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Joe Bonamassa

Live At The Sydney Opera House

Review by Gary Hill

When you dig into an album by Joe Bonamassa, you have a good idea what you are going to get. His brand of blues and rock is pretty well established. You also know that you are going to get some exceptional guitar playing. Well, this live set does not disappoint. Each performance here works really well. Don't expect any big surprises, but rather enjoy the expected pleasures of a live Bonamassa set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
This Train

The piano that begins plays "Locomotive Breath" by Jethro Tull, and other instruments join as a suitable opening to this cut. After that intro they launch out into a fast paced blues rocking jam that's a lot of fun. I dig the organ solo section on this piece a lot. As you might guess, there is some powerhouse guitar soloing built into this, too. The cut has a killer extended instrumental movement at its heart. I dig the horns, too.

Mountain Climbing
I like the groove on this smoking hot blues rocker. The guitar soloing is so classy, too. This is a fiery stomper that just oozes class.
Drive
I dig the mellower blues groove on this cut. There is a lot of soulful rock sound here, too. This is dramatic and strong. It's also a nice bit of variety. The guitar solo section gets an infusion of energy without losing that sense of cool and style.
Love Ain't A Love Song
Guitar soloing starts this cut and holds it for a time. It gets pretty intense and expressive. They eventually make their way out into the rocking groove of the song proper. An extended instrumental movement emerges later in the piece. It runs through in mellower modes for a time before eventually exploding out into some powerhouse jamming.
How Deep This River Runs
This gets into some powerhouse jamming. It's a hard-edged blues rocker, but it turns to some seriously hard rocking stuff further down its musical road. This definitely works to territory that's more hard rock than blues. I love the horns on the buildup on that movement, too. They drop it back to the song proper to continue, though.
Mainline Florida
I really dig this song. The whole tune has a catchy sort of rock sound to it. It reminds of Eric Clapton to a large degree. They put in a smoking hot live rendition, too. Of course, Bonamassa finds plenty of opportunity to lay down the guitar soloing with style.
The Valley Runs Low
Some killer slide blues jamming brings this piece into being. Mellower blues sounds take over after the extended introduction. Organ joins the mix as a nice flavoring, and the cut begins to build in a nice groove. It gets more powered up as it continues, but always remains moderately mellow and quite faithfully blues driven.
Blues Of Desperation
Dramatic, nearly psychedelic textures drive this cut as it opens. The cut works out after the first verse into a powered up rocker with tasty horns in the mix. That section holds it for a round, but then it drops back down to the psychedelic for the next vocal section. Things power up for another instrumental section, this time more extensive than the previous one. As it drops back to the psychedelic again, it seems even more inspired. Further down the road we get some killer instrumental work that includes some screaming hot guitar soloing. This tune is just so cool.
No Good Place For The Lonely
The closer is another powerhouse blues rocker. This has some of the most powerful guitar soloing of the bunch. It also just plain oozes cool and style.
 
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