Joe Bonamassa: Beacon Theatre: Live From New York Review

Live albums can either be a really good idea or a fantastically bad one. If the utmost care isn’t given to the performance (obviously) or the production there is little to no reason for one to re-listen to all the songs they’ve already heard a dozen times before. Thankfully, Joe Bonamassa’s Beacon Theatre: Live from New York is a worthwhile effort, and one of the better live albums in recent memory.

Bonamassa is as lofty a musician as ever on Beacon Theatre, and the album does a superb and sublime job of capturing the nuanced energy and expertise of a live Bonamassa performance. The album is 20 songs long, so there’s a wealth of material here. On several tracks, Bonamassa shares some one-on-one stage time with friends Beth Hart, John Hiatt, and Paul Rodgers. The collaborations are natural and worthwhile, expanding the scope of the album.

The presence of audience interaction is generously sparse here, leaving the bulk of the album to the music alone. Cheers and sing-along moments are minimized, allowing the listener to focus on the performance. And the performance sounds simply fantastic. Clean, cohesive cuts are the name of the game here, leading to an incredibly polished experience that, while likely not quite like hearing Bonamassa in person, does the next best thing, bringing him into your home.

Bonamassa has outdone himself here, amassing a huge offering of live experiences nearly flawless enough to be mistaken for studio work. The decision to team up with other artists was a good one, and little is left to be desired by this landmark live recording. “Bird on a Wire” is a superbly gripping anthemic track, and “Fire and Water” delivers ample doses of solid rock energy to fuel interest the whole album long. Overall, this is an experience to be treasured, and one that will impress. If you can’t find a way to see Bonamassa live, rest assured that Beacon Theatre will be a great way to pretend you can.

The Review: 9.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

-Bird on a Wire
-Blue & Evil
-Cradle Rock
-Fire and Water
-If Heartaches Were Nickels
-I Know a Place

The Big Hit:

-Fire and Water

Review by Tyler Quiring

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