Whether you were a fan of Joe Bonamassa or not, if you were fortunate enough to catch “Live from the Royal Albert Hall” on cable, you probably thought you were witnessing the guitarist at the peak of his prowess. As far as live albums/DVD’s go, “Royal Albert” is one of the best, amazingly, “Beacon Theatre-Live from New York,” slated for release March 26, is even better.
Relying heavily on material from his last two studio albums, “Dust Bowl” and “Black Rock,” Bonamassa delivers another over the top performance, solidifying himself as a guitar god and premier live performer. He does it all the good old fashioned way, playing his array of guitars with conviction and breathing life into his vocals with heartfelt emotion and confidence.
Sure, “Beacon Theatre” benefits from guest appearances from John Hiatt, Paul Rogers and Beth Hart, but during the two night run when the disc was recorded Bonamassa could have had Justin Bieber make a guest appearance and make the teen idol look like a blues legend. Nonetheless, the three guests deserve credit for stellar performances of “I’ll Take Care of You,” and “Sinner’s Prayer,” with Bonamassa, especially Beth Hart, whose performance will send fans seeking the recently released Hart/Bonamassa collaboration “Don’t Explain.”
Anyone who has seen a show in New York City knows there is an indescribable energy present. The DVD captures that magic with a great lead in sequence featuring Joe playing guitar in a subway tunnel then ascending to the New York City streets with guitar in hand.
On “Royal Albert” Bonamassa delivered an amazing cover of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid,” and on “Beacon” he continues that tradition by performing a smoking version of Moses Allison’s “Young Man Blues,” made famous by The Who. It was a highlight of the show I saw in 2010 and I was glad it made it onto the “Beacon” DVD.
In just two years, Bonamassa has defied industry logic and released a ton of material-including two solo albums, three Black Country Communion albums and the aforementioned collaboration with Beth Hart- and he just seems to get better by the minute. It is a great time to be a fan on Bonamassa.