Joe Bonamassa:
with the "Beacon Theatre - Live from New York" DVD!
A Archive Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Once upon a time there was a guitar slinger who lived in New York City . He frequently went to a bodega to buy his staples of ramen noodles, peanut butter and jelly. The shop was next to the world famous Beacon Theater. As the guitarist passed its marquee he "always hoped, dreamed and prayed that someday I could play there. It's where the real musicians played."

Joe Bonamassa - DVD: Beacon Theater-Live from New York
Joe Bonamassa's new DVD; On stage in New Jersey in 2010.

At a young age, he had been blessed by The King. B.B. had recognized and commented on the youth's talent. The guitar slinger built on that potential by playing his axes with passion and precision. He toured relentlessly and moved from performing in small clubs to bigger venues. His perseverance paid off.

As his legend grew, so did his record sales with many hitting number one on the Blues charts. In 2010, he performed at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in England. Eric Clapton joined him on stage in what could be considered a symbolic changing of the guitar guard.

Two very special concerts were held on November 4th and 5th of 2011 that were billed as "The Guitar Event of The Year". His name was at last on the marquee of the Beacon Theater. The dream had come true for Joe Bonamassa!

And for Bonamassa's fans a dream comes true with the release of Beacon Theater - Live from New York. Only a special few had the pleasure of attending the sold out shows in New York but now all can experience up-close those epic concerts. The DVD/Blueray footage of the Beacon shows was filmed in HD using 14 cameras. The music was taped in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, therefore, the concert looks and sounds great. The two-disc set is well packaged with liner notes, photos and Joe's gear list.

The first disc opens with "72nd St. Subways Blues". Bonamassa is filmed in black and white busking at a subway station, perhaps a nod to his past days of struggle in the Big Apple. Apparently, Joe did not make a single dollar. "Isn't it great to be back in New York," he jested.

On stage at the Beacon Theater, Bonamassa and his talented team (Carmine Rojas - bass, Rick Melick - keys & Tal Bergman - drums) came out full throttle with "Slow Train". The song is anything but slow combining forceful fret work with robust rhythms. Bonamassa plays with fervor and at times his whole body becomes part of the music. He sings like he means every word enhancing the effectiveness of his presentation.

Speaking of presentation, Joe was dressed in dark pants and a matching jacket. His white button down shirt was clasped with cufflinks. It appears that he took a page from B.B. King's decree of dressing smart for a show. Adding to his classic look were shades giving him a cool factor, too. Joe was polished in both his look and leads.

The incredible set list was a combination of originals and covers that Joe makes his own with his singular guitar style. Highlights included a rock solid version of Rory Gallagher's "Cradle Rock" that was a fine example of one guitar great paying tribute to another. Joe's dynamic "Dust Bowl", the fluid "The River" and the bold and electrifying "Blue and Evil" were other high water marks of the evening.

Joe mentioned recording a soul album with Beth Hart who joined him on stage for "I'll Take Care of You" and "Sinner's Prayer. She was a powerful singer whose points were punctuated by Joe's lavish licks. Both songs had ample room for Bonamassa to sizzle on his solos.

Later, the legendary John Hiatt came out armed with an acoustic and together they played John's "Down Around My Place" and "I Know A Place". Both men shared vocals with the band taking the tunes on a number of twists and turns instrumentally.

Classic rocker Paul Rodgers appeared and sang on a smoking version of Free's "Fire and Water" and their sultry "Walk in My Shadow". After Paul departed, Joe performed the majestic "Mountain Time" - a tune that goes through a series of tempo changes from subtle to soaring. For the closer Bonamassa came out with a double neck guitar (6 and 12 strings) for a plaintive and very potent version of "Young Man Blues".

The second disc has two bonus songs - "If Heartaches Were Nickels" and "Woke Up Dreaming". The second tune featured Joe on an acoustic. Bonamassa was a proficient picker blending techniques and tempos in an ever changing melody. In addition, the second disk has a photo gallery, "A Busker's Tale" told live and "A Friend Stops By" where Joe chats up acoustic guitar chords with a special guest.

Despite his well earned success Bonamassa is not content to rest on his laurels. Joe still plays over 200 dates a year. He is always working on new projects be it his own albums, collaborations or with the super group Black Country Communion. Joe may be rock royalty but he still has the work ethic of a traveling blues man, which is good news for his loyal following.

Playing the Beacon Theater was a dream come true for Joe Bonamassa and the two disc set that captures this momentous occasion is a dream and must have for Joe's fans. Beacon Theater - Live from New York is a polished product from a passionate and polished performer!

Joe Bonamassa - DVD: Beacon Theater-Live from New York
Bonamassa on double-neck also does double duty with his solo career and the supergroup BCC.

Related Links: For more information on JOE BONAMASSA and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -

(Originally Published on March 15, 2012)




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