Joe Bonamassa // “Now Serving: Royal Tea Live From The Ryman” // Album Review
So Joe Bonamassa is back doing what he does best, whilst “Now Serving: Royal Tea Live From The Ryman” was originally a Livestream during Lockdown and I was fortunate to watch said Livestream, its always interesting listening to the audio once again as you can easily be distracted by the visuals within the event itself, such as the plethora of guitar swaps in between songs which just bring out the green-eyed monster! Damn you Joe and your gorgeous collection of vintage guitars!!!
The evening is all about Joe’s latest release “Royal Tea” which was popped out during the year that never was, hence a lack of touring to support the release and the need to share these beauties live. What we have here folks is no failure to communicate, but a blistering display by one of Blue’s modern greats in his element, a man born for the road, packed out auditoriums, and that spotlight accompanied by the 60 cycle hum of his vintage strat.
The great thing about JB is that he’s not one for resting on his laurels, always mixing things up keeping them fresh for his loyal and ever-demanding fan base. The setlist is a reflection of that as you don’t get another re-run of all the Bonamassa classics but instead, a new and diverse collection of tracks to take you on test another sonic rollercoaster the only way Joe knows how. The show kicks off with “When One Door Opens”, It’s a quirky, prog-infused number that makes a statement of intent as to how the rest of the evening shall go. Musically keeping you on your toes as the band rips their way across this biting tune. As Joe tears his way through his new material, you get all those beautiful nuances that he brings to the fore, the stellar backing vocals that fill the room, the huge sounding band behind him that create an almost monstrous sound that would leave you to believe Bonamassa is one of a hundred on stage, Wynnan’s keys working their magic all bring the beauty and complexity of Bonamassa’s songwriting to a crescendo with each and every track. ‘Lookout Man” for me being one of those highlights on the album,
For anyone craving a live experience, so sadly missed over the past year and more, this is your outlet, if you have not yet experienced Bonamassa live and are wondering what all the hype is about, “Now Serving: Royal Tea Live From The Ryman” is the perfect place to start. It barely sounds like a live recording the musicianship is so good, no bum notes here, total focus and blistering ability are the name of the game, complete professionalism whilst delivering an emotive and powerful performance that only Joe Bonamassa can.