Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
on 29 March 2013
At around 7:30pm last Saturday evening my conscious world came to a standstill for about two hours when I had my first viewing of Joe Bonamassa An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House DVD. It is quite simply stunning. Masterpieces are traditionally found hung on the walls of Art Galleries but Bonamassa has created a visual and aural masterpiece within the perfect setting of the Vienna Opera House.
The world knows Bonamassa is one the greatest guitarists in modern music history but that reputation is built on him being plugged in and playing at full volume. This must have been a terrific gamble and challenge for him to deconstruct so many of his best known songs down to their basic parts and put them back together. Credit the man for taking such a risk at this stage in his career. The result is much more light and space for Bonamassa to fill with his vocal, much more mature and better than he is given credit for. The songs themselves are brought front and centre and more than prove themselves to be of genuine high quality. Massive credit is also due to long time producer, Kevin Shirley for drawing together the band, for the arrangements and the vision to help Joe make the project happen. And what a band, a truly eclectic mix of world class musicians drawn from different cultures and very different genres of music. There is fellow American Arlan Schierbaum on keys and a host of other instruments, Swedish folk player Mats Wester, awesome percussionist Lenny Castro and Ireland's Gerry Connor, as adept with a Fiddle and Banjo as JB is with a guitar
So to the songs, drawn from Bonamassa's back catalogue. I must admit to wondering how Joe's more muscular, rock hued numbers would translate to a totally acoustic natural arrangement and sound, the answer is overwhelmingly impressive on every level. Every song here is given a completely different lease of life and the void left by the electric guitar solos and mammoth riffs are filled with the great man's acoustic prowess or the brilliant interpretation and improvisations of his band members. Unbelievable to discover they had never met, let alone rehearsed until 72 hours before the show.
If you are a fan of JB then all of your favourites are here from Palm Trees, Helicopters and Gasoline to Stones in my Pathway, Athens to Athens, Dustbowl, Ball Peen Hammer etc. With a show and musical prowess as skilled as this it would be churlish to identify standouts, but I was entranced at the mid set segue of Ballad of John Henry, Dislocated Boy and Driving Towards the Daylight, totally totally captivating. And what can be said of the set closer and encore of the hauntingly beautiful Mountain Time, the epic that is Sloe Gin and the scaled down beauty of Seagull. All I can say and admit, is the hairs on the back of my neck were on end and there were tears of raw emotion in my eyes.
This DVD is not just a music show it is also part music history lesson as the instruments on show command attention in their own right, Bonamassa's hugely impressive array of twelve acoustic guitars, O'Connors Banjo and Fiddle through to Harmonium, Accordian and Glockenspiel, of all things, then we have Castro's massive array of cultural percussive instruments from Africa right through to South America. Just to top it all off, Wester dazzles on a Nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument. When have you ever come across such an ecclectic collection of instruments led by a Blues Rock phenomenon? Never, I think is the answe
I cannot praise Bonamassa, Shirley and the band enough for this wonderful show that we can all now share. The best I can do is say a huge thanks to all involved.
Finally just buy this, dim the lights turn the sound up and prepare to truly amazed!