The 19-song setlist focuses on The Ballad Of John Henry, arguably his best album to date, and seven of its twelve songs performed. For this special occasion, Bonamassa's normal touring band is augmented by a second drummer and a three member horn section, and the results are amazing.
"So It's Like That," from the 2002 album of the same name, has a more swinging, bluesy feel to it with horns and Hammond organ prominently added to the live mix. 2003's excellent You & Me album is also featured prominently here with five songs, and the first one up, "So Many Roads," is a real showstopper. Joe's solo on this one is just Sick, with a capital S.
The highlight of the show, of course, was when Eric Clapton joined Joe onstage for a rousing performance of "Further On Up The Road." Joe and Eric trade off on lead vocals and guitar solos, making this one of the best performances of this old classic that I have ever seen. I have never seen a bigger grin on old Slowhand's face than when he was trading licks back and forth with Joe during a spontaneous call-and-response section near the end of the song. He must have been thinking, "who is this fucking guy?!"
It's pointless to go into more individual highlights because the entire show is one long highlight reel, but if you only have time for two more numbers before your football games begins, then fast forward to "Blues Deluxe" and "Mountain Time" - two more of my favorites. Just don't be surprised when you miss the first half of your game, when you find yourself transfixed watching the rest this DVD.
It's been a while since I've felt justified in giving a concert DVD a perfect rating in both performance and production, but Joe Bonamassa - Live From The Royal Albert Hall made this one pretty easy for me. You could not have asked for a better production than what you get here
The high-definition, widescreen picture looks stunning, and the camera work ranks up there with the best I have ever seen. The director really knows the music, as each key guitar riff, drum fill, and horn blast is capture with a timely close-up, and is all mixed perfectly with sweeping shots of stage and hall to give you a real sense of being there.
Some of the most amazing camera shots were from the side of the drum kits as Bogie and Anton play the same incredible drum fills in perfect unison, or the wide-angle shot from behind the drum kits, with the entire hall in view, as Joe leans way back towards his guitar amp trying to elicit a little bit of feedback for the epic note he has been holding.