-Interviewer- How did you choose the songs to perform on the Japanese tour, from the repertoires over the
past 40 years ?
-Jeff Beck- I've been bothered because the each person around gave me different suggestions ! If I took in all their opinions, the show must have been too 10 hours long. Basically, the set-list was based upon the concert at Royal Festival Hall, London which I held 3 years ago. We play a lot of songs, so the long tune has to be cut short. Jimmy Hall sings on the numbers from The Jeff Beck Group which Rod Stewart sang, and a few Jimi Hendrix numbers. Jimmy has a wide range of voices, and he has a wonderful tone, so I thought he's the right guy for this tour. Jimmy is the greatest white singer in the world. He can sing not only in the way black soul singer does, like Sam Cooke and James Brown, but also in the style with a husky voice like Rod Stewart did. The ideal white singer to me is Paul Rodgers, but Jimmy is near to that level, I guess. Jimi Hendrix was the wonderful guitarist, but they didn't tell that he was one of the greatest singers. There was no comparison between Jimi and Marvin Gaye, Patti Labelle. What would happen if the greatest singer sings his songs ? That's the meaning of Jimi's tunes I attempt to play on this tour.
-i- Do you remember your older songs ?
-j- No, not at all ! It was lucky to me that I have the tape recorded at the Royal Festival Hall shows. We could spend 3 weeks for the rehearsals. I performed 6 numbers with The White Stripes. I was ashamed that Jack White knew the songs better than me ! This time we can rehearse listening to that Festival Hall tapes, so the things go so smooth.
-i- What kind of things do you require when the new band members play your older tunes ? Do you
give them some advices ?
-j- No, I don't tell them anything, it's unnecessary. Pino, Vinnie, Jason are the true professionals, they know what to do without my advice. If I have to tell something, I will tell them to perform what they can blow me away !
-i- On the previous tour, Jennifer Batten played for you. How does your performance change if you have two
guitarists in the band ?
-j- Jennifer is the wonderful guitarist, and at the same time she was the chief of electronics, guitar synthesizer and programming, and also the producer for the band. Additionally, she was a baby-sitter for me. So I didn't felt much it was a twin-guitar band. I was always playing in a single-guitar band, never have played in a twin-guitar band, so I don't know how my performance would change. Exceptionally, The Yardbirds had two guitarists, but I forgot about such an old days !
-i- Until now, we could buy "Live Beck" (* This is the Japanese title for Live At B.B. King Blues Club)
which was recorded on September, 2003, at The B.B. King Blues Club, only on the internet. But in time
for your Japanese tour, this CD was re-released in Japan, in a usual way. What do you remember about this
-j- Yeah ... to tell the truth, I wasn't enthusiastic. Of course, B.B. is one of my close friends. And I like to see someone's gig in the club. But I have been always playing in the arena, so I wasn't interested in unexpected performing in the small club. The machineries had to be much smaller than we use all the time, and we could not hear PA monitors. When I finished a sound-check, I told my guitar tech "ah, I wanna go back to England". During the show, one audience was gazing at me at only one feet from me. I was so nervous. In the old days like sixties, I had played at the sweaty club every night, but I'm far from that kind of things in the several years. It was hard. Tony Hymas was an organic player, so he did not fit to the newer songs made of a lot of programming.
-i- But the Japanese fans love that performance.
-j- I cannot be objective to my performances. This is possibly a great performance as you say. Of course, the gig was not the worst one. But I don't like a live recording basically. It's impossible to capture all the excitements on the stage to the tape. And all the listeners in the world can hear my small mistakes. Then if I would fix it with over-dubbing, it would not be a "Live album", isn't it ? I don't want you to take it wrong, I love to perform on the stage. Of course there are some mistakes, but if the performance has some kind of emotions, it would not always be bad. But I cannot stand that it would be kept forever.
-i- Do you listen to the tape of your performance recorded live ?
-j- Only when I need to remember my old tunes, like this time. I don't wanna listen to my performances, taking the trouble of recording them. I listen to the tape only to hear Jan Hammer's performances. His playing is really great. He joined me on the England tour last year. He told me that he wanted to spend his time with his family, but I begged him to tour with me. But as soon as the tour was done, he had a heart attack. I want to apology him so much. It was lucky that he was in no danger of losing his life. But I was too sorry to even call him for a while.
-i- It was a big surprise that the classics like "Scatterbrain", "Freeway Jam" never seems out of place
in the group of the newer songs like "Roy's Toy", "Seasons". What kind of effort did you make on your guitar
-j- I don't do any efforts. Just try playing the way I should do. "Scatterbrain" is the tune from 30 years ago. But it's me who plays it. I'm not interested in re-producing the older sounds. Changing guitars by numbers to recreate The Yardbirds or "Blow By Blow" numbers is just a nightmare. I will be satisfied if I could have one or two guitars that I can trust.
-i- What guitars do you play now ?
-j- Fender Telecaster made on 1954 and white Stratocaster made 4 years before. Fender made some guitars for me, and that Strato fits me well now. It's just like a one made on 1954, and fits well to my hand. Surf green model I used to play was also good, but I treated it so rough, it has a crack on its back. I attached the neck from Surf green to the White Strato, it's still active now. Both guitars are almost in the same shape, but it sounds at all different.
-i- How have your guitar performances changed, in comparison to that of 1960's or 1970's ?
-j- I don't know. I don't analyze my performances. That's what the critics have to do. And I don't listen to my albums of the past. I haven't listened to The Yardbirds albums for so long. If I bring some old albums out here and play a guitar like I used to on those albums, it's an imitation of myself. I'm not interested in copying someone. If I try, I can play like Jimmy Page, or Merle Travis. On "Crazy Legs" album, I had become the imitation of Cliff Gallup. That album was aimed to be a tribute to Cliff and The Blue Caps. And at the same time, I wanted The Big Town Playboys, never had seen the light of the day, to be admired by the world. Except that kind of deeds, I don't feel any meanings to imitate someone else.
-i- When you play those classic masterpieces like "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" or "Blue Wind",
you're gonna play them with the emotions different from the other tunes. How different ?
-j- Thrills and the excitements are the same, but I thought of something completely different now and then. In those days, I was always jealous of the other guitarists. Something like, "Why can't I play something great like John McLaughlin and Roy Buchanan do". Now I don't swing back and force on my performances, instead of it, I'm looking for the potential I have. "Blue Wind" of "Wired" is the proto-type. I have played this number in all these 30 years, and I believe I'll perform the ultimate "Blue Wind" someday.
-i- You have always surprised your fans with the original phrase or the bold changes of your
music style. You meant to shock them ?
-j- The word "Shock" isn't the same thing as what I meant. If I wanted to shock the audience, I just have to pull down my pants, just like Iggy Pop did. What I'm trying to do is giving thrills and inspirations to my audience and make them having funs. Even if I would become worthless and only one audience come to see my show, I will do the show. But then if no one come, there would be no worth doing the show. I'm basically an entertainer. It's a thrill to me that the young listeners, with my song in their iPods, come to see my show as well as the older fans come.
-i- There was a rumor last year that The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood might
have a chance to reunion. Was it really going on ?
