Beth Hart Barbican London 08-05-15

First up was singer/songwriter Miles Graham who played a 30 minute acoustic set joined by 2 colleagues,one sat on a cajon and the other on electric guitar.
His powerful voice worked well in the acoustic set up and his between song chatting with the audience showed a man comfortable with the large venue.
Ending with a cover of Hall & Oates's Maneater I'm sure he picked up a new legion of fans and one to look out for.

 Photo Credit  Jim Templeton Cross

 I have been fortunate to see Beth Hart on a number of occasions and her sheer presence lights up a venue.As she walks onto the sparsely lit stage(a few candles lit and tealights on her piano)barefoot the sense of witnessing something special was palpable.

Over the course of 2 hours she bared her soul alongside her incredible band and this is what she played.

1.       Mama This One’s For You
2.       I’ll Take Care of You(Bobby Bland cover)
3.       Get Your Shit Together 
4.       Can’t Let Go(Randy Weeks cover)
5.       Might As Well Smile
6.       Waterfalls
7.       Tell Her You Belong To Me
8.       Learning To Live
9.       Spirit of God
10.     Take It Easy on Me
11.     My California
12.     Sister Heroine
13      Chocolate Jesus(Tom Waits cover)
14.     Nutbush City Limits(Ike and Tina Turner cover)
15.     Broken and Ugly
16.     St. Teresa
17.     The Mood That I’m In
18.     Trouble
19.     I’d Rather Go Blind(Etta James cover)

20.     Better Than Home
21.     Mechanical Heart
22.     As Long As I Have A Song

Photo Credit Helen Bradley Owers

Starting with a song for her mum Mama's This One Is For You (the bonus track from her new album Better Than Home)alone with her piano and half lights this was raw,emotive and the crowd were spellbound as her vocal range was shown to all.She is able to tell a story that we can all relate to and with a passionate vocal to die for.

I love gigs for their noise but also the total opposite too.In the quieter moments you could have heard a pin drop as everyone present listened to every note and emotion and this was only song one!!

She was then joined by her band Jon Nichols (guitar), PJ Barth (guitar), Bob Marinelli (bass) & Julian Rodriguez (drums) who were all top quality musicians in their own right.

Next up was I'll Take Care Of You that Beth had covered with Joe Bonamassa on their Don't Explain cd and with band backing and superb acoustics in the large venue it went up a notch.PJ Barth did a lengthy emotive guitar solo and left me thinking that after 2 songs what an incredible standard had been set.

Photo Credit  Jim Templeton Cross

Looking at the set lists for this tour they have been mixing it up on a nightly basis but it didn't have that feel.Old favourites sat alongside new material alongside covers all played superbly and that one off feel that is so hard to do.Their was a freshness to their playing and a joy in playing great music.

I think the reason that Beth has been taken to our hearts is we can all relate to her.Songs about her mum,her reconciliation with her dad(Tell Her You Belong To Me)her total love for her husband Scott(My California), the joy at buying a house and now the worry of paying a mortgage(Ugliest House On The Block)and the ups and downs of life(Might As Well Smile).

Scott brings her a drink and is given a huge kiss and a pinch on the bum and he gives her a piece of paper and she tells us she is doing a special solo show at the Union Chapel in London on December the 14th.She says she will miss her band and please don't throw things if she is rubbish(as if) and then says that she isn't a great promoter!!

Photo Credit Helen Bradley Owers

Mid set she plays a lone Sister Heroine before the band rejoin her.A lone call for Chocolate Jesus has her knocking out the piano riff as her band who are putting on guitars now scramble around with the roadies to change them.A glare from Jon Nichols and a smile from Beth show it's only rock and roll !!

Following it up with a rollocking Nutbush City Limits was genius and Beth's powerful vocal over the full band work out was glorious.Even had a few on their feet downstairs!!

St Teresa from the new album was simply stunning with another vocal of power and poise.

Photo Credit Helen Bradley Owers

Trouble again from the new album had the band in full flow before the set closed as it should have with I'd Rather Go Blind the Etta James cover that Beth had done with Joe.
Beth really has made this song her own and it shows all of her vocal range to it's max.
Passion by the bucketload and a couple of notes right from the soles of her feet.
Barth again did a lengthy solo that I am sure Joe Bonamassa would have been proud to call his own.As the solo ended their was huge applause that went on and on as Barth looked a little embarrassed to the acclaim as Beth egged the crowd on.

A 3 song encore of songs from the new cd with the title track and the single Mechanical Heart shining.Great vocal melodies in the latter.

The evening ended where it started with Beth alone at the piano for a song about writing songs (As Long As I Have A Song) and another where anyone present can relate to her as we all love music and the songs and her.

Another wonderful vocal to finish an evening that was as good as any I can remember.

Beth Hart in my opinion is the best female vocalist and performer on the planet and an unstoppable force.

Photo Credit Helen Bradley Owers

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