Joe Bonamassa DVD Review - Live At Carnegie Hall - An Acoustic Evening

Photo credit: Christie Goodwin

Joe Bonamassa is an artist forever pushing boundaries. Whilst many artists can boast that no 2 shows are the same, never has this been more true than for this blues rock virtuoso. Recent years have seen examples of Joe putting aside his own material to celebrate the music of those who have influenced him. There were the Three Kings shows paying tribute to Freddy, Albert and Joe’s friend BB, and latterly the tours paying homage to the British Blues Explosion. It's no surprise therefore that this us with leaves a sense of curiosity and anticipation as to what might come next. And what did come next was something very special indeed. On January 21st and 22nd 2016, Joe played 2 very special acoustic shows in one of the most gorgeous venues in the world: New York’s Carnegie Hall. This unique performance has been captured beautifully on Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening, a live CD, DVD, LP and Blu-ray to be released on Friday 23rd June. Here we take a look at what the DVD has to offer.

Photo credit: Christie Goodwin

The feature begins with the building of anticipation with glorious night scenes of New York City, the enormity of the skyscrapers and array of lights symbolising the heights this incredible artist has scaled.

Cold Streets kicks of the set with a beautiful piano led intro from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Rees Wynans before the performance starts proper with This Train, the opening track from Joe’s latest album Blues of Desperation. As the track gets underway, the smooth camera angles highlight the simple but effective stage set, the incredibly talented band and backing singers dressed to reflect a welcome multicultural flavour. The focus on the new album continues as Drive and The Valley Runs Low are proudly delivered. Dust Bowl and Driving Towards The Daylight are up next and prove to be particular highlights. Quite simply they are tracks that translate beautifully to the acoustic arrangement offered this evening, the gorgeous harmonies creating an overall very emotive experience. The slide makes an appearance on Black Lung Heartache before a saxophone provides a moody accompaniment to jazz-infused Livin’ Easy.

It's 9 songs into the set before Joe talks to the nearly 3,000 people in attendance, and it's here that the opportunity is taken to introduce the band. The standard of the supporting musicians is absolutely exceptional. Without question Joe has hired the very best in the business. As Joe puts it himself, this is a great band and the passion through which they bring their performances is palpable, an excellent example being on the next song, Woke Up Dreaming. It's here that Tina Guo showcases her impassioned cello skills. Very Flight of the Bumblebee-esque, it's a gorgeously shocking and inspiring performance.

Hummingbird and encore Rose are the final tracks this evening before the credits role with Cold Streets. 

Overall, Live At Carnegie Hall is a high quality, amazingly delivered performance. With Kevin Shirley on board for production duties, this was never going to be anything but a quality package. And yet again, Joe Bonamassa proves himself to be untouchable in both skill and diversity. This is a man who isn't just a great singer and guitarist. Since a young child, blues rock is something he has lived every single day and he wouldn't be able to deliver anything but the very best. And that's exactly what he has done here.

If there's one small criticism it's that we don't see enough of the audience or the venue. There are times when it feels like a live-in-the-studio performance. Carnegie Hall is a very special venue indeed and it’s just a shame that we have to go to the bonus disc to experience it. But these are minor points for what is overall a very special package. 

The full track listing is as follows:-

1. This Train

2.  Drive

3.  The Valley Runs

4.  Dust Bowl

5.  Driving Towards The Daylight

6.  Black Lung Heartache

7.  Blue And Evil

8.  Livin’ Easy

9.   Get Back My Tomorrow

10.  Mountain Time

11.  How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live

12.  Song Of Yesterday

13.  Woke Up Dreaming

14.  Hummingbird

15.  The Rose

For more information visit Also, check out Joe Bonamassa's and Tina Guo's incredible performance of Woke Up Dreaming below.