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Is It Half Bad?
on 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!