October 6, 2009
NR (Not Rated)
of discs: 2
was at a Frank Marino concert that I first heard the name Joe Bonamassa.
I heard talk like "Oh yeah, this guy is the best there is!"
and "If you like Marino, you'll definitely like Bonamassa."
Well, there was much truth in the air that evening because I do
like Frank Marino as a matter of fact, and I've come to find that
Bonamassa really is the best there is.
I'm not sure that I've ever seen a concert DVD as special as this
one; and I think I need to explain exactly why I feel this way.
Bonamassa started his professional career as a child. At one point
on the DVD he talks about meeting B.B. King when he opened up for
him - Bonamassa was 11 years old. His father is shown discussing
how young his son is, but stressing that he has more mileage on
his guitar than most of the veterans. There is also discussion of
a dream that the young guitar player had after watching Clapton
and Cream play their final gig at the famed Royal Albert Hall. His
dream was to step foot on that same stage one day and play his guitar,
and this DVD is a portrait of that very dream.
start the DVD, we get footage of Joe's parents on their way to the
gig. It reminded me of what someone might film for a wedding video.
The DVD has a very personal feel from the very start. You feel as
if you are fortunate enough to be sharing in this very special day.
it's time for Bonamassa to hit the stage, he does so in such a way
that he comes off as collected and confident. He saunters out from
the backstage area playing "Django," an emotional instrumental
piece that immediately gave the evening an accomplished mood. As
he makes his way to the center of the roomy stage, with the majestic
tiers of fans surrounding him, his guitar spoke with a veteran style
and tone. It was clear that he had come to this prestigious place
with great class and confidence. As he moved into the heavy groove
rock of "The Ballad of John Henry," with its wicked slide
guitar solo, it was obvious that he was going to lay all his cards
on the table for this show. He brought an arsenal of sound to accompany
his guitar as well. He has an excellent brass section working for
him here. Songs like "So It's Like That" and "Blues
Deluxe" are great examples of what a talented 3-piece horn
section can do. He also plants two drummers behind him for this
one; longtime Late Night with David Letterman drummer Anton Fig
and Bogie Bowles work in perfect unison and dish out a bombastic
foundation to support every sound that gets built upon them.
I could go on and on about Bonamassa's great technique and amazing
soloing prowess (and believe me, I want to tell you all about it),
but I'd like to make mention of something that's often overlooked
- his voice. Bonamassa has a strong and clear voice that can really
carry a song. So many of these songs feature his guitar, but make
sure you stop to appreciate the man's voice, too.
playing is second to none. We see him play every intricate solo
with tremendous tone and splendid harmony. Take a song like "The
Great Flood." Here's a slow, minor key blues song that highlights
his voice, shows him soloing with great passion and skill, and exhibits
a vibrato technique like no other. If you want more of the massive,
nasty type of jamming, you might want to visit "Just Got Paid."
He takes the ZZ Top number to dizzying heights here, and even throws
in a little Zeppelin riffage to sweeten the deal. No matter what
you choose on this two disc feast, you are sure to get astounding
displays of talent.
show finishes up with two of the most emotional songs of the night,
"Mountain Time" and "Asking Around For You."
During the latter, Bonamassa holds a note in vibrato and shakes
it, causing it to fade into near silence. It was just a great moment
that showed his great artistic flair. And now, as he finishes his
long set, he says, "Thank you London, for making this the greatest
night of my life." It gave me a chill to hear him say this.
All through this show I felt like I was still watching that 11 year
old boy. He still has a huge fire raging in his belly, and he really
was in his own personal Heaven for every note that he played on
this evening; and, as these notes came pouring out into my family
room, a little bit of that Heaven came right along with it.
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