RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Joe Bonamassa – Tour De Force: Live in London
JR Adventures

Rating: A+

Joe Bonamassa is not only an amazing performer; he is an innovative musician and a savvy businessman.  He goes the extra mile to present his fans with special products, priced right and of the highest quality outside of the normal music business model.  This time around, he did it by making four DVD’s titled Tour de Force: Live in London.  These are four concerts by Joe in London in different venues featuring different aspects of his career.

These are not just any concerts played in any venue.  We are talking legendary performances in legendary places.  Joe took on the Royal Albert Hall, Hammersmith Apollo, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and The Borderline. The shows are basically a bird’s eye view of the rise of Joe’s career performed in the modern day.  Think of this as a really cool trip down memory lane culminating in the present day with Bonamassa being on top of the world. 

For instance, the London Borderline holds only a couple of hundred people and shows how Bonamassa was able to grow into a performer through playing the smaller clubs and winning over fans one at a time.  Next up was the gig at Shepherd’s Bush where Joe added a horn section and let out his inner soul.  Where the first DVD is balls to the wall guitar playing in an intimate setting, this one see Joe beginning to explore different styles of music. 

The third concert finds the bluesman doing what many consider he does best, and that is dedicate the entire performance to the blues.  The emotions in the music come to forefront and almost overshadow his amazing guitar skills.  Lastly, Joe returns to the Royal Albert Hall where he plays an acoustic set and an electric set…’nuff said about that, of course it is an amazing performance.  

On each disc there is a bonus documentary that is split into four parts that chronicles each event.  You can either buy each show separately, or you can purchase a box set that has all of them along with other bells and whistles, including a hard cover photo book. 

One very cool thing Joe did on these discs that shows his passion for this music is who, or rather what he featured as special guests.  Joe’s special guests are guitars instead of people.  We are talking Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster, Bernie Marsden’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul and the Peter Greene/Gary Moore 1959 Gibson Les Paul.  Seeing a future legendry guitarist paying homage to these iconic musicians, by playing their instruments, is inspiring indeed. While this writer enjoys the passion and warfare of the small venue the best, with the harder edge and featuring a lot of early Bonamassa gems, each concert is amazing in its own right. 

Joe Bonamassa is the real deal and in many ways, both musically and professionally, he represents the future of the music business.  No one plays with more passion than Joe and where many musicians look like a deer in the headlights at the current music business climate, he is building an empire.

By Jeb Wright