“The orchestra and the sheer scale of the event and venue is something I will never forget”: Experience Joe Bonamassa live with a 40-piece orchestra as he announces release of his 2023 Hollywood Bowl set

Joe Bonamassa live at the Hollywood Bowl 2023
(Image credit: Christie Goodwin)

Joe Bonamassa has announced a new live album capturing his career-high set at the Hollywood Bowl California in all its glory, during which the blues guitar superstar was accompanied by a full 40-piece orchestra. 

If you follow Bonamassa on social media you might remember just how big a deal this was for him. Bonamassa could count himself a regular at the Ryman in Nashville, Red Rocks in Colorado, and player who was at home working an electric guitar in the grand confines of the Royal Albert Hall in London. The man has recorded at Abbey Road. But this was the big one, hence going the extra mile and hiring a full orchestra for the night.

“Very few gigs represent my journey in music more than the Hollywood Bowl,” says Bonamassa. “I moved to Los Angeles in 2003 in search of opportunity, and cheaper rent than New York City. My first gig at The Mint was attended by five of my friends and that's all. 

“We have played The Greek Theatre many times since, but the Bowl has always been a dream. The orchestra and the sheer scale of the event and venue is something I will never forget. I am so grateful that we filmed this special event in my life.”

Released on CD/DVD, CD/Blu-ray, double vinyl and digital via J&R Adventures on 17 May, Live At The Hollywood Bowl features performances by David Campbell, Trevor Rabin, and Jeff Bova, and was produced by Bonamassa’s long-time collaborator Kevin Shirley.

“With a master practitioner like Joe Bonamassa on guitar, studio ingredients become magic live,” says Shirley. “Embracing the challenge of surpassing previous concerts, we aimed high for the Hollywood Bowl, incorporating orchestral maestros like David Campbell and Trevor Rabin. The result is a cinematic celebration of Joe’s music, a testament to his unparalleled standing in the blues-rock realm.”

Joe Bonamassa live at the Hollywood Bowl 2023

(Image credit: Jenise Jensen)

Bonamassa has shared the video for his Bobby Bland cover Twenty-Four Hour Blues, which you can check out above. It gives you an idea of how he took some of that Beale Street sound and found space in the mix for an orchestral manoeuvre. It’s most audacious. 

Compare and contrast with the version from Bonamassa’s latest studio album, Blues Deluxe Vol 2. Indeed, blues deluxe could be one way of describing this whole endeavour, and Twenty-Four Hour Blues could be JoBo’s motto. He doesn’t stop. 

You can find him on the road across the US this spring. Tonight he plays Red Bank, NJ, at the Count Basie Center For The Arts. See Joe Bonamassa for dates and ticket details. Live At The Hollywood Bowl (With Orchestra) is available to order now. Get the CD/Blu-ray if you can. It’s the next best thing to being there – and you don’t have to worry about the LA traffic, which would give anyone the blues.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.