Joe Bonamassa - Live At Radio City Music Hall

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If it only seems like yesterday that Joe Bonamassa released his last live album, that's because it was. Live At Radio City Music Hall is his second such release in 2015, and even counting his 2013 four-show London residency as a single release (they are in fact available separately), it's his ninth in just 13 years, just one fewer than the number of solo studio albums he's released in the same period. In these simplistic terms, it's clearly far too much. But he doesn't just put out ordinary live albums with the same hits on them every time. Each recording is different to previous ones in some way. Live At Radio City Music Hall was recorded on the final two, sold out, nights of Joe's half acoustic, half electric tour where he played an acoustic set with the band from his An Acoustic Night At The Vienna Opera House shows, then an electric set with his touring band plus a brass section. For fans who enjoy his roaring rock sets, this may not be the live album for them; even the electric set is reasonably soft with the addition of the brass trio, but for those who enjoy the full breadth of his work, this should be quite satisfying. It goes without saying that, as with all of Joe's live releases, the audio and video quality is excellent, and naturally Joe's playing is superb, but anyone hoping for the full set he played on those nights may be disappointed as several songs are absent from the DVD, while the CD is even shorter, and out of order. Some songs aren't big misses, like The Ballad of John Henry and Slow Train, because they're on other live releases, but missing the opportunity to include first ever live versions of Oh Beautiful! and Hendrix cover Hey Baby (Rising Sun) seems strange. Stranger still is the messy running order of the CD, stripped down to 13 of the 22 songs in the original set, the acoustic and electric songs are mixed up, so the disc lacks flow as it jumps from one mood to the other and back. As always the quality of this release can't be faulted, but the poor CD and missing tracks from both discs mean this is not one of his best.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2015, Blues, Live Albums, Live DVDs, Quickplay Reviews,

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