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4.6 out of 5 stars78
4.6 out of 5 stars
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
After two wonderful collaborative studio albums, the powerful, soulful voice of Beth Hart and the blistering guitar talents of Joe Bonamassa come together for a double live album, recorded at the Koninklijk Theater Carre, Amsterdam, over two nights in June 2013. Much of the material here is live interpretations of songs harvested from their two studio albums of powerful jazz, blues and soul covers, with a few additions to keep it fresh. As is Joe and Beth's philosophy, everything you hear on this live album is exactly that, live, with no overdubs or backing tracks, something that, as Joe points out in the liner notes, is becoming increasingly rare for large shows in this day and age. Unlike some live albums, the audience noise is minimal and, although you can certainly tell that it is live by the acoustics and rawness of the sound, the sound quality really is superb.

Joe and Beth work together brilliantly, they have a truly respectful and electrifying partnership, with Beth's phenomenal voice being given the space to take to limelight and Joe complimenting her with just the right amount of licks and fills, only opening up and demonstrating his world class guitar skills (and, boy, are they incredible) when it wouldn't take centre stage away from Ms. Hart. Add to that mix an excellent backing band and a tasteful horn section and you have a live show so good, you envy those who were able to be there. “Them There Eyes” provides a playful, light start, but as soon as the gritty strains of “Sinner's Prayer” strike up, the audience start to get what they've paid for; this is a perfect example of Hart and Bonamassa at their collaborative best. The variety and eclecticism of the set is one of the many strengths of “Live In Amsterdam” and we're treated to song after song of soulful torch songs, chugging rock and spine-tingling blues.

There are plenty of highlights which make this whole album a little bit special. Al Green's “Rhymes” has a fantastic groove to it, the feel-good gospel strains of Etta James' “Something's Got A Hold On Me” would get anybody with a pulse on their feet and Tom Waits' “Chocolate Jesus” is a welcome curve-ball. This live version of Beth Hart's “Baddest Blues”, one of my favourite solo songs of hers, is absolutely scintillating, a thrillingly gorgeous, mighty powerhouse of a song and she delivers the lyrics like her life depends upon it. Bonamassa's virtuoso guitar is the highlight of the passionate, bluesy “Someday After Awhile (You'll Be Sorry) and the solo is nothing short of heavenly. “Strange Fruit” and “I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know” are both utterly phenomenal. Ignoring the forgettable “Amsterdam, Amsterdam” and “Antwerp Jam” which top and tail the album, the set culminates in a soul-meltingly gorgeous rendition of “I'd Rather Go Blind”, during which both Beth and Joe give magnificent individual performances; they certainly know how to end a show.

“Live In Amsterdam” is the sound of two artists with a huge amount of talent in their individual fields performing to the very top of their abilities. Beth Hart is one of the greatest voices of her generation and comparisons with timeless greats such as Janis Joplin aren't unwarranted. Joe Bonamassa is justifiably one of the hottest properties in music today and, although some fans feel as if he has been spreading himself a bit thin with too many releases, this double live album is top quality and well worth adding to anybody's record collection, certainly somebody who is already a fan of Bonamassa. It's not just his technical ability that amazes, it's his talent for interpretation, restraint and ability to play in many styles and genres; he is a real scholar turned master of the art. If you take both of these individual elements together, add a catalogue of blues, jazz and soul classics and put them all together during a couple of inspired sell-out gigs, you get something magical indeed – and that's what “Live In Amsterdam” is... magical.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2014
Simply superb. Beth Hart is the most phenomenal rock singer of today. Quite unbelievable she appears to be almost unknown in the UK.. She has such a full, touching, extraordinary voice, play track " I'd rather go blind " together with the unbelievably accomplished guitarist Joe Bonamassa, it is simply outstanding.. Their coming together on tour and on this album will go down as legendary and for those lucky to have seen them, unforgetable. A MUST.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 April 2014
Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa have, to date, produced two exceptional studio albums together. And now, for your delectation, offer a double CD recorded over a couple of nights in Amsterdam to include pretty much everything that was on the studio albums! But, does it trump the studio recordings (as indeed, it simply should!) ?? Well, the jury has to be out on that because while it is "live", it doesn't really come across as such - indeed when I had the opening track on in the car for the first time, it was just coming to the end when I missed the moment and, realising that I was into track 2, flicked back to hear that the first track was clipped at the end to remove the audience reaction....which, to me, defies the very reason for calling an album "live" because, as I've said so many times before, "a live one is next only to being there on the night!"
And then, strangely, most of the other tracks have been dealt with in a similar way, thus making the whole experience a might clinical!
Don't get me wrong, I know that there are plenty of people out there who don't want to hear applause, hoops and hollers, or God forbid, audience participation, but that is precisely what you get when you attend a live event, therefore to remove the audience from this recording seems to me to miss the point. However, the music certainly does more than match up and while both Beth and Joe prove just what masters of their craft they are, the rest of the band also prove just what a great set of musicians that they are too by ably accompanying the two featured artists to the max - brilliant, no less - but would you expect anything else?
So while "Baddest Blues", "Sinners Prayer" and "Chocolate Jesus" have the impact of a freight train, the lack of soul resultant of the removal of the audience can only bring me to reduce my score to simply 4 stars! (well 4.5 really!)
Indeed, why the album is called LIVE IN AMSTERDAM at all does beat me somewhat - but then Joe had already used the title LIVE, FROM NOWHERE IN PARTICULAR which would have been far more apt!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2014
I've got and love 'Don't Explain', listened to 'Jigsaw', but thought it sounded a bit flat. On 'Live In Amsterdam', the previously slated tracks from 'Jigsaw' are transformed into vibrant soulful classics, while the already suberb material from 'Don't Explain' is taken to another level. If you are a fan of Joe's live performances, this set is a 'must have'. Beth's vocals throughout, as is Joe's guitar, are exceptional. A previous reviewer suggested, if you own the two studio albums, you don't need the live album. I could not disagree more. Live In Amsterdam is a great alternative to Don't Explain, and so superior to 'Jigsaw' you wonder if they were performed by the same artists.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
This is pretty much as good as guitar playing and singing gets. Picture Eric Clapton, Gary Moore and Jeff Beck playing alongside Etta James and Janis Joplin. What you're imagining isn't far off what you'll hear on this album. Quite a claim I know, but simply put, this album is a showcase of soulful music and superb musicianship; a recording with the rawness and immediacy of a bygone age.

