Viacom Media Networks' high-definition music channel Palladia HD will premiere it on Saturday, March 23 and Public Television will begin airing it as part of its special programming in March.
Bonamassa – a predominantly electric guitar player – was ready for a complete departure from his usual projects. For years, he had been wowing audiences with his flagship acoustic song "Woke Up Dreaming," which has become an iconic staple of his world tour and a fan favorite. Building on the popularity of this song, Bonamassa and producer Shirley set out to design an entirely new and intimate "unplugged" concert experience that they would then bring to seven lucky cities in Europe during summer 2012. They recorded the performance in Vienna— the "City of Music" — at the Vienna Opera House, a culturally iconic venue steeped in history and heritage, making it the perfect backdrop for this unprecedented show.
"To say this was a challenge is an understatement," said Bonamassa. "To say this was a departure from anything I had ever done before is an even bigger understatement. I can say with full certainty that it was the most enjoyable tour I have ever done. On this tour I really learned the virtues of my singing lessons over the years. Take away those long guitar solos, all that sustain and that big Gibson sound and what is left leaves you no option but to dig deep and sing until you can't sing anymore."
An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House features gorgeously textured music – 20 songs, filmed in HD and recorded in Dolby 5.1 – made with a wealth of rare, vintage, organic and "oddball" instruments. The DVD and Blu-ray will feature 90 minutes of extra footage, interviews and a making-of documentary. Highlights among the 20 songs include favorites that span Bonamassa's career—"The Ballad of John Henry ," "Woke Up Dreaming," "Ball Peen Hammer," "Sloe Gin," and "Mountain Time"—including many he doesn't normally perform live, such as "Athens to Athens," "Black Lung Heartache," "Jelly Roll," "Around The Bend," "Jockey Full of Bourbon," "Seagull," and "Richmond." Accompanying Bonamassa on the same stage once graced by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, and Haydn are: traditional Irish fiddler Gerry O'Connor, who also plays mandolin and banjo; Swedish multi-instrumentalist Mats Wester on the nyckelharpa, a keyed fiddle; Los Angeles-based keyboardist Arlan Schierbaum texturing the mix with celeste, accordions, toy pianos, and assorted "organic" instruments; and renowned Puerto Rican percussionist Lenny Castro , whose works spans genres and reads like a who's who of artists, including the Rolling Stones, Sir Elton John , Eric Clapton , Boz Scaggs , Toto, Steely Dan, Christopher Cross, Stevie Wonder , David Sanborn , Avenged Sevenfold, Little Feat, Tom Petty , the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more.
Bonamassa and Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Iron Maiden, John Hiatt , Journey, Aerosmith) have collaborated on thirteen projects in the last seven years, including Bonamassa's previous two live CD/DVD/Blu-ray projects, Live From The Royal Albert Hall (2010) and Beacon Theatre: Live From New York (2012), his last six studio albums and albums with Beth Hart and Black Country Communion.
Guitar Center recently partnered with Bonamassa to launch Guitar Center's Blues Masters Featuring Joe Bonamassa. Together they will offer ten musicians the chance to win the grand prize which includes an opening slot at Joe Bonamassa's headlining show in Los Angeles this fall, $10,000 cash, gear from Gibson, Ernie Ball , Marshall Amplification Shure and Dunlop as well as a mentor session in studio with Joe Bonamassa and producer Kevin Shirley .
Bonamassa is driving sales for the guitar industry and keeping the guitar alive, helping great companies like Guitar Center, Gibson, Epiphone, Ernie Ball , Dunlop, Seymour Duncan , Clear Sonic and Klotz Cables , all of whom have signature products with the guitar phenom. Bonamassa's style of guitar has breathed new life and excitement back into the instrument as legions of new fans are becoming familiar again with the great sound of guitar-based rock music.
Joe will kick off his North American Spring Tour on April 10 in Vancouver, BC and will finish with three nights at New York's Beacon Theatre on May 16, 17 and 18. He'll open each show with a short acoustic set before diving into his signature electric show.