Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall-An Acoustic Evening

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On January 21st and 22nd 2016 world-renowned platinum-selling and Grammy nominated blues-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Joe Bonamassa performed two unique all-acoustic shows at the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York City. Both performances were filmed and made into "Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall - An Acoustic Evening" that will be released on CDDVDBlu-Ray and Vinyl on Friday 23rd June 2017.

The concert was part of a special all-acoustic tour and featured an all-star ensemble of world-class musicians. Acclaimed Chinese cellist and erhuist Tina Guo, who's repertoire stretches from classical to heavy metal; and Hossam Ramzy, the Egyptian percussionist and composer, who has performed on dozens of film soundtracks and records, including on Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s No Quarter: Unledded Tour.

The line-up is completed with Reese Wynans (piano), Anton Fig (Drums) Eric Bazilian (mandolin, hurdy-gurdy, saxophone, acoustic guitar, vocals), and three Australian backing vocalists, Mahalia BarnesJuanita Tippins and Gary Pinto.

Photo Credit: Christie Goodwin

Joe comments: "Despite being among the most ambitious things I’ve done – I played with a 9 piece acoustic band – It came out great. It was a typical Joe freak show."

With a different feel to the 2013 Live At The Vienna Opera House acoustic cd and dvd with this smorgasbord of musical accompaniments his current band mates Reese Wynans on piano and Anton Fig on drums are as ever world class.There is such a lot going on with every available gap filled with wonderful backing vocals too.

Joe Bonamassa is the hardest working musician on the planet and here he manages to lovingly recreate well known Joe compositions and covers into entirely new creations and for me really focus on the songs.Taking them back to how they were written and then rebuilding them with the thought being of making the song the best it can be.

Guitar parts are replaced with piano parts or maybe a cello it really doesn't matter as it's the whole song that counts.Leaving the listener with a new interpretation on a well known tune and leaving you wanting more as all good albums should.

Playing the cd to a friend the comment was you forget you are listening to Joe Bonamassa the best guitarist on the planet but listening to Joe Bonamassa's music.

Yes they are some stunning acoustic passages where Joe plays unlike anyone else could but he seems happy to be allowing the music to breathe and revelling in the space provided as it also allows his vocals to shine.He really has worked so hard on his voice and it is a world class instrument too and here in collaboration with 3 stunning backing vocalists it stands up magnificently.

Reese starts the cd with a short sharp burst of Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath before Joe's acoustic guitar riff kicks in and a fast paced This Train where the percussive brilliance of Hossam Ramzy is simply stunning and Joe's mid song solo keeps pace on a tune that will put a huge smile on your face.

Drive was built for this sort of show with Joe's picking of the riff superb alongside piano interludes and Joe's vocal melody mesmerising.Anton Fig starts a mid paced beat with the backing vocals dipping in and out too.Joe again happy to let the world class musicians to have their say before he nails a simply wonderful guitar solo again all picked notes and melodic intent.

The Valley Runs Low was a welcome addition to the recent Royal Albert Hall shows and here in stripped back form Joe's vocal soars and the chorus part with back and forth vocal duelling with the backing singers take it to the next level.I could listen to that chorus over and over again it is that good.A percussive band master class mid song seals the deal.

Dust Bowl starts with just Joe vocally and picking the intro before everyone kicks in during the chorus taking it to a crescendo and then back down for the verse where the backing vocals dip in and out.Joe's mid song solo gets your feet and head moving and a plethora of percussive instruments add to the depth of the song.

Driving Towards The Daylight see Joe's soulful vocal to the fore and the backing vocal during the chorus is again beautifully choreographed and you can see the work during rehearsal has paid dividends as the 2 sides of the vocal compliment each other so so well.
Towards the end of the song Reese plays a beautiful piano solo with backing vocals dipping in and out with Joe happy to take a back seat.

Black Lung Heartache is all stop start instrumentation and a real stomp as they all kick in and Joe's vocal again superb with Eric Bazilian's mandolin shining through.

Blue And Evil sees Tina Guo’s cello taking centre stage for a solo giving yet another different instrument a headline slot alongside more wonderful vocals from Joe and the backing singers.

Livin' Easy is played as a smoky jazz club all shuffle and tone and laid back approach with piano interlude's and saxophone too.This band really can do it all.

Get Back My Tomorrow ups the pace and the first audience clapping along part in the intro and the jaunty bounce along riff shines and more wonderful vocals from all involved along with more percussive brilliance from Fig and Ramzy.

Mountain Time is simply beautiful with Reese's piano backing Joe's emotive vocal where he really pushes himself and again flashes of strings before backing vocals soar with Joe taking the emotion levels ever higher. The backing vocals never over power Joe just add to the brilliance contained within.The lengthy outro sees Joe hitting some lengthy held notes vocally before a band work out with swathes of backing vocals and again no guitar solo but not missed as the breath taking adaption of a much loved song hits new heights.

Ry Cooder's How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live? is just Joe and a strummed guitar to start before Reese adds piano textures and then some gospel style backing vocals soar with Jimmy Barnes's daughter Mahalia then showing her class with a solo vocal spot before Joe's picked guitar solo.

Black Country Communion's Song Of Yesterday is fleshed out to over 9 minutes with string backing as the musical notes resonate to the stars and percussive genius of Ramzy really staggers in the outro with Fig battering his kit to an inch of it's life.Joe lets the backing vocals take the lead at times on the chorus as his passionate delivery on the verse leads the way. 

Woke Up Dreaming starts with a cello solo at fever pitch pace with Joe's insistent guitar riff keeping pace and as the vocals kick in they fight to keep up with the fast pace.This song veers away madly from the original mid song with cello and Joe's strumming at super speed before a quiet interlude before it all goes off kilter with everyone begging to be heard.Wow.The crowd let out a huge roar as the vocals kick back in after some musical extravagance.

BB King's Hummingbird is a laid back alternative with Joe's passionate vocal centre stage with Reese alongside him on piano.As the chorus kicks in backing vocals add to the depth before Joe's picked guitar solo shows the man's qualities before it all builds to a huge vocal smorgasbord in the outro with Joe taking a back seat.

The performance ends on a cover of  Amanda McBroom’s Grammy Award winning The Rose – made famous by Bette Midler in the eponymous 1979 movie, loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin, and Joe excels with a stunning vocal on the laid back number that draws to a close an evening where Joe Bonamassa shows once again takes a chance and along with his stunning band smashes it out of the park.

The man can do no wrong as he continues and strives to be the very best there is.

Once again stunning.

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