Into the music world, sparks are often met; but this match between Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa speaks the language of a true flame. Epilogue of a profitable artistic association consecrated by the recording of two good cds, Don't Explain and See Saw, this film represents the final act of an enduring common musical run. More than the listening, here the sight drives us toward the full understanding of this phenomenon. That’s true for everyone indeed and, even more so, the axiom of the live context as litmus paper, test of authenticity and demonstration of a still living and powerful chemical bond. So to say: take a look to believe.
On this concert recorded in Amsterdam at the historian Koninklijk Theater Carré, Bonamassa directs, with imperceptible tact, almost from the back and in point of eyelash, a bunch of extraordinary sidemen, while Hart is gathered into his ardent, arrogant, physical vocal shape. Fitting alchemy of two different natures: while Bonamassa is a spark, primitive fire, restrained, contained in the perimeter of a more balanced, almost scientific form, Hart blazes free, governed and direct sometimes by the sole wind of emotions, sometimes by the urgency of the tale, by the intimate demand of the narration, by the revelation of the song itself where body and voice grow into soul.
Owner of a thrilling and precise voice, trained by generous doses of Etta James, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner, Hart, with self-confidence, dominates the scene. With that nasal glares evoking Billie Holiday – a singer that Hart tries to approach in a certain grotesque way indeed - Them There Eyes opens, with swing, a programming that includes many songs from the two quoted records (Sinner's Prayer, See Saw, Nutbush City Limits, I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know, Something's Got To Hold On Me, etc.), but it also grants space to Hart acting as intense singer, songwriter and pianist, just like in the autobiographic and touching Love Is The Baddest Blues. Up to the conclusive tribute to Etta James, her true polar star, with an unreachable version of I'd Rather Go Blind. And Bonamassa, from his even though central corner, acting and dressing like a banker, shows all of his innate stylistic versatility. G.R.