Review by Harry Paterson
In the absence of conclusive proof for the existence of God, the life and works of Joe Bonamassa will suffice as the closest mortal man will ever get to solving that Divine mystery. Indeed, the delights that await herein provide compelling evidence for the existence of a supreme being. Joe himself might even be that Great Architect. There is simply no overstating the man’s incendiary talent, his mesmerising ability and the sheer scale of his achievements in working within one of music’s most limited and restrictive templates and taking it to levels previously unimagined.
While there are still, incredibly, blues cave-dwellers, purist-snobs and troglodytes sadly clinging to the laughable fallacy that a white boy can’t play the blues, the rest of us know better. From Clapton’s revolutionary work with Cream all the way through to the contribution of the late, indisputably great, Stevie Ray Vaughan, there have been many Caucasians of eminence and distinction adding to the richness and depth of one of music’s most vital and most fundamentally human modes of expression.
That Bonamassa post-dates these giants makes his work all the greater. After all, what can be left to say? Where to go after SRV? What space is left for anyone to carve out something new, something unique, something hitherto unheard? All these questions have been triumphantly and unequivocally answered by the man during a career that only continues to pile excellence upon magic upon the already sublime.
Now, for the first time, is a DVD experience that finally does justice to the man and his art. As anyone fortunate enough to catch him on his recent UK arena tour will testify, his current rich vein of form simply demands capturing for posterity so thanks indeed to the team behind this.
Musical production handled by the superb Kevin Shirley, a close collaborator of Bonamassa, of course, and the ne plus ultra of the producer’s art, ensures the sound is never less than rich, detailed and flawless and the camera work is of an equally high standard. Add to this a set-list of imagination, variety and a few surprises and you’d be forgiven for assuming things could get no better. Remarkably, they do; with guest appearances from such glittering luminaries as Beth Hart, John Hiatt and Paul Rodgers to add the icing to the cake, it’s clear that this is the musical DVD of the year. It might only be April but nothing will come close to topping this in 2012. Anyone sufficiently stupid to place bets to the contrary, please be advised as follows; you will lose money…
10 out of 10
And you can read Harry’s review of Joe Bonamassa’s gig at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena on 2nd April 2012 here.