-j- Everybody stretched their interpretation of that rumor, but there were no concrete plans. Ronnie is my close friend, and Rod is friend of Ronnie's. So one day, Rod asked me, through Ronnie, to appear as a guest on TV show. I went to the studios, each members of the band were wearing ear-monitors. And the drummer was inside the box made of glass. Then I respectfully excused "I'm sorry. I can't play in the style like this", and I went back home. That was all. That was not a kind of story about Jeff Beck Group's reunion. I don't know Rod actually wanted to reunite the band. He is making projective albums of the pop songs from early 20th century and something, so he wanted to reunite the group as a part of them (laugh).
-i- Are you interested in that reunion ?
-j- It's OK if I could do something new with Rod and Ronnie, but I don't want to tour with the materials only from "Truth" album. And they (Rod and Ronnie) are already big stars, so the contracts are troublesome. Maybe what's best for me is, to go out drinking with Ronnie, and tour with Jimmy Hall (laugh). But still now I regret that the group broke up before we could get righteous reputations. Those were the days that we couldn't have any big promotional steps like MTV, we made a circuit around the American caverns and the small clubs. So the very little people watched Jeff Beck Group performing live. We broke up before we toured all around the England, so all the Englishmen think The Faces is the first band experience for Rod. If the band lasted a little bit longer, we might have been a real big star. But I wasn't the right man to be a band leader. So as now. On the other side, Rod had his faith and a course, so it was a matter of time before Rod left the band. "Truth" and "Beck Ola" were the wakes of me and Rod's fights. When I formed a band with Carmine Appice, I wanted Rod to join, but he had his interests elsewhere.
-i- In these days, we see the reunions of the great band like Cream, Queen and Pink Floyd.
How do you think about those ?
-j- Not interested much. About The Cream, I went only to the party after the show. Pink Floyd is better than the others, I guess. They don't play the kind of rock and roll that the young audiences shout, and they play the songs that mature adult can play. About the Queen, no comment. When Paul Rodgers sings, he will make any songs turning to the gold, it's sure. But it's not the "Queen", it's "Paul Rodgers sings Queen". Nobody can replace Freddie. Without Freddie, it's not Queen. I was not so close to Freddie, but I met him once at the party. I remember Carmine Appice introduced me to him, then jammed together. He was a very polite and quiet man.
-i- If you could reunite one lineup in your career, what era would you choose ?
-j- It's hard to answer. I was so lucky to perform with great musicians through my whole career. I have never thought that which one is a better player in Jan Hammer and Tony Hymas, Pino and Stanley Clarke, Vinnie and Terry Bozzio. Everyone is a great player. But when I choose the ideal sparring partner, it's Jan Hammer. The battle between I and him was so exciting. I throw him my phrase, he doubles it and hits me back, and I double it again. We could elevate ourselves each other in that way. Of course, when I'm without a worthy rival like Jan, I think "I have to do it myself" and try so hard. But it's always fun to play with Jan. On the other side, I always want to perform with somebody I have never done with. It was so exciting to play with The White Stripes and Imogen Heap, and I'm always looking for thrills.
-i- You played with Tony Hymas and Jan Hammer for over twenty years, though with some intervals
between. When you do not tour or do the recordings, do you keep company with them privately ?
-j- No, not at all. The each member of the comedy team never talks in their private life, I hear. As well as that, I rarely call them. We have each life, and I don't want to disturb it. It's also few that I go out for the dinner with one of the musicians. I'm so close to Ronnie Wood, but he doesn't have a chance to stay long in England since he joined The Rolling Stones. And he now lives in Dublin, we cannot meet easily. But his phone number is always in my reach, I can always at least contact him.
-i- Do you regret about not joining The Rolling Stones in 1975 ?
-j- I could have been rich, but I could have not be happy. In those times, The Stones had been staying in Rotterdam, Holland, in relations to tax. One day, they called me and told, "Would you like to play your guitar on one or more songs ?". So I went there, but none of The Stones were there (laugh). After three days were gone and I was at the bar in the hotel, and I found pianist Ian Stewart. I told him "It's about time I gotta go back to England". In the rehearsals room, there were hundreds of guitars with each players' name on. I had no intention to try the audition. But Ian said to me that they decided me as a new guitarist for The Stones and therefore the auditions were cancelled. I had already decided to record "Blow By Blow" with George Martin then, and already had reserved the studios. To tell the truth, I had thought of joining the stones, but I had not been much fascinated with their music, so I finally declined their offer. I had never met any member of The Stones and left Rotterdam (* But in fact, the tape of the jam of The Rolling Stones and Jeff Beck exists). I told Stu "Ronnie Wood might be the right guy", but I don't know that's why Ronnie joined The Stones at last.
-i- How do you think about going on your career not to be a vocalist ? Even Eric Clapton was not a skilled
vocalist in 1960's, but he's now highly regarded as a vocalist.
-j- Eric might have been skilled then, but he had a good voice. In the Yardbirds days, maybe, we were inside the car. I remember we were listening to Otis Rush's "All Your Love". Eric was singing to the song, so I recommended him to try to improve the skills of his vocals. Then he said to me, "Jeff, you should sing, too". But I answered, "no, I will not". Come to think of it, that might be the crossroads of our fate. After that, when I formed Jeff Beck Group, producer (Mickie Most) tried to make me a pop singer, he miserably failed ! No, who was miserable was me. With the single "Hi Ho Silver Lining", the singer "Jeff Beck" came to an end of the career. Now I'm glad that It's over !
-i- Recently, you played on Les Paul's album "American Made World Played", how did you feel to play with him ?
-j- I had played with Les several times, it's always impressive to me. His performance is so simple, but every one of his notes has its meaning. Compared to him, I came to know that how many useless notes I've been playing. I asked him in the studios, "Do I play too much notes ?". He answered tapping on my shoulder, "It's okay, you should play in your way". He's the wonderful guitarist and also the great man.
-i- Have you played on the other artists' album in these days ?
-j- What I can remember now is, Toots & The Maytals' album. Number called "54-46", which I like very much.
-i- You appeared on the Crossroads Festival" last year and performed "Cause We've Ended As Lovers", but it
was not included in DVD. Why ?
-j- I didn't allow it. The performance was not good. I was supposed to play "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" as an warming up, then to jam with Eric and Billy Gibbons. But actually, after one song was done, a man on the wing of the stage told me "Jeff, the storm's approaching, we gotta go back", then he pulled me off the stage. The storm came, in the end, after 2 hours. Probably, they thought "The same old fickle Jeff Beck", but I was full of drive.
-i- You also appeared on one of the Martin Scosese's TV film "The Blues Movie Project",
"Red, White & Blues" and played with Tom Jones and Lulu. How did you feel about the
-j- Mmm, I don't like that film. I was to blame not to hear about that project much, but I was leaning my head left and right because I was treated like a traditional player and a storyteller of the 60's. It was something strange, so I tried to get back home in a midway. But Tom Jones winked to me and said, "Let's do what we have to right away, and go back home", so I finished all the sessions. Tom is a true professional. The reason why that Tom is always on top of the show business is he tries and makes a wonderful result in any bad conditions. Anyway, after the recordings, I was waiting for the rough mix of the film, but they sent me a retail version of DVD.
-i- Do you like some of the recordings you made with the other artists ?
