Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa Live In Amsterdam (CD & DVD)
Artists: Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa
Label/Studio: J&R Adventures
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Review Date: March 23, 2014
If you’ve read Boomerocity for very long at all then you, a) already know that I’m a HUGE fan of both Beth Hart (see the Boomerocity interview with her here) as well as of Joe Bonamassa. Suffice it to say, my opinion of either of them hasn’t changed with the dual CD/DVD release of Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa Live In Amsterdam.
The recently GRAMMY nominated Hart and Bonamassa, will deliver Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – Live In Amsterdam (2DVD/Blu-ray/2CD) – their first jointly recorded live offering. Beth’s amazingly powerful voice and Bonamassa’s legendary guitar abilities make this offering a true audio/visual treat. Recorded live at the historic Koninklijk Theater Carré in Amsterdam, the smokin’ hot performance blows you away with their performances of songs from the duo's 2011 debut album Don't Explain and the follow-up to it, Seesaw. You’ll hear incredible live performances of songs originally made famous by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Tom Waits, Ray Charles, Donnie Hathaway, Lucinda Williams, Bill Withers, Delaney & Bonnie, Buddy Miles, Tina Turner, Slackwax, Melody Gardot, Nina Simone, and more.
This project was born from what Hart, Bonamassa, and Bonamassa's long-time producer Kevin Shirley call a "crazy idea" to record a catalog of songs in a way that recalls the days when a band recorded live in the studio with little or no overdubs; the days when the vocalist was happy when a take was done regardless of personal performance.
"What we're trying to capture is an era of reaction and spontaneity – something that was a great inspiration for me as a budding musician," explained Bonamassa. "It's a bygone era in lieu of modern times and digital studio manipulation. We wanted to do the exact opposite of that for this live concert. There were no nets and what you hear is what was sung and played that night."
Both Hart and Bonamassa were heavily influenced by these songs and the artists who originally performed them. "We're doing these amazing cover songs and in doing them, and what's so great about doing them, is that it shows part of what excited us and made us want to become artists when we were young and just starting out," said Hart. "You can see that a lot of this was an influence with me, and Joe, and the other musicians, you can hear it in the way everyone plays and performs. This was music that they loved, that touched them. And when you do covers, you get to make them personal. That was part of the goal – to make it like it's your story too. Otherwise how does it come across sincere? I think that's one of the challenges and it's very fulfilling if we feel like we're doing that." The one-two punch of Hart's powerhouse vocals and Bonamassa's blistering solos both honors and reinvents the original recordings. Featuring 22 songs and over two hours of bonus and behind-the-scenes footage, the sonic pairing that critics everywhere are calling a "match made in heaven" are backed by the same world class band that kept the grooves going on both albums: Anton Fig (drums, percussion), Carmine Rojas (bass), Blondie Chaplin (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), Arlan Schierbaum (keyboards). This time out, their mighty sound is augmented by a horn section, with Lee Thornburg (trumpet and percussion), Ron Dziubla (saxophone and percussion), and Carlos Perez Alfonso (trombone and percussion).
Boomerocity favorites from this package are:
· The fun, crowd-pleasing Amsterdam, Amsterdam. This tune gets in your head and won’t let go. The word “fun” comes to mind and you certainly get a sense that that is exactly what is taking place both on stage and in the audience.
· The bluesy and mournful I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know generated an infinite number of slaps on the repeat button. Beth’s voice is especially amazing as is Joe’s blistering guitar work. I’d almost say that this tune is worth the price of the entire package but I’m saving that comment for . . .
· I’d Rather Go Blind. I’ll say it right here and now: Since we no longer have the great Etta James with us any longer, I can say with absolutely NO reservations that Beth Hart owns this classic. The bar is sufficiently high enough that I doubt anyone else will ever be able to take this song away for her and call it theirs like Beth has. Yeah, she’s that great!
- Amsterdam, Amsterdam!
- Them There Eyes
- Sinner's Prayer
- Can't Let Go
- For My Friends
- Close To My Fire
- Something's Got A Hold On Me
- Your Heart Is As Black As Night
- Chocolate Jesus
- Baddest Blues
- Someday After Awhile (You'll Be Sorry)
- Beth introduces the band
- Well, well
- If I Tell You I Love You
- See Saw
- Strange Fruit
- Miss Lady
- I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
- Nutbush City Limits
- I'd Rather Go Blind
- Antwerp Jam (Credits)