Joe Bonamassa: Live at The Greek Theatre Live DVD

Posted on 18 September 2016
By Chris High
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How does a legendary guitar player and vocalist of the standing of Joe Bonamassa cement his status? Why, by going out and paying / playing tribute to those who inspired him to pick up the guitar in the first place, of course.

Live at The Greek Theatre is recorded on the final night of Bonamassa’s 2015 The Three Kings Tour. The maestro from NJ picked three of the finest bluesmen to have ever graced this world – The 3 Kings that are BB, Freddie and Albert – and not only performs 22 songs in 137 minutes of the most astonishing blues music – familiar and not so familiar, as is Bonamassa’s wont – in the expected exemplary fashion. He also stamps each and every number with his own brand of authoritative gold dust.

Take Sitttin’ on the Boat Dock, with its superb keys break supplied by Reece Wynans and a magnificent backing vocal solo provided by Mahalia Barnes. You can picture Freddie King smiling and itching to join them all on stage to have one more good ol’ time of it for himself.

What really shines through on the live disc, however, is the absolute ball the band and Bonamassa are having. On Albert King’s Goin’ Down, Anton Figg is playing drums like a man possessed, whereas the horn section simply oozes fire and lightning. A song tailor made for the main man’s smoky vocals, this – among many – is an absolute stand out. The emotion is raw. The fervour is tangible. The expressiveness is irresistible.

The quality of Kevin Shirley’s mixing, too, enhances the entire experience, with not too many close ups crowding proceedings, but enough so that we can witness the man’s majesty at a photo pit distance. I’ll Play The Blues for You is quite simply heaven whereas The Flying V all but takes flight during Angel of Mercy; a superb song in its own right, it turns almost mythical when given the full JB treatment.

That Bonamassa spent a great deal of time in the company of BB King is evident, such is the passion with which he fills everything he covers of the late great guitarist’s. Let The Good Times Roll, Never Make Your Move Too Soon – with a simply breathtaking trumpet solo given by Lee Thornburg – a quite astonishing Hummingbird and the classic gospel riffs and rhythms of Ole Time Religion are each venerated rather than performed and the crowd, we can see, simply lap it up.

Yet as if the gig weren’t enough, the Bonus DVD is as insightful and informative as it is inspiring. Growing Up Joe shows what it’s like to be the parents of an obvious star in the making, what it takes to keep them on the straight and narrow, whereas Caveman’s Hacked iphone illustrates the behind the scenes magic that makes the whole thing possible.

All in all, Joe Bonamassa: Live at The Greek Theatre is as good a demonstration of what a Live recording should be, with the added bonus of it being performed by Joe Bonamassa and one of the finest collections of backing musicians and singers in the world today.

Downright fun, downright joyous and downright magnificent in every conceivable way.

Joe Bonamassa: Live at The Greek Theatre
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: DVD Audio
Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
23rd September, 2016