From the fanfare of the opening crawl to the abrupt cutaway zing of the closing credits, John Williams' soundtrack to The Force Awakens does not disappoint. Williams has always been an integral part of the Star Wars experience, as familiar as the movies themselves, comforting and nostalgic. The fan anticipation and legacy baggage that came with the seventh film in this iconic series was overwhelming, being the first new film since 2005's Revenge of the Sith and the direct sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi, yet the results are not crushed by outlandish pressure. For The Force Awakens, Williams began work in late 2014, before recording began in Los Angeles in June 2015 (the first time a Star Wars film score was not recorded at Abbey Road). He enlisted a freelance orchestra and, with the help of William Ross and Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, produced a 23-song journey connecting the past and the future of the Star Wars universe. Here, Williams combines the old and the new with expert subtlety, creating a lush experience that rewards repeat listens. Those familiar with his work on other big-budget sagas (Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones) will instantly recognize the blaring horns that propel the action, the stirring strings that intensify the tension, and the bombast that contribute to the excitement as much as the scenes portrayed on the screen.
At his heart Joe Bonamassa is a blues player and it was for this evening at Shepherd’s Bush Empire that he elected to put on a display highlighting his true love of the genre. Backed by a full horn section, Bonamassa rolled through blues-tinged stalwarts from his vast collection.
The Borderline, a small club in the heart of London was chosen to stage a revival of Bonamassa’s early career power-trio jam nights. Armed with a Fender Stratocaster – Bonamassa along with a single drummer and bassist launched into a setlist marked with extended takes of songs from his first set of albums including some never before performed live on stage.