"Joe Bonamassa: Live A The Hollywood Bowl With Orchestra"

In an unparalleled blend of blues, rock, and orchestral majesty, Joe Bonamassa is set to release Live At The Hollywood Bowl on June 21st via J&R Adventures. This monumental CD/DVD, also available in CD/BR, 2 LP Vinyl (180-gram), and digital formats, immortalizes Joe's first-ever performance at the iconic Hollywood Bowl on August 9th 2023. Accompanied by an impressive ensemble of 40 orchestra members, Bonamassa delivered a performance that will now be forever encapsulated on film and audio. 

Live At The Hollywood Bowl With Orchestra showcases Bonamassa’s virtuosic blend of blues and rock but also elevates fan-favorite tracks with grandiose orchestral arrangements by some of Hollywood's finest – David Campbell, Trevor Rabin, and Jeff Bova and lovingly produced by Kevin Shirley. I saw a comment from Kevin where he said Please enjoy the hours spent mixing - on your phone!!! This needs listening to on the biggest tv and speakers possible to hear every instrument and nuance in the music where it has been expertly orchestrated to embellish an already wonderful catalogue.

After moving to Los Angeles in 2003 in search of opportunity, and cheaper rent than New York City and after playing his first gig at The Mint in front of 5 friends Joe's dream was playing at the Hollywood Bowl and now for us all to see his dream came true.

Joe is joined by Josh Smith on guitar, a rhythm team that few can match of Calvin Turner on bass and Lemar Carter on drums and backing vocals from Jade Macrae and Dannielle DeAndrea and the legend that is Reese Wynans on Hammond organ and keys.

I have been lucky enough to sit through the Blu Ray 3 times now and this is the consummate Joe Bonamassa live performance with each song a highlight and everybody plays their part taking each song to another level. 

The orchestration has every gap filled whether it's woodwind ,brass, percussion or strings and each time you hear something different and I love the way the songs have been given the chance to breathe and the orchestra complements each song and only adds to it majesty.

An orchestral piece leads into opener Curtain Call and Joe's guitar riff is backed by the  orchestra and Calvin Turner's bass is bright and pinning down the rhythm alongside the powerhouse drumming of Lemar Carter. Joe's mid song slide guitar solo is spectacular and backed by swathes of strings as the orchestra build to a climax and back to the next verse and the song ends with a Josh Smith guitar solo.

Self Inflicted Wounds slows the pace down with Calvin's bass parts early in the song again a highlight. The song has been slowed down a notch for this show with the orchestral parts vibrant and each listen reveals another texture it really is stunningly created.
Joe shows off his other world class instrument with his vocals deep and his held notes show such control and how he has developed over the years .
Joe's guitar solo is breath taking in it's held notes and poise and taking it down a notch only increases the power within.
The song ends with Jade Macrae showing off her vocal acrobatics and held notes that few can match. Wow.

No Good Place For The Lonely sees Reese's Hammond sound beautifully  leading the song into the first verse and the orchestra adding depth to the main riff but also underpinning the verse and melody. Joe's mid song guitar solo with the pace down a touch the orchestral parts mould seamlessly with the band and Calvin's bass work and as Joe increases in power the band and orchestra do too up to the songs climax.

Ball Peen Hammer works so well with the orchestra filling in the gaps and they take over fully in the mid song workout with Joe standing back watching admiringly and great backing vocals only add to the depth involved.

The Last Matador Of Bayonne was a welcome addition at the Royal Albert Hall recently. Here it takes on another life with it's lone trumpet intro and the picked notes from Joe haunting alongside orchestral beauty. Joe's vocal matches the tone perfectly and his held notes are a work of art and show his off vocal prowess perfectly.
The mid song part with guitar and orchestra working in harmony as the song builds alongside each other as the guitar solo then takes it to another place musically is superb.
Then down a notch for more orchestration and picked notes before Joe's vocal in the outro is joined by the girls as the song ends.

Prisoner had me reaching for Joe's back catalogue and finding it on Dust Bowl and his cover of Barbara Streisand is quite magnificent. Starting on electric picked notes from Joe and Reese's Hammond swathes deep and meaningful and Joe's vocal in the verse superb before being backed up in the chorus by Jade and Dannielle. Second verse takes it down a notch so Reese and the orchestra are backing Joe's vocal again beautifully captured by Kevin Shirley's wonderful production. Joe's mid song guitar solo is lone with orchestra backing filling in the gaps and as it slowly increases in pace before Joe turns on the power and the band come back in for full effect.Joe's lengthy outro guitar solo has conductor of the orchestra David Campbell watching on in admiration with the backing vocals now taking lead. Brilliant.

If Heartaches Were Nickels sees more Joe vocal brilliance on a slow adaption of the song and plenty of orchestration that ebbs and flows alongside the vocal before Lemar kicks in for the second verse. Reese has a Hammond solo before Jade again shows her prowess in a lengthy vocal outro and Joe the proud parent asking the crowd for more applause for her.

Joe Bonamassa is the brand but Joe Bonamassa is a band with stunning performances and Joe is always willing to let any of them take centre stage and the applause that follows deservedly is theirs.

The Ballad Of John Henry is up next and is full of orchestration swathes alongside Joe's main guitar riff and the girls backing vocals.
Mid song band interplay is led by Lemar's drum rhythm track and the orchestra before Joe's guitar solo is backed by Calvin's bass and then into an orchestra led part before back to the main chorus.
A classic Joe song that takes on a new life and shows a depth of musical dexterity that blows the mind in the orchestra outro.

First encore Twenty Four Hour Blues from Blues Deluxe Volume 2 is another that has a slower feel with the orchestra taking it to another level and backing Joe's main guitar riff with plenty of Joe soloing and the girls taking on the chorus in the outro.

Sloe Gin had to be the show closer and after Reese's beautiful keys opening backing Joe's guitar picked notes the orchestra add depth and backing and Joe's superb vocal has the girls backing him at points of the verse and chorus.
Just sit back and watch the excellence within as all contribute taking one of Joe's classic songs to places we have not seen and be thankful that Joe and his band have no boundaries and are willing to take a chance and wow how it has paid off.

Every live release from Joe Bonamassa shows off his and his band's talent and the breadth and depth of his material  and we can only wonder where he will go next.

Live At The Hollywood Bowl With Orchestra is a capture of a moment in Joe's career that will be played time and again and it will be seen as a career defining release.



Photo's Credited to and used with thanks : © Jenise Jensen

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