-j- I like Roger Waters' "Amused To Death". Heavy rock, blues, ambient tracks, there were some type of the music. And I could play my guitar freely.
-i- Are you interested in traditional 12 bar blues ?
-j- I like to listen to the blues guitarists like B.B. King and Buddy Guy. But I don't want to play that. I will be overwhelmed if I play the same chord progressions again and again everyday ! In my shows, I play "Brush With The Blues", but it's just a "brush" with the blues, it's not a typical 12 bar blues, isn't it ?
-i- On the back cover of the recent three albums, "Who Else !", "You Had It Coming" and
"Jeff", we see you in a blue mood, you hung your head down.
-j- It always take much time for the photo session for the albums, it makes me blue (laugh). I'm not an idol star or a fashion model. I can't be photographed smiling if there's nothing funny. In a photo studio for 4 hours and then "Hi, smile", I only have to be blue. That must be when I might be in troubles with the record company for the guarantee ! It's okay if the photographer tells me some jokes, but photographers are the kind of people that doesn't understand the sense of humor.
-i- Are you going to act with the band you have now ?
-j- It's not decided yet, but every one of the band is a great player, and they can make wonderful music. Yesterday, Pino told me "Let's keep on our job together in the future". But I want to have priority to finish Japanese tour successfully, then I will think about it.
-i- Do you have any plans for your new album ?
-j- I just have recorded a demo for the new album. I have to arrange it again and again, but it's so special. I don't know how the new album's gonna be like after I would record 6 or more tunes, but it's sure that it's not going to be a rock and roll album (laugh). The players for the album were not decided yet, but if my present band can make it good,we might go into the studios. I like the albums after "Who Else !" so much, but I hear some requests that they want to hear a live drums and bass. I have done what I could do in the electronic music. I will regard on mutual reactions between musicians in the next album, it will be more organic. But even though I tell you like that now, I can't say I will never do the electronic music or sampling in the future.
-i- Who are you working the demo with ?
-j- It's not decided to produce with him yet, and if I tell it to you now, it's not gonna be a surprise ? I will decide what I record for the album, and I will record them in the early 2006. I will record them quickly in the studio, like they do in 1950's. After The Beatles, it's not strange to spend 3 months to record only one single, but I want to bring a mass of ideas, and release it while it's hot. My new album might be in store in the first half of the next year.
-Interviewer- "B.B. King Blues Club", which was available only on the internet, is now distributed in a general
records store only in Japan.
-Jeff Beck- Huh ? Is it really ? I didn't know. In the beginning, the album was not distributed in a general store to stop thriving the pirated files on the internet, I remember. But the album, as a result, sounded like a bootleg !
-i- The vividness and the energy through the album are just like that what we can hear on bootlegs.
Is it related to playing inside the B.B. King's Blues Club, the hall that's smaller than you
usually play ?
-j- It's sure that it's so different from the circumstances that I always play in. It was not fascinating ideas for me to play in the club, because I always play in the huge 65 feet stage, with a big PA. Playing in that club was something like getting back to the 60's. We have to reduce the show itself when we play in the club like that one.
-i- Sounds different ?
-j- Absolutely. So we could not hear keyboards, and the sounds turned around in the soundcheck. It was tough. But the fans were already waiting around the club, we couldn't cancel the show. So we decided to do the same-scale show as we always do. Fortunately, we did the show for 2 days, 2nd day was better. We tried to get used to the unfamiliar circumstances on the 1st day. We could have handled if the differences were just a circumstances, but we could not get used to the sound of the club because we had been playing in 31 of big concert halls then. Certainly the club was a great place, and the audiences were having fun, we were lucky.
-i- The amplifier you used was Marshall JCM2000 ?
-j- Yes it was. I love it because it's an well-balanced head-amp. It has a tolerance for noises. We don't have to play with the full volume like we used to do, because the monitor system is much better today. JCM2000 has a lot of variations in channels of Overdrives. This is a big difference from the old Marshall. It's good to have 2 channels.
-i- What kind of effectors do you use in that gig ?
-j- On some verses in one tune, I used a Ring-Modulator. That's all.
-i- Was your guitar a Stratocaster that you always use these days ?
-j- Yeah. Fender Custom Shop model, white. Maybe the 1989 model. It's a Jeff Beck Model ! And another Strato, and one more Strato, that has completely different tunings, to use in one tune.
-i- Your guitar sound is mid-boosted and fat these days.
-j- I expect to play a sound that's trebly and bright. Preventing the guitar sounds from hiding behind the other sounds. It's so hard to play beside the amps that has too much bass range. When I stand somewhere like that, I cannot catch a mid-range and a high-range. Certainly, I always want fat-sounds or thick-sounds. So I can never see a gig by the band whose guitarist makes just high-pitched sounds.
-i- Do you make your own sounds by the amps ? And how do you control the knobs ?
-j- I cannot explain about it because the settings of the amp are always changing. But, basically, the amps' knobs are fully opened, and I control the sounds with the guitar's volume knobs and my fingerings. Actually, it rarely happens to touch the amps on the stage, only when the troubles happen. My sound-engineer, Johan, from South Africa, doesn't do anything with EQ that I don't expect. All he does is to turn up the volume when I play a slow tune.
-i- By the way, what kind of amps did you use to record "Blow By Blow" ?
-j- It was a long time ago, I don't remember well (laugh). But it was probably a Marshall that I also used in the Jeff Beck Group era. I used the one with slanting panel which the knobs are on, and 4 of them stacked. In the studios, I used one of them. Additionally, I used VOX or Fender, maybe. The producer, George Martin didn't like the sound effects, so the sounds of the album was vivid. I played a tune repeatedly, and recorded them. But at the time I was recording the demo, we could make too good recordings. So, in George's decision, we didn't re-record again. We just fixed some mistakes, they are almost the same as demo recordings. For example, we didn't overdubbed on "Freeway Jam".
-i- Let's turn back to "B.B. King Blues Club" album, "Scatterbrain" sounds well-distorted.
-j- It was just that when we started that tune, the amp's settings were like that. The tune is a fast one, so I couldn't walk to the amps and touch the knobs, I couldn't do anything with it. It's a gig, so I cannot say "I'm sorry, I'd like to change the setting and play it again" (laugh).
-i- One more thing about "Scatterbrain", theme differs from the original one. I thought that this
happens because of your finger picking.
-j- It's a big factor. But I don't remember well what I had played in the original version, so it can't be helped to be rough. The reason why I added this tune to the set-list was to feature Terry's performance. You can hear his drums solo a bit in the middle part ? Towards the end of tune, you can hear Terry's going crazy (laugh).
-i- To begin with, when did you get your style of finger picking ?
-j- I got it already in the 60's. At the end of the 50's, before the rock and roll became so big, I loved Chet Atkins and Merle Travis' style. Their country style picking was not to play only one note or chord, but to play lower and higher strings freely with all of the right fingers. It was fascinating that they don't need no rhythm instruments. About this style, Merle Travis is still a model to me.
-i- What finger actually do you use ?
-j- Formerly I used the thumb, forefinger and middle finger. But in these days, I use every fingers. Especially, I'm trying to use my little finger. To do that, my expressions get wider, and if I don't care about that, little fingers are never used (laugh).
-i- I can feel the attacking sounds and sharpness almost the same as when you use a pick.
