30 November 2018 (released)
18 November 2018
I never pass up a chance to se Beth Hart live and she never disappoints. When she played a packed house at the Royal Albert Hall earlier in the year she was electric and the crowd exploded with joy.
This double CD demonstrates just how good her music is but you will need the DVD or Blu-Ray to really get the audience reaction – believe me, she had them cheering, tearful and in raptures at different points of the show.
From the opening acapella version of ‘As Long As I Have A Song’ you filter out all of the audience cheers and whoops, just focussing on that incredible voice.
Her band kicks in on a mammoth and soulful ‘For My Friends’ and funky ‘Lifts You Up’ with Hart exhorting the crowd to get up and dance – from memory, the stewards were rather unhappy – and sing the responses back to her. Hi voltage and an awesome start to a really long show.
Over the 2CDs she covers all of the repertoire that has built up over twenty five years and takes the audience through the highs and lows of her life.
From the ups with songs such as ‘Good As It Gets’ – all strut and bluster – to the lows with ‘Sister Heroine’, just her voice and piano in a song to her older sister who succumbed to addiction. ‘Your Heart Is As Black As Stone’ is soft, slow and desperately intense, creating a dense and enveloping atmosphere – the guitar solo from Jon Nichols is angular and eerie.
One thing that endears Hart to her fans is the way that she lays out her life in her songs – not just clues or hints but full blown statements – and apologises for nothing. She is bipolar – uncontrolled for a long time – and her family and personal traumas have impinged on her wellbeing but the songs that result from this life mirror the experiences of many of her fans.
‘Ugliest House On The Block’ is a positive, a tale about settling down and giving love to the least likely recipient but that is followed by ‘Spiders In My Bed’ telling the tale of her manic phases where she would stay awake for days at a time.
‘Leave The Light On’ sees her back at the piano, no excessive vocal, just full of heart and with a tiny quaver in her voice and telling that life is full of good and bad and no-one is all of one or the other.
The CDs really do represent her performance on that night and also the audience reaction to her. She is a special talent and if you have a chance to see her perform live then grab it with both hands.