Beacon Theatre: Live from New York CD
Mascot Label Group/Provogue Records
Opening with instrumental ‘72nd St. Subway Blues’ it was clear that the 2,829 capacity crowd were going to have a lot of fun with this live show at the famous Beacon Theatre in New York (a home crowd for Bonamassa as he was born in New Hartford, New York State). ‘Cradle Rock’ really packs a punch with Tal Bergman (drums) laying down the beat. ‘When the Fire Hits the Sea’ showcases Rick Melick on keyboards and Joe’s vocals are stunning on ‘Midnight Blues’. Joining him onstage is friend and collaborator Beth Hart who sounds a lot like Annie Lennox on ‘I’ll Take Care of You’ whilst Ray Charles’s ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ (one of Beth Hart’s favourite songs) just shows how perfect the Bonamassa/Hart pairing is.
‘You Better Watch Yourself’ (my personal favourite Joe Bonamassa song) allows the band just to rock out and Carmine Rojas on bass is just an absolute professional. Bobby Parker’s ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ is a really dark song but beautifully delivered. The next special guest is John Hiatt for ‘Down Around My Place’ and ‘I Know A Place’ both songs written by him. A quality of Joe is that because he is a genuine ‘fan’ of his guests he is honoured to perform with them and although it is his headline show, he gives them space to be themselves and doesn’t overshadow them or outplay them ever. Then Joe tells the audience ‘It’s time to welcome another friend to the stage… Mr Paul Rodgers.’ I have been fortunate enough to see him live and meet him and like Joe he is just one of the nicest guys. ‘Walk in My Shadows’ and ‘Fire and Water’ are great additions to this set.
In summary, this CD is a clear indication that Joe Bonamassa is fortunate enough to have multi-talented musicians and friends play with him and he knows that and is extremely grateful.