-j- I say that it's like pulling a string and slap it to the fingerboard. Long ago, I used to fight with the small amps to get louder in front of the audiences. It's like that. Heavy Metal music was born from that kind of aggressions and frustrations, I guess. "We want to let them feel loud !". Then they could not get control of it, such a kind of style was born (laugh).
-i- Is your style like a bassist's slapping ?
-j- Yes. But I also play flexibly with my fingers. It's like playing a spanish guitar.
-i- Do you choose strings to fit for the finger picking ?
-j- I use a thick one, not as thick as disturbing my playing. That's also the reason why I tune down a half note like Jimi Hendrix did. Formerly I used a set with .048 6th string, now I use .052. I drop the 6th strings to lower D to play some songs. In the show, however, I don't exchange my guitar, I drop only the 6th strings. I don't like to exchange many guitars.
-i- Do you have a chance to turn back to the old picking style ?
-j- Only when the blood drips from my finger (laugh). But soon I turn back to the Merle Travis style.
-i- Then you are careful to your right hand ?
-j- No, I don't care it at all. I get hurt while I use a woodworking tool, and one time, I grabbed a steel that was burning red (laugh). If I care too much, I'd get hurt, so I'm trying not to care.
-i- I once heard that you have been training your guitar playing skills still now. What kind
of training do you try usually ?
-j- In England, the weather is always bad, so we got nothing to do. TV is not interesting, so I play to train smooth touches and chord changing, while I watch some DVDs. It's hard to explain because I don't care much about what I'm doing. I usually keep on playing till my partner tells me "Stop doing what you're doing !" (laugh)
-i- It's a big surprise that a man like you keep on training.
-j- Why ? Once Django Reinhardt said, "If I stopped training a day, I feel myself that I became unskillful. If I stopped two days, my friend feel it. And if I stopped more, the world will feel it." I think the same way, so there is no day without a practice. And it's a secret plan to concentrate on training that you shouldn't practice when you are in negative moods.
-i- The reason why you are still in progression might be that, though you are working in this
business for more than 40 years. I want to hear about a possibility of the evolution of
your guitar playing.
-j- I might go back to the sounds that's more organic, the guitar music once had. Tricked sounds obviously have no future. I almost don't know nothing about the guitar, so it's worth to challenge.
-i- By the way, in these years, you have been making your sounds with ProTools. What do you
care most when you record your guitar sounds to ProTools ?
-j- It's what guitarists never should do that you edit them too much and you can't re-play yourself. You must not make it possible with ProTools more than what you can do yourself. But I respect David Torn's technique to change the guitar sounds to unidentified tone. ProTools has good side and bad side. In popular music, a man without rhythm senses uses Protools to fill it. But when a man like David Torn uses it, then appears a world of sounds that you never heard. That's what we could not imagine in 50's or 60's.
-i- Do you use ProTools when you compose or make demos at your home ?
-j- I used ProTools on the stage in a techno style tune, during the tour with B.B. King last year. Now the system I used is in my house, so I'm thinking of using it. I still haven't use it, but the setup is already done. I have a small demo studio in my house 10 years. I think I want to bring analog equipments in, like Studer and Ampex. I think I can make more pure and ambient sounds with those equipments and microphone than to use amp-simulators. You can see that the Motown's drums sounds are better than that of these era, it's the same thing. Of course, you can find a wonderful tune in the techno music, but I don't like the sounds of pop-music that I can't help feeling "artificial".
-i- Do you instruct the engineer on microphone when you record your guitar in the studios ?
-j- No. I leave everything to the engineer. They know how to do better than I do. During the recordings of "Jeff", we used Shure SM57, it was just hanging in front of the speaker, even without a stand. And to get the room-sound, we used Neumann as overhead. It's a vocal microphone, but it's high quality, I like it. The feelings of the air is necessary for my guitar sounds. To let a guitar sounds like a guitar, the moves of the air is necessary. Therefore, it cannot be done with only an on-microphone.
-i- When you came to Japan, previously, you showed us your tech, making melodies by hitting
the strings with the metal slide-bar. Are you still always trying to invent another new
-j- I'm looking for another tech everyday. Recently I'm trying to establish "Slap Chords", not a slap bass. Forming the chord with the left fingers, keeping the right middle finger straight, then curves it and hit the strings. If I was lucky, I could get a fierce overtone. It's a very cool sound, like a compressor filtered Fender Rhodes. If you add the reverb on it, You can tell that it's a guitar sound. I'm, now, trying to make it mine, so that I can always do it when I try (laugh). I'm not going to use it a lot on the stage, but when I do it, you can recognize "Wow, this is it !".
-i- 2 years ago, when Char visited England for a recording, you jammed with him in your house,
-j- Yeah. I know him well. He came to my house with Jim Coply. We could not spend much time to jam, I was listning to him playing. It was just a jam, not a serious session, so we made no recordings. But we had a lot of funs. Char is a good guitarist.
-i- Do you have any plan to make a new album following "Jeff" ?
-j- Yes. I want to make an album with a certain man. Now I'm waiting for him to make a time for me. I can release it around the Christmas at the earliest, around February at the latest.
-i- Is its style an extension of "Who Else !", "You Had It Coming" and "Jeff" ?
-j- No. It's kind of what you never heard of. I have already completed one composition. Also completed one demo. I like it very much. I don't make it a rule to be secretive, but if I would tell you more about it, you cannot be surprised when you listened to it. So I will tell you anymore. It's over (laugh).
The following is a newspaper article from Japan during the summer of 2005.
"Yomiuri Shimbum July 8, 2005".
A big guitarist Jeff Beck now on tour in Japan. He look back his 40 years music career-- "I want to do the show that looking back my 40 years music career, because my remastered albums are released now".
Jeff touring Japan now, he performs 10 shows in 6 cities. After 1970's he playing instrumental tunes but vocalist Jimmy Hall join in this tour. He played vocal songs which wrote in late 60's and performed hard rock music and R&B tunes. "I am reflecting its musical concern in the performance. I am not always in the charts and not always have a popularity. I am always at a moderate position. I am lucky because I am able to do my thing".
He joined the Yardbirds in 1965. He formed Jeff Beck Group in late 60's and developed his solo career. Blow By Blow is his masterpiece. He is not active in 90's but after released Who Else ? in 1999 he active energetically. He have a plan of his new album. "The new album will be a fusion of Classic music and rock music. I already made the demo of Mahler:Symphony No.5 which arranged it for the guitar. I really like it".
(Ed. note....the "Adagietto' from he symphony leaked out for a short time on a nameless famous musicians website and a few collectors thus (DON'T ASK) treasure this rarity.)
With Jeff Beck giving Jimmy Hall the uncrowned title of world's greatest white rock singer in the previously mentioned Japenese interviews, we decided to ring Jimmy up at his Tennessee home for a chat.
