Recorded at the Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College on Greenwich London on 7 July 2016, this release is a fabulous live recording from the super talented Mr Bonamassa.
It is a concert in which Bonamassa and his band, consisting of Michael Rhodes (Bass), Reece Wynans (Keyboards), Anton Fig (Drums) and Russ Irwin (Rhythm Guitar and backing vocals), pay homage to The British Blues Explosion that happened in the 1960s. This period of time saw bands such as The Yardbirds and the guitarists lending their style and vision to their sound, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page change the history of music forever.
It’s a breath-taking ride through the best of British with the opening track ‘Bolero /Rice Pudding’ packing a punch with energy and pizzazz, giving a flavour for the rest of the concert. Clapton’s ‘Mainline Florida’ next gets the Bonamassa treatment via a wall full of explosive sound and stunning precision.
Zeppelin’s ‘Boogie With Stu’ is just pure rock and roll, delivered by a band full of swagger and groove most notably through Wynans’s keyboards which add to the music and Bonamassa’s incredibly and seemingly effortless precision yet again when smoking up the riffs. Not just a joy to listen to but also to watch on the DVD.
‘Let Me Love You Baby’, the Willie Dixon track made famous by Jeff Beck, allows Bonamassa to heap on the riffs bringing in a new life and style which soars in a dexterous and fluid manner. The wicked bassline grooving away solidly underpinning and adding to the fullness of the sound.
The way in which Bonamassa can adapt his style of playing is obvious in ‘Plynth (Water Down The Drain)’ which is laden with dirty, grimy riffs, hard and heavy, and a contrast to the clean precision of the other tracks. Bonamassa’s vocal is powerful and unmistakable allowing the emotion of the song to come through in two ways; the vocal delivery and through the guitar which seems to become a part of him, living and breathing. Seeing the way he bends the strings and slides over the neck of the guitar is one of the joys of the DVD. I’m enthralled. ‘Spanish Boots’ cracks the air with dark and hard mightiness and continues to hold my ears to ransom.
‘Motherless Children’ gets taken to soaring heights and again mesmerises me as I watch the way the strings are moulded and shaped. This is good, very good!
Cream’s ‘SWLABR’ continues the excellence and Bonamassa has not just hit the perfect playing tone but also vocally with a richness and a quality to the performance.
‘Tea for One /I Can’t Quit You Baby’ meld into a guitar masterclass. The solos are intense, sublime, delicate, dexterous, aggressive, smooth, huge and more importantly just awesomely perfect.
All the songs are well performed, the musicianship of the band is outstanding, ‘Little Girl’ has all the Clapton influences surrounding it but given the added perfection of Bonamassa, it becomes something outstanding. I’m running out of superlatives to describe each track as there is such constistency with the remaining songs. The keyboard into ‘Pretending’ needs a mention as does the intricate and stunning riffs. ‘Black Winter /Django’ and ‘How Many More Times’ are stunning. I’m not going to even try and describe each track, I’m simply going to say they are so much more than I expected but still reminiscent of the originals.
Bonamassa has such a distinct singing voice adding in the melody fused with blues and encasing them in his own style but the actual guitar playing, the variations of tone and the way the riffs, licks and hooks are delivered make each song a melting pot of everything that is good with the Blues.
Whether you just kick back and turn up the volume on the CD or grab a glass of something chilled and watch in amazement, British Blues Explosion is just a wonderful demonstration of how good music should be played and what it should sound like. The DVD and Bluray has some amazing bonus content including a stunning performance of ‘Taxman’ live at the Cavern Club when Joe was honoured with a ‘Brick in the Wall’ and gallery of photos from the concert. It is an absolute must for any fan.
Track List CD 1:
Beck’s Bolero /Rice Pudding
Boogie With Stu
Let Me Love You Baby
Plynth (Water Down The Drain)
Double Crossing Time
Track List CD 2:
Tea For One /I Can’t Quit You Baby
Black Winter /Django
How Many More Times
2CD’s, 2DVD’s, Bluray, 3LP
BRITISH BLUES EXPLOSION LIVE Released on CD/DVD/BLU-RAY and Vinyl on 18th May via Mascot Label Group.