'British Blues Explosion Live' [DVD]
(Joe Bonamassa, et al / DVD / NR / 2018 / J&R Adventures)
Overview: On British Blues Explosion Live, Joe Bonamassa pays homage to legendary British guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page with his stunning performance of their blues-rock classics.
DVD Verdict: Over the years, Bonamassa has played alongside such artists as Stephen Stills, Eric Clapton, Blondie Chaplin, Foreigner, Buddy Guy, Steve Winwood, Warren Haynes, and Derek Trucks among others.
His career highlights include performances at the Royal Albert Hall and a Grammy Award nomination in 2013. In addition to his music career, Joe Bonamassa runs a nonprofit organization called the Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, whose mission it is to further music education by funding scholarships and providing music education resources to schools in need.
Recorded at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College in London in July, 2016 the 5 piece band includes the wondrous musicians: Michael Rhodes (bass), Reese Wynans (keyboards), Anton Fig (drums) and Russ Irwin (rhythm guitar/backing vocals).
1. The British Blues Explosion (Intro)
2. 'Beck's Bolero / Rice Pudding'
3. 'Mainline Florida'
4. 'Boogie With Stu'
5. 'Let Me Love You Baby'
6. 'Plynth (Water Down The Drain)'
7. 'Spanish Boots'
8. 'Double Crossing Time'
9. 'Motherless Children'
10. Band Introductions
12. 'Tea For One / I Can't Quit You Baby'
13. 'Little Girl'
15. 'Black Winter / Django'
16. 'How Many More Times'
Now, in my humble opinion, and as much as love Bonamassa and his infamous guitar work, there are some highlights here on the DVD that are every bit as good as it gets on his other DVDs ... but, having said that, there are also some numbers that do not rival the original artist recordings: both Zeppelin's 'How Many More Times' and Clapton's 'Pretending,' for example.
But that's quite ok and acceptable given the length and breadth of guitar wizardry that Bonamassa stretches himself to over two hours of live music (and bonus footage combined). For a stand out killer track is an awesome version of Cream's 'SWABLR' ("She Walks Like a Bearded Rainbow").
The intensity of the whole band during that number alone definitely comes close to rivaling that of Cream's original, which is a seemingly impossible task, as I'm sure you all might already comprehend, of course. Indeed, that was probably the greatest performance of the set, again, in my humble opinion.
Another thing I need to point out that I think we, as visual spectators of a live concert on DVD/Blu-ray, are seemingly now always subjected to, actually doesn't happen here! What I mean by that is the actual the filming of the guitar interplay was done by focusing on Bonamassa's fingers working their guitar string magic, and others, not a sharply cut and edited flash frame set of sequences which flirt from one person to another in split second intervals.
With that in mind, and while close ups of Reese Wynans' Hammond organ work was a definite highlight, I found I was drifting a wee bit before the end - as it truly is a long live performance to sit and watch all the way through in one binge, shall we say. Which I know is a delightful "problem" to have these days, but as the lights flash, the music plays, the guitars roar, come the second hour and I was in need of a visual breather.
But, the love audience didn't have that luxury, let alone the option to press pause, so onward we delved. And what came up was actually very rare and very interesting for Bonamassa slips in an "F" bomb when describing his complete lack of lyrical understanding of the meaning of Cream's lyrics for the aforementioned 'SWLABR'! A fun moment to see/hear him admit such a thing, let alone drop that expletive.
In closing, Joe Bonamassa challenged himself to do justice to the greatest British rockers of all time and, boy, does he deliver here on British Blues Explosion Live.
His powerful covers of 'Let Me Love You Baby,' 'Motherless Children,' 'Mainline Florida,' and both 'Little Girl' and 'Spanish Boots' will give you chills! Outstanding vocals, awesome band, this DVD (along with the wondrous near-90 minute 2CD set that has also been released of this show) showcases the most versatile and gifted guitarist on the planet (again, in my humble opinion). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:
'Taxman' - Live at The Cavern Club
Joe Honored With A 'Brick In The Wall'
The British Blues Explosion Explained by Mick Wall
Photo Gallery - BBE UK Tour
28-Page Collectible Booklet
Joe Bonamassa @ Facebook!
'British Blues Explosion Live' CD Review Link