Obviously the first thing asked of Jimmy was if he was doing Jeff's forthcoming Tempe Music Festival gig. He replied that he hadn't heard a thing from Jeff since he got a Christmas card. So we backtracked to last summer and his impressions of the highly successful Japenese tour. "He (Jeff) was playing great. Even towards the end when he was focused on the wedding. I couldn't make the wedding because of other commitments." Jimmy did offer an interesting wedding arrangement that didn't happen. " Jeff and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) are tight. Jeff was talking to Billy trying to get him to do (play at)the ceremony but Billy couldn't fit it in his schedule." Then I told Jimmy about Jennifer showing me three minutes of the reception jam and Jimmy exclaimed, " Jennifer was great to have on those Japan gigs. She was like an old friend to have around. Jeff likes to talk to her about old times. It was fun." Always being curious to know what Jeff is playing behind the scenes I asked Jimmy about the pre tour rehearsals. " We were going to do one of my tunes "You Put The Hurt On Me". Jeff had heard it through Steve Barney who played him an acoustical version of it but in the end Jeff said he needed some more up tempo material." I brought up "Love Will", the Jimmy Hall tune from the Flash Tour to which Jimmy chuckled. "Japenese fans know everything. They would come up to me and say " Mr. Hall, Mr. Hall, when you gonna play "Love Will?"
Another rehearsal song originally to have been the encore as it was on the previous year's birthday UK gigs was "Cissy Strut." "I could have played my tenor sax on Cissy Strut, Jimmy said. However I left it at home. I remember playing it a little bit on "Love Will." The final encore turned out to be "Somewhere Over The Rainbow to which Jimmy recalled that it was just something Jason had suggested to Jeff before Jimmy got to the rehearsals. Finaaly the band also rehearsed the Sly And The Family Stone classic "I Want To Take You Higher." Also let slip was the suggestion that Jeff had some time ago recorded a version of the tune. Regarding his fantastic harp playing on the tour Jimmy remarked, " Jeff likes me to play harp. It was lot's of fun on Goin Down." Just to illustrate the ol' showbiz saying "The show must go on," Jimmy offered, " I got a little hoarse on one of the nights. I told Jeff "I don't know if I can do People Get Ready. I just can't do it. " Jeff's response was "Jimmy You GOT to do it" "Afterwards Jeff told me, "See I told you it would be alright." As much fun as Jimmy had on the tour it was just as fun to talk to him again. Always we appreciate your perspective Jimmy. Keep on wailing. Be seeing you.
A Talk With John McMurtrie And His Jeff Beck Promo Pics
which we understand will soon have some more Jeff Beck photos!
How did the shoot come about? I have shot Toni Iommi quite a few times lately and Toni's manager also manages Jeff - he reccomended me to Fender guitars and they commissioned me to do the shoot of Jeff. Had you shot Jeff before? I had never shot Jeff before but I am a great admirer of him! How did that particular hot rod get to be chosen for the shoot? The hot rod we used for the shoot was the funkiest one to hand - he has lots - in my mind they all look great but that was the one Jeff wanted to use. Did Jeff select a Strat to pose with or were several provided to pick from? Fender was happy for Jeff to pose with whatever Strat he wanted - I think Jeff chose the off-white and I prefered that one as it stood out well. Jeff is known for his sense of humour. Did it pervade the photo shoot or was it more of a businesslike affair? The whole shoot was a pleasure from start to finish. It was very laid back even though it was a bitterly cold day. In total the whole shoot lasted 6 hours and all the way through Jeff was happy to pose and was very patient. I also play guitar so we chatted guitar a lot - he gave me some good advise about pick-up selector switches on the Telecaster. What are your impressions of Jeff as a subject and a guitarist? He is a totally genuine great guy - I enjoyed his company and look forward to having a pint with him soon. Give us a sense in what you were trying to bring out in Jeff that strikes maybe a similar thread in some of your other celebrity guitarist photos. I just wanted him to look like the true icon that he is! I am not totally convinced the shot used was the best from the shoot but it does comunicate a bit of his character. I wanted him to look very relaxed but his surroundings were hard and alive!
I've got a little story to tell you about Jeff Beck. The year 2000, I think? My brother and I are in a band called Boo-Yaa T.r.i.b.e. we were playing the The Marquee Club (Wardour St., London). The owner liked us a lot, especially my brother's guitar playing, so he told us to come in the next evening, he wouldn't tell us why. So the next night we came in, we said, "So what's up", he said, "Just sit, have a drink you will see". Well two guitarists came in that night to jam together just for the fun of it. Jeff Beck, and the guy who admits that Jeff Beck is his idol, a guitarist that I played drums for at one time, and who also was my brother's favorite guitarist for a long time, Gary Moore. Jeff and Gary were jamming together on that stage, and then the owner of the club arranged for my brother to jam with Jeff and Gary. Dude, it was the best. I think he felt the same as when I got to jam with Iron Maiden, they were one of my favorite bands, and we opened up some shows for them. That was a highlight, and of course playing for Gary Moore was fun, except for his attitude. I would have to ask my brother if he remembers the exact date, I believe it was either in 2000 or 2001, in the winter. I remember that we were touring Europe. It was just for one song, but the night was really for Gary and Jeff. The owner of the club really liked the way my brother played, my brother Jeff Marcus is a guitarist, I am a drummer. My brother is a very very good guitarist, he is also in a band called Legs Diamond. I remember that he was good enough that they were trading licks, my brother who is really into both, but especially Gary Moore. My brother was doing some of his riffs to him, and tried to do a little Jeff Beck riffing as well, but Beck is tougher you know. He has that Hendrix type of bending of the strings, that only he knows how to do. I saw Jeff Beck about 2 or 3 years ago at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles with Terry Bozzio-the greatest drummer in the world, and Tony Hyams. This was the best I ever saw Jeff Beck play ever. Tomorrow morning I am going online to buy tickets to his show here in Los Angeles at the House of Blues. BillThanks Bill, good story.
In the picture you see from left to right; Jeff Beck, Ringo Starr, Jan Hammer And David Gilmour. This photo was brought to our attention by a workmate of Bill's who is a Jan Hammer fan and to tell the truth we were unaware of it. The guys are obviously in a TV studio and www.jan-hammer.net explains the four were there to record a music video of Jan's 1989 release of his version "Too Much To Lose" off of the "Snapshots" album.
Being curious as we apt to be, we started asking around about the shoot and the video and recieved this nice reply from Jan's manager Elliott Sears.
The video shoot was on March 3, 1989 in London. The way the "band" came about was a result of Jan playing all of the instruments on the track. When MCA wanted to do a video shoot they were going to hire either actors or some unknown London musicians for the performance shots. I wasn't thrilled about the idea and thought that a band filled with "superstars" would be pretty cool. My first call was Jeff as he knew the tune and would most likely be a sport about it. I then tried to get John Entwistle or Bill Wyman for bass but they weren't around. I then tried David because Jan had just done a TV show with him - he was more than happy to do it. With that line up I figured why not a Beatle, so I called Ringo who was just a sweetheart. They played to Jan's original album track so there were no amps or cords. It took a few hours then Jan, Jeff and I went and had Indian food, Gilmour drove off in his Ferrari and Ringo was carted off in an MCA provided RR.
Now we just have to get a copy of this!! Release the hounds! Be seeing you.
Beck's Bolero Stratus You'll Never Know Cause We've Ended As Lovers You Shook Me (w/Beth Hart) Morning Dew Behind The Veil Two Rivers Star Cycle Big Block Nadia Angel/Footsteps Ain't Superstitious People Get Ready Scatterbrain Led Boots Goodbye Pork Pie Hat Brush With The Blues (1st Encore) Goin' Down (2nd Encore) Somewhere Over The RainbowHere's a nice review from the Hollywood Reporter....
