Bonamassa Still On A Roll With His Latest Live Release

Courtesy:  J&R Adventures

Courtesy: J&R Adventures

Joe Bonamassa has been on quite the roll as of late.  After having released what was one of 2012’s Top 10 Live Recordings last year, Bonamassa has picked up 2013 exactly where he left 2012; with one of this year’s top live recordings.  That recording is An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House.

An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House has been released both on Blu-ray and DVD as well as double CD set.  That audiences have been offered so many options alone makes this new recording one of 2013’s best.  The audio companion to the Blu-ray and DVD portion is nice to have.  Though, the Blu-ray and DVD offer audiences the best experience.  The video and audio are both top notch, especially on the Blu-ray.  That is especially the case for those with a home surround sound theater system.  Collected here in this performance are stripped down versions of songs from Bonamassa’s previously released albums.  Long time fans will recognize: ‘The Ballad of John Henry’, ‘Jelly Roll’, ‘Seagull’, ‘Dust Bowl’, ‘Sloe Gin’, and the title track from his most recent album, ‘Driving Toward The Daylight’ just to name a handful.  They are just part of the enjoyment that audiences get from this latest live release from one of the music industry’s current top guitarists.

The songs performed in this set are enjoyable in and of themselves.  But it’s not just the songs that are enjoyable.  The concert’s setting adds to the enjoyment factor.  It’s a basic, stripped down set with J.B. sitting calmly out front, singing and playing his instrument, and his band mates backing him.  There are no special effects, no pyrotechnics, and no special lighting rigs.  It’s just a group of musicians, their instruments, and the audience.  It’s music as it should be experienced.  Watching J.B. with nothing but his shades and his guitar, sweating as he played the blues echoed hints of legends the likes of Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt.  It is simply put a pure, raw experience.  And thanks to those behind the cameras, the experience is that much more incredible.

Thanks to producer Kevin Shirley, director Philippe Klose, and all others involved, the recorded performance has made for one of 2013’s Top 10 Live Recordings.  Both the video and audio presented in the Blu-ray disc are crystal clear.  The performance here is presented in widescreen, adding yet another touch to the overall product.  That the performance was recorded at the Vienna Opera House makes it even more special.  The juxtaposition of this modern artist performing a mix of modern and classic blues pieces in one of Vienna’s most famed structures puts the whole thing over the top.  Now, had the CD, DVD and Blu-ray been released in one large box as an option, it might have made its way to the very top of the year’s Top 10 Live Recordings list.  Regardless, considering all of what has been noted, it still remains one of this year’s top Live Recordings.  It is both an excellent introduction to Joe Bonamassa’s music for new audiences, and a must have for long time fans.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the official Joe Bonamassa website at http://jbstore.jbonamassa.com/blu-ray/an-acoustic-evening-at-the-vienna-opera-house-blu-ray/.

For those itching to see Joe live, he is currently touring in support of this new live release.  He is currently finishing up a string of U.K. dates and will be returning to the U.S. on April 12th at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, Washington.  Fans in North Carolina will possibly get the chance to see him later this year as he is scheduled to perform at the Crown Theatre in Fayetteville, North Carolina on November 10th.  That performance will be followed up by a performance at the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 12th.  For a full listing of tour dates and all the latest news, go online to the official Joe Bonamassa website, http://www.jbonamassa.com or his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/JoeBonamassa.

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Bonamassa’s “Driving Toward The Daylight” is a great ride

Joe Bonamassa recently celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday.  Typically, the one celebrating the birthday is the one getting the gifts.  But in Bonamassa’s case, he is giving his fans a gift, albeit it just a little bit after his birthday.  The gift in question is his new upcoming album, “Driving Towards The Daylight.”  The album hits stores next Tuesday.  And whether one is a fan of JB himself or a fan of the blues, this new album is a wonderful addition to any music lover’s library.