If you have any interest in blues or soul music, you need to hear this.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Having recorded two albums comprising of cover versions of classic songs (Seesaw and Don't Explain), Live In Amsterdam finds Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa in fine form, laying down cracking live versions of most of the tracks featured on the albums.

Ray Charles, Tom Waits, Bill Withers, Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, Al Kooper, Etta James and Aretha Franklin are some of the artists whose originally made these songs famous. Some of the tracks are well known, others obscure - but all allow Hart and Bonamassa plenty of room to make their mark.

From Hart's powerful vocals to Bonamassa's blistering solos there's a lot to enjoy here. Backed by the same band that featured on the records and augmented by a horn section, Live In Amsterdam is certainly an album that packs a punch. It's a slight shame that each track fades out, as this does disrupt the listening flow a little - but this is only a minor niggle. Recommended.
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Put one of the great guitarists around today, get his band on board plus three horns, oh and the incredible Beth Hart and you have one great combination,but there's more record it live, so everybody has a great time. What a show this is and what a fantastic double CD or DVD you have here. Full of stunning performances from thier two studio albums of great blues and soul covers, Joe leaves the singing to Beth but boy he plays some mighty tasty guitar throughout. Every track,every song is a winner, not a dull second here,not one song you want to stop over just one fantastic celebration of great songs by two of the best there are. What a night in Amsterdam,but what a night everytime you pout this one. The studio versions were brilliant but live the whole thing steps up a gear or six,Sure you'll know many of the songs here, probably know the original versions so what these are simply as good as songs like this get, roll up the carpet, get the neighbours to go out or come round,turn the volume up and have a party, this is one that lifts big time.
The closing track,'Antwerp Jam' is pure funk and it simply is an amazing track, sums up one fabulous release from beginning to end. Five stars just ain't enough for albums tyhis good, or enjoy the visuals by getting the DVD as well !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2014
This is one of the best live albums for a long time with a great lead singer in Beth and the worlds greatest guitar player at the moment in Joe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2014
After buying both studio albums, Don't Explain and Seesaw I just had to buy this live album and was blown away, I must have played both discs at least 30 times now and can't seem to get enough of it. Beth's strong powerful vocals punches through brilliantly
whilst Joe's guitar riffs cut it with the rest of the band all of which are great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2014
Fantastic live album. As many reviewers have written, I hate the fade outs between tracks, the mood would have been captured much better without that. Nevertheless, this is a unique blend of songs, great vocals and scorching solos. Much better than the studio albums, which were already way up there. Must have for Beth and Joe fans.
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Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Don't Explain
Don't Explain by Joe Bonamassa (Audio CD - 2011)

Live In Amsterdam [DVD] [2014] [NTSC]
Live In Amsterdam [DVD] [2014] [NTSC] by Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa (DVD - 2014)

Seesaw by Joe Bonamassa (Audio CD - 2013)

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