Club setting energizes Jeff Beck's showmanship Thu Apr 6, 2006 7:23 PM ET By Erik Pedersen LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The most avid Jeff Beck fans will tell you they go to his concerts to hear him play rather than to watch. That makes sense, because he mostly shrugs at being a commanding showman, preferring to let his guitar do the interacting. But plunked into a club setting Wednesday at the House of Blues, Beck seemed energized by the tight quarters and his tight band. He peppered his playing with tricks and tossed in some honest-to-guitar- God antics, apparently enjoying himself as much as the colorful crowd enjoyed him. And if he has lost a step at 61, it wasn't obvious this night. Playing the fourth of six dates on a weeklong tour of the Southwest, Beck sauntered onstage, powdered up his hands and went straight to work. Using his 1968 classic "Beck's Bolero" as a warmup, he pinballed across his 40-year career, visiting every square inch of the guitar, mercilessly deploying the whammy bar and occasionally throwing both fists in the air as he let a note hang. Before long, heads were shaking throughout the hall -- either moving in time to the music or simply wordlessly saying "wow." Probably both. The biggest curveball, as far as Beck gigs go, was a guest vocalist: L.A.-based blues rocker Beth Hart, who shared the stage for about a half-dozen numbers. She strode onstage belting "You Shook Me" and immediately made some aggressive-suggestive moves on Beck. He backed away, but she kept coming at him, like some seductress with an agenda. Hart has an uninhibited charm and fiery, throaty vocal style, but her hair-tossing histrionics sometimes came just a rung or two from going over the top. Still, Beck appeared relieved to have someone else take the spotlight, and their back-and-forth was a pleasing sideshow -- especially during the encore of "Going Down," when Hart hit her knees to belt out the familiar chorus. Beck's versatility -- and his iconoclasm -- were most apparent midway through the 90-minute set during a four-song run. "Behind the Veil" was a foray into island riddim, complete with some goofy guitar trickery that charged the crowd. "Two Rivers" was laid-back melancholia, and "Star Cycle" had a prog-meets-'80s sound fueled by keyboardist Jason Rebello, who took advantage of his times in the spotlight. Rebello then rested for much of "Big Block," allowing for a satisfying power trio rock workout. All the while, hard-working Vinnie Colaiuta provided booming, sloppy-sure drums, seemingly following orders to fill at will. After four decades, Beck still has the ability to thrill. While unfailing technique is second nature to him, it was a pleasure to see Beck give just a bit extra on the showmanship side. The result was one of those nights that even a veteran concertgoer brags about seeing the next day. And the next. Reuters/Hollywood ReporterBeth Hart....if you're not familiar with her check out; www.bethhart.com.
Here are some pics we've gotten too...
Here's another review from San Diego.....
By George Varga UNION-TRIBUNE POP MUSIC CRITIC April 8, 2006 Jeff Beck has an orchestra in his fingertips, as he demonstrated throughout his frequently spellbinding concert Thursday night at 4th & B. Like few others, this legendary English virtuoso achieves exceptional depth and dimension in his playing. Eloquent and electrifying, he makes his guitar sigh, moan, laugh, soar, dive, ring, squeal, shimmy and shake, but always in service of the song at hand (and almost always using only his fingers, rather than a pick). More impressive, he retains a singular level of musicality that doesn't sacrifice artistry for visceral impact, or subtlety for primal force, even though his music has plenty of power to spare. And he produces such a dazzling array of tonal colors and emotional shadings that he “sings” like a master, without ever opening his mouth. Beck is also that rare performer who can play with intensity and taste at the same time. This made his 91-minute set here an almost unqualified delight. His first San Diego club date in memory (and his first area appearance since a 1999 SDSU Open Air Theatre gig), the sold-out show found this youthful 61-year-old looking back at length at his storied past, something he had not done prior to his tour of Japan last year. The resulting musical retrospective touched upon many, though not all, phases of a career that first ignited when Beck replaced Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds in 1965. His repertoire Thursday didn't stretch back quite that far, although he did open with “Beck's Bolero,” the B-side of his first solo single from early 1967. The selections that followed covered a nearly 40-year span yet complimented each other well. Highlights included charged renditions of such Beck favorites as “Led Boots” and “Blue Wind”; the proto-blues-metal of “You Shook Me”; a blazing version of the Billy Cobham fusion-jazz classic, “Stratus”; and the sublime balladry of Nitin Sawhey's “Nadia” and Curtis Mayfield's gospel-fueled “People Get Ready.” “People” was one of five selections that featured Beth Hart, the first female vocalist in any of Beck's many touring bands (San Diego guitar great Jennifer Batten worked with him in the late 1990s and beyond). While Hart sang with unmistakable enthusiasm, she tended to over-emote almost every lyric, belting line after line with no sense of the nuance her employer so adroitly brought to each number. On “Morning Dew,” she gamely tried to emulate the young Rod Stewart, while “Going Down” found her referencing early-'70s Beck band singer Bobby Tench. Hart never rose above overwrought mimicry, although Beck clearly enjoyed her energetic delivery and gyrating stage moves. Far better were bassist Pino Palladino (The Who, John Mayer) and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell), whose rock-solid grooves and improvisational savvy rank them as one of the best rhythm sections Beck has had. Keyboardist Jason Rebello (like Colaiuta, a veteran of Sting's backing group) is a skilled ensemble player, but his solos didn't ignite like Beck's. Then again, no keyboardist has been able to really hold his own on stage with the guitarist since synthesizer wiz Jan Hammer in the mid-1970s. Beck used a bottleneck on some songs, even playing it upside down during the rhapsodic “Angels (Footsteps).” His solos, all gems of emotion and technical ingenuity, showcased his pinpoint accuracy and masterful use of space and silence to build dynamic tension. He also showed just how fresh the blues can sound when performed with skill and daring. And his playfulness extended to the fan who jokingly thumbed his nose at the guitarist. Beck responded by holding up his middle finger. “I didn't mean that,” he told his adoring audience a moment later, but the impish grin on his face left no doubt that he did.From Jerry Joiner....Palm Desert.
Just got back from Palm Desert-- Jeff and band were on fire this time. I had 2nd row center about 5 feet directly in front of the master. Same set as in Tempe, AZ. Jeff was in a very playful mood as soon as he hit the stage. The band was hitting on all cylinder's this time. Keyboard player could sound like Hamner at will to the obvious delight of Jeff. From the moment he hit the stage to the moment he left it- Make no mistake about it- Mr Beck was on fire last night. I love taking people to see him that have never seen him. I took my 19 year old son with me and his mother and I are still trying to get his jaw back to normal position-lol. After the show he looked at me and said, "There is no reason for anyone to pick up a guitar while this man is alive". I agree with him whole heartily. It warmed my heart to see the love the crowd was showing to Jeff and as usual he was embarrassed by the adoration and pleaded with us to stop. One minute he has you jumping up and shaking your ass the next he has you sitting down with a lump in your throat as he soars with his incredible notes. He had incredible sustain with his notes last night and held them longer than usual. He controlled the crowd at will. I still miss Bozzio- No offense Vinnie-lol- If you have never seen Beth sing- You have not lived yet. This woman is the most incredible vocalist I have seen-AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!!!! I generally do not like any vocals at all with Jeff,But an old dog can learn new tricks after all- She has my permission to sing with him any time she wants!!! They did you shook me and she was spanking his guitar to all our delight and belted it out like no other. If you believe in re-incarnation look no further for Janis Joplin as she has taken up residency in Beth. What a magical night!!! Jeff from my family and I we love you and may you soar for ever. P.S Jimmy Hall was present backstage.