“Driving Towards The Daylight” is a great bookend to an already positive start to the year for Joe Bonamassa.  He started the year with the outstanding blu-ray and double disc dvd release of “Beacon Theatre:  Live at Beacon Theatre.”  Then, he recently celebrated his birthday.  This new release is just one more addition for his fans.  The album is a solid mix of blues and blues-based rock that will have any listener tapping his or her feet.  It takes a handful of new material and throws in classics from the likes of Howlin Wolf (‘Who’s Been Talking?’) and Robert Johnson (‘Stones in My Passway’) for good measure.  There’s even a rendition of Willie Dixon’s ‘I Got All You Need’ and Tom Waits’ hit, ‘New Coat of Paint.’ 

The covers included on “Driving Towards The Daylight” are great additions to the album.  But J.B.’s originals shouldn’t and can’t be ignored, either.  The album’s opener, ‘Dislocated Boy’ is a modern blues hit. Bonamassa shows yet again with this song that even as young as he is, he’s just as talented as legends the likes of: Warren Haynes, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, and so many others.  That’s the case both with his vocals and his guitar work.  His talent is just as evident in the album’s more rock oriented title track.  What’s really interesting about this song is that the title might make one think it’s an up-tempo hard rocking piece.  But the reality is that it’s actually more of a borderline ballad of sorts.  That’s not a bad thing, either.  It’s an easily accessible song that any listener will enjoy.  Add in guest musicians, Anton Fig (drums) Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford and his son, Harrison, and audiences get a song that is arguably one of the major highlights of this album.  Famed drummer Anton Fig helps out throughout the album.  He and Whitford are also joined by producer Kevin Shirley (Dream Theater).  Shirley adds in his own contributions on guitar, percussion, and even toy piano on different songs.   

The guest musicians and cover songs do their part to make “Driving Towards The Daylight” a great new release from Joe Bonamassa.  The production by Kevin Shirley makes the album that much better.  Add in the raw talent of Joe Bonamassa himself, and audiences get what is not just one of the best blues records of the year, but one of the best albums of the year, too.

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Joe Bonamassa adds one more to the list of 2012’s great live recordings

Joe Bonamassa is a modern day music legend.  This guitar virtuoso is right up there with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, B.B. King and so many other guitar greats.  That multi-faceted mix of raw talent has been expertly captured on his new live double disc dvd, “Beacon Theatre:  Live From new York.”

Bonamassa and his band are shown at the top of their game in this performance, recorded last year.  From the raw energy of ‘Cradle Rock’ to the beautiful, emotional ‘Bird on a Wire’ to the Jimi Hendrix-esque ‘Blue and Evil’, there is little, if anything, bad that can be said of Joe Bonamasa and company in this performance.  The entire band shines both on its own and as a supporting act to guest artists Beth Hart, John Hiatt, and Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm).  Audiences really do feel the respect between the band and the guest vocalists throughout the duration of the concert.

Of course, those moments aren’t all that make this performance so great.  One of the greatest moments of the show comes in the show’s closer, ‘Young Man Blues.’  The control of drummer Tal Bergman is immense with each (yes,each) drum solo used to set up each segment of the song.  It does so to help build the anticipationof what’s to come next.  the music presented by Joe Bonamasa and his bandmates makes for an outstanding show.  But one would be remiss to ignore the show’s production values, as they add their own element to the overall enjoyment of seeing J.B. and company live.

Kudos are in order to director Scot McFadyen and eveybody behind the scenes of the show.  The video and audio are very well balanced throughout the course of the concert.  This is the case both on the blu-ray and standard def dvd presentation.  The video is especially clear on both versions, as the concert was shot in high definition.  So no matter which format audiences may choose, they will be getting an excellent presention, all the way around.  Combine the top notch production values of the concert recording with a solid set list, and audiences get a show that is easily one of the best home live releases of the year.

For fans who want more new material from Joe, fear not.  Joe has a new album out later this month titled, “Driving Towards The Daylight.”  And in support of the album, he’s already headed out on a tour that will take him straight through December.  North Carolina fans will be excited to know that Joe will be making a stop at the nationally known Durham Performing Arts Center on November 28th.  Fans can check into tickets and more on the DPAC website, http://www.dpacnc.com.  Joe’s fans can follow his tour news and more online at http://www.jbonamasa.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JoeBonamassa, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JBONAMASSA