Live at the Royal Albert Hall
A Roller-coaster of Rocking and Rolling Blues Infused Emotions From the Bottom of her Heart.
There’s not a lot left to say about Blues Chanteuse Beth Hart, is there after all these years? Well, perhaps there is……did you know that she was a vocal AND cello major at school?No? Me neither.
Although she released her first album in 1993, it was her album DON’T EXPLAIN with Joe Bonamassa in 2011 that she came to my attention; and a one sided love affair started!
Which brings me to this glorious Double CD/Triple LP and DVD release; which kinda brings this first chapter, which began in 1993 to a bit of a conclusion.
If you’ve ever seen Beth Hart in concert you will know it’s quite a full on experience right from the passionate acapella opening (As Long As I Have a Song) which she sings as she walks to the stage from the back of the hall; right through to the epic (in this case) closing song Caught Out in the Rain.
In between there’s a veritable roller-coaster of songs that run the full emotional gamut;and boy can Beth Hart give you highs and lows in song; which many are based on real life experiences.
Her ‘party’ starts as early as song #3 Lifts You Up, when she urges the normally reticent London crowd to “get up outta your seats!” and then lights up this phenomenal room with a real spitfire like performance; which never really stops for the next two hours.
Even her heart-breakers (Sister Heroine and Your Heart Is Black as Night) are done with such smoky panache, they must have made this 5,259 capacity room feel like it was an intimate night club for the length of each tightly wrapped and deeply personal song.
I’ve read a few lazy reviews of Ms Hart over the years when she’s been compared to Janis Joplin…..nay, nay and thrice NAY! Beth Hart is a ‘one off’ in her own delightful way…….while she’s lived a life that would scare the pants off Keith Richards (and Janis!) she’s come out the other side with a voice; and a helluva voice it is too, plus a bunch of songs like As Good As It Gets, Love Is a Lie and of course her Rocking Gospel thrash, Saved that sound like a woman who has walked life’s tightrope in high heels……..and survived to tell the tale.
A couple of my previous favourite Beth Hart songs make an appearance here; and it’s fair to say that Bang Bang, Boom Boom, The Ugliest House on the Block and Baby Shot Me Down fairly fizz with excitement now that they’ve grown and matured in the intervening years since they originally came out.
Then, of course there are another couple of songs that I didn’t recognise; Spiders in My Bed from 1996 and the tragically beautiful Leave The Light On from 2003, which sound as sharp and insightful as anything she’s recorded in the last 10, more successful and commercial years.
Sooner or later I will get around to watching the accompanying DVD; but I kinda like re-imagining her on stage as she purrs Mama, This One’s For You through a very sensitive and crackling voice, as her Mama was actually in the audience on the night this album was recorded.
I bet there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Phew; 23 songs and not a single one feels like it’s here under false pretences; so choosing a Favourite has been a bit difficult; do I go for one of Beth’s intimate and sensitive ballads, which I adore or, do I go with my heart? Yup…… I’m going for what I believe to be Beth Hart’s’signature tune’…….Baddest Blues; which is……well….it is Baddest Blues at it’s rawest and baddest best, which means it is Beth Hart at her baddest best.
I can’t go without telling you that her band; guitar-slinger extraordinaire Jon Nichols,bass pumper Bob Marinelli and keeper of the beat Bill Ransom are all at the very top of the game all through these songs; never showy but all integral to the sound Beth Hart wants to create and together they manage it with style, panache and Olympian quality class.
Released November 30th 2018