From Jacob Samuel........Palm Desert.
Ok......writing a concert review is a stretch for me but here's a few thoughts. First off, the McCallum Theatre was the perfect venue. a small 1000 seat hall with excellent acoustics. We had great seats- first row center of the founders gallery, which is sort of like a luxury box level. The set list was the same as mentioned in the Tempe review......... Now to the meat: Jeff was flawless. Every note was absolutely compelling. Opening w/Bolero set the tone. It was a classic set. Very little from the techno-trilogy (and I loved the tours with Jennifer B.), though closing with Brush w/the Blues was EPIC. This was different, a one week tour of Classic Beck. The band was stellar. Jason Robello is a monster. His extended solo on Scatterbrain was way deep. Pino's lines were very tight, as always. Vinnie is not a power drummer but very solid and jazzy and I thought his playing was entirely appropriate. I have seen the Guitar Shop trio at the Greek Theatre twice and the most recent time on the BB King tour I thought the sound was muddy and what I liked about this show was how crisp the instrumentation was. It is an absolute privilage to be able to hear Jeff live. The musical and emotional complexity of his playing is riveting; the clouds part when he plays The way he frames each note and run, the ecstatic ringing joy projected in the most straight up no-bullshit manner. His rendition of So We've Ended as Lovers was so brilliant that it brought tears to my eyes. The only flaw was w/the singer. Her volume was too low so she couldn't really be heard.....but hey, I came to hear the man play his guitar so it didn't really matter to me.
Some pics from Karen Thompto....Tempe.
From Karen Thompto....Tempe, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles.
In sunny Tempe 8 members of message board Jeff Beck's True Fans gathered with a few thousand concert goers. Jeff headlined the two day event named the Tempe Music Festival. He was much anticipated, even by Eric Johnson who preceded him. We were fortunate to hear part of the sound check as we circled to park, we were treated to the sound of Two Rivers which we immediately pulled over to the side of the road and listened to. Also heard were Going Down and the intro to Scatterbrain. This concert was a celebration of Fender's 60th year anniversary. Seymour Duncan was present winding his famous pickups, and greeting those who came to see the show. The setlist was much like the concerts in Japan. The outdoor venue was warm and the bass monitors were placed a little low in relation to the audience, but Mr. Beck riveted us right from the beginning with Beck's Bolero and some of his early music. Beth Hart bounced onto the stage, gyrating and stroking Jeff's guitar during "You Shook Me". She performed, Morning Dew, People Get Ready, I Ain't Superstitious. She was an excellent edition to the performance, and many likened her to the second coming of Janis Joplin. She truly breathed new life into these songs and was quite visual. Tempe was wonderful, but, was a warm-up for the next five shows. Before the last tune, which was Over the Rainbow, Jeff announced that he would be performing a "Judy Garland tune"...and that he did!
Two days later...3 of us were in House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. The excitement level was extremely high among those lined up to get in. Jeff, Pino, Vinnie, Jason and Beth did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, after they were done, there were numerous ear-gasamed people walking about in a cloud saying........oh my God, that was the best performance they had seen him do, ever! They did a truly masterful version of Scatterbrain that was quite lengthy. Pino and Jeff were trading bass lines for leads.....it was absolutely stunning! All the band members were smiling as if their faces were about to burst. The audience was spellbound. Beth did the guitar stroking once again during You Shook me, and Jeff just pushed her away! It was so comical.....she's one very sexy gal and she's not shy! There were many "deer in the headlight" folk who came out of the club and into the casino. We had to retire to our room and replay the show in our memory.......it was that spectacular!
Two more days later, Jeff and company appear in San Fransisco and the next in Los Angeles. Both shows were equal in intensity. Out of all the performances we saw we were in awe of the Las Vegas show.
Bill and Dick, we wish you could have been along for the ride. It was a lot of fun....one of these days we hope to be seeing you both. Karen Thompto and Terry Johnson
More pics from Karen Thompto.....Tempe.
Here are even some more from Tempe....thanks to David Merricks.
This link takes you to some stunning photos from The Warfield, San Francisco.
Either way, the disappearance of the solo from most contemporary rock music has turned this six-string flamethrower into a flame-keeper. Beck, who performs on Thursday at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, isn't consciously campaigning for the guitar solo's revival. He's just carrying the torch by example. A British Invasion original, he continues to play guitar-centered music -- instrumental rock, jazz-rock fusion and, more recently, tracks underlined by computer-generated rhythms.
In a telephone interview Beck, 62, said he "still struggles" to write songs that don't use the human voice. "My problem is finding concise pieces in a rock 'n' roll context that won't bore the pants off of people," he said.
He has many such pieces to his credit, from the royal rumble of Beck's Bolero (1968) to the industrial crunch of Earthquake (2001). In between are quintessential Beck numbers: Definitely Maybe (1972), with its crying slide guitar; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (1976), a song jazz musician Charles Mingus wrote as a tribute to fellow musician Lester Young; Star Cycle (1980) a cosmic face-off between guitar and synth; and Behind the Veil (1989), a dubby dip in reggae waters.
All these and more are likely to turn up in one of Beck's career-spanning live sets. But he's also giving himself a bit of a break from the all-instrumental discipline. The Beck quintet includes a singer, Beth Hart, who steps up for a handful of songs.
Beck has plenty of history with vocalists, first as a member of the Yardbirds, a formative British rock band that also counted fellow guitar deities Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page as members. The Yardbirds including Beck and Page appear briefly in a nightclub scene in Blowup, the 1966 mod-London murder mystery. Beck's most famous Yardbirds moment might be Shapes of Things (1966), a save-the-world song with impeccable manners, considering the subject, until Beck splits it in half with a chaotic, spiraling feedback solo.
He went on to collaborate with singer Rod Stewart, reprising Shapes of Things two years after the original, doing impossibly deep wah-wah bends on the subterranean blues of I Ain't Superstitious (1968) and playing shivering, soulful notes on their cover of People Get Ready (1985).
But Beck hadn't toured North America with a lead vocalist since the mid-'80s, a spell that ended when Hart joined him for a handful of West Coast dates earlier this year. Beck discovered Hart in Europe and compares her to '60s blues-rock belter Janis Joplin, only "a lot more raucous" and with "a lot more thickness and control in the voice."
He also sounds grateful for the addition. Hart is, according to Beck, a "wild child" who established herself with occasionally "lewd" onstage antics during the West Coast shows -- not all of which went over. "There were some rough reviews in L.A.," Beck said. But with a singer drawing audience attention away from him, "I feel a little freer," he said.
