Bonamassa Shines in The Big Apple

Joe Bonamassa Live at Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening. Review by Sean Conlon.

Live albums are a bit like Marmite, some people like them and some don’t. Personally I like a good live album and the latest offering from Bonamassa, recorded at the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York City, is as good as it gets.

He surrounds himself with some of the best musicians in the world, as rightly he can. People who know their craft and bring their individuality to the proceedings.


On this album he sets aside his classic electric guitars for an acoustic set. Don’t be fooled, this is no soft and gentle run-through of his maternal, Joe plays for keeps. Chords are strummed full on and his finger playing is as you’d expect, note perfect. He gives his all.

His playing is supported and enhanced by the drumming of Anton Fig, cello of Tina Guo, the mandolin hurdy-gurdy, saxophone, and  acoustic guitar  of Eric Brazilian. These bring out an almost exotic eastern feel at times, at others a soulful Americana.

The album kicks off with a piano intro from Reese Wynans before Bonamassa joins the stage with a flurry of fret board runs then the whole band steam into This Train, setting  the pace for the album. The tempo ebbs and flows with Drive and Dust Bowl slowing things down a little, but he is not for holding back.


Black Lung Heartache intros with a wonderful slide guitar piece reminiscent of the likes of Robert Johnson. Joe hammers out the riff with a determination like no other. The wonderfully cheeky Livin’ Easy has a twenties feel to it with Eric Brazilian’s saxophone being wonderfully sleazy.

How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live lets the backing singers Mahalia Barnes, Juanita Tippins and Gary Pinto strut their stuff. The album closes with firm favourites Hummingbird and The Rose.

I love hearing different interpretations of songs, especially in a live performance. This album does that brilliantly and will be a go-to in my collection for a long time to come.

Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening is released on 23 June. Pre-Order the CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and Vinyl from here

Watch and embed the trailer for the live album from YouTube

Photos by Christie Goodwin