-disc set with some of Bonamassa’s finest recent work including “When The Fire Hits The Sea,” “Dust Bowl,” “Blue And Evil,” and striking covers of Gary Moore’s “Midnight Blues” and Rory Gallagher’s “Cradle Rock.”

The thing that Bonamassa continues to improve on with each album is his voice. It has come leaps and bounds, most notably in recent years, and slowly his young body is catching up with his old soul. There is no comparison between his weak, unconfident singing on the 2009 live album Live From Nowhere In Particular and the deep, powerful voice that is beginning to go gravelly around the edges in 2011.

Joining Bonamassa on the Beacon Theatre stage is some of the finest blues voices around, but Bonamassa manages to hold his own. Beth Hart lends her sultry crooning to two cuts from the duet album Don’t Explain, while John Hiatt and Paul Rodgers blow the blues out of the sky on the likes of “I Know A Place” and “Fire And Water” with their elder statesmen tones.

The only disappointment with this album is that disc 2 stutters and loses its flow in places. Making way for special guests Hiatt and Rodgers to appear between such short breaks (whereas Beth Hart’s appearance on disc 1 feels more natural) takes you out of the Bonamassa experience slightly as the tone changes to make way for new voices. Singularly, the tracks all hold up on their own, which makes it a highly recommended purchase.

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