Joe Bonamassa: Live At Radio City Music Hall

Joe-Bo and co captured live and in fine fettle in New York City.

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Pointing out that Joe Bonamassa works hard has become a cliché, but here it really is worth retreading this heavily eroded ground.

Live At Radio City Music Hall – recorded at the iconic New York venue during Bonamassa’s two-night stand in January 2015 – is his 14th live album in 13 years.

We quickly hear the justification for the release, though, with this record showcasing a band at the top of their game. There’s no onstage banter, this is stripped-back and to-the-point. The opening salvo displays a real swagger, with One Less Cross To Bear a standout for the entire record, while new life is injected to Muddy Waters’ I Can’t Be Satisfied. And while some Bonamassa shows have been heavily weighted with covers, this setlist is predominantly picked from 2014’s Different Shades Of Blue. This is a man who is his own artist, not some suit-clad copyist churning out the old classics.

He’s assembled one hell of a band. It may be Bonamassa’s name on the marquee but this is a team effort, and these guys are as tight as you like: raw blues underpinned by stunning musicality. Different Shades Of Blue takes the tempo down while ramping the emotion up, while Love Ain’t A Love Song and So, What Would I Do offer a funked-up finale.

Live At Radio City Music Hall shows how Bonamassa has blossomed from new kid to mid-career elder statesman for the likes of Aaron Keylock to look up to. And what finer role model could there be?

Rich Chamberlain

Rich Chamberlain has written for Classic Rock, Musicradar.com, Total Guitar, Nuts, FourFourTwo, Billboard, Classic Rock Presents The Blues and Classic Rock Presents Country.