The 20-city tour that begins on Wednesday in Tampa doesn't coincide with a new album. The last release of new Beck material was 2003's Jeff, on Epic Records. He is touring, as he's often done over the years, because he feels like it. Rounding out the band are Randy Hope-Taylor on bass, Jason Rebello on keyboards and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums -- players who can keep up with the Beck battery of complex melodies, time-signature jumps and improvised leaps.
Beck is not alone in his devotion to the elements of lead guitar -- tone, phrasing and articulation. He says that in England nowadays he's hearing a lot of world music, especially from Africa, with "yards and yards of great rhythmic playing ... and articulate guitar playing." A few American rock bands -- including Audioslave and Atreyu -- feature intricate, involved solos of the kind that used to keep amateur players practicing for hours.
But in today's universe of laptop recording studios pre-loaded with every conceivable sound, interest may be flowing away from mastery of the instrument and toward mastery of the software. Beck himself has made what he calls "bedroom techno," with his three most recent albums inspired in part by the work of the Chemical Brothers, Amon Tobin and other luminaries of electronic music.
"They got some of the most astonishingly powerful sounds. I wanted to pirate some of that and put it in a guitar-bass-and-drums context," he said. But he added that a lot of the computer-assisted pop he hears leaves him cold: "The music is becoming forged and phony to me."
He hasn't made an album in three years and has no immediate plans to do so. He said his mind tends to drift, and drifting was OK when he was allowed to make albums in a gradual way -- working out songs on the road and later finishing them up in the studio when the time felt right.
The economics of the music business no longer permit that kind of leisure, he said, and making albums has become a more taxing, all-at-once process.
But he said that once he starts, his record company, Epic, is "respectful enough to leave me alone" until it's finished. He also finds it remarkable that a big label such as Epic -- a subsidiary of media giant Sony BMG -- retains him. As he put it, "How can you sell the stuff that I put out?"
He might have another project in the works -- but he's not sure. It began with a recent phone call from Sir George Martin, the Beatles' legendary studio guide and producer of Beck's 1975 album Blow by Blow. Beck said Martin asked him to conduct a piece of music with 16 string players for a one-off public performance that Martin had in mind. Beck had never worked with a string section before, and said the rehearsal was "a train wreck." The project -- or his part in it, at least -- is in limbo. Told that Clapton once got bad reviews for touring with a string section, Beck said, "I'm so glad to hear that."
"On the road we're gonna have little portable studios and we're going to be writing, hopefully," said Beck, who begins the 20-date tour on September 6 in Tampa, Fla. "That's a good place to do it because you've got hours and hours on the bus where you're a prisoner. You may as well make use of that. With all the laptops and ProTools devices, you can make fantastic demos quite easily now."
"I've got ideas aplenty, and I want to do it with the band so I don't just present them with a finished demo," he added. "They get artistic input."
Beck said this version of his band -- a five-piece with a vocalist (Beth Hart) for the first time in nearly 20 years -- is having a marked impact on the way he's approaching the album, which will be his first studio set since 2003's "Jeff."
And for the first time since the mid-'70s, when he began experimenting with mostly instrumental jazz fusion and electronica, Beck expects to pursue a more straightforward, rock-oriented direction.
"I'm not worrying about having to be too hip-hop or techno," he explained. "I've always believed; three pieces is adequate -- bass, drums, guitar and keyboard for doing the more melodic stuff." Beck said he'll first hunker down with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta to begin building the new songs.
"He's gonna play the way he plays," Beck said. "Just endless, funky grooves, endless kinds of inventive fills, and I'm gonna take the material away that we do and then work on it. So it'll be guitar- and drums-driven. I think that's the best way to go for me."drums-driven. I think that's the best way to go for me."
True, all remnants of the storm will be long gone by then. But Beck still has the jitters about performing in Florida during hurricane season, compounded by the fact that he'll have to fly across the Atlantic so soon after British intelligence foiled a terrorist attack.
His only hope is that if terrorists do target his plane, his death is quick. He can't swim, the result of a childhood trauma suffered when he was 6.
"I was thrown in some swimming pool, and they held me under for like, five minutes," Beck said in a phone interview from his home in southeast England. "We arrived at the pool, and the elder kids were just leaving, and they just had their fun with us. So that will put you off."
Even if he does make it to American soil, there's the matter of his hearing, which, like that of many of his peers, has suffered permanent damage from all those years of playing full blast in front of stacks of amplifiers.
"Imagine something on the inside of your eardrum that doesn't change in pitch for the rest of the time you're alive," Beck said. "It's like someone injecting air through a small tube, a high-pitched escape of air. When you start listening to it, you can hear all the other frequencies and other noises, and it can be very perplexing ... the head's a noisy place if you listen to it."
Beck laughs at this, as he does most things, and perhaps it's his tendency to see humor in frightening situations that will encourage him to board that flight.
"I just can't wait to get started, because when we have one day off, I get rusty," he said. "You know, when you play every day, you just burn ... and that can only happen with constant playing. One or two days off is a disaster, because you lose the momentum. And we've been off one-and-a-half, two months! (Laughs.) I need to get back pretty quick."
Blow by blow
If you're one of those people who confuse Jeff Beck with the guy who sings "Loser," here's a little history lesson:
Jeff Beck is considered one of the most influential guitarists in rock 'n' roll. After replacing Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds in 1965, he ushered in a hard-rock/psychedelic sound that presaged heavy metal, and his experimentation with fuzz tones, bending notes and feedback influenced everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Jimmy Page.
When The Yardbirds kicked him out (more on that later), Beck formed The Jeff Beck Group, anchored by Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on guitar. That lineup recorded two classic albums before Stewart and Wood left to join The Faces in 1969. Beck carried on with a new JBG for a few years before eschewing the group format in favor of solo albums and concerts that showcased his penchant for jazz fusion and, more recently, techno.
That choice has probably prevented Beck from enjoying the superstar status of peers such as Clapton and Page. Although several of his solo albums have hit the top 40, his material has been far from radio-friendly (save for a 1985 cover of The Impressions' "People Get Ready" with Stewart on vocals).
For 30 years, he was content with this, of being akin to a god to guitar players and a relative unknown to others, as he continued to experiment with new sounds and pursue his other love, restoring old cars.
Then, in 2002, he was invited to perform a two-hour show at London Festival Hall. He decided to invite some friends (including Roger Waters, Imogen Heap and The White Stripes), and make the show a career retrospective.
"Unfortunately, a thing like that can't be viable for the road, what with the availability (of the other artists), the cost and everything," he said. "But a mini-version of that is what we do at the moment."
Thus, for many fans, the current tour will be the first time in three decades they will be able to hear Beck backed by a full band, vocals and all, performing everything from Yardbirds material to tracks from his last album, 2003's "Jeff."
Joining him will be Beth Hart on vocals, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jason Rebello on keyboards and Randy Hope-Taylor on bass. Hope-Taylor replaces Pino Palladino, who was recently swiped from Beck's band by The Who.
Said Beck: "Roger (Daltrey) lives about 5 miles away. I was going to fix him up so he couldn't sing."
There and back
If the idea of a woman singing songs made famous by Keith Relf and Rod Stewart sounds strange, Beck promises it won't be. In fact, he says, Hart does Rod Stewart better than Stewart does himself.
"I heard her voice on one of her CDs, and then I saw a performance in Holland that she gave, which was amazing," he said. "She was covering some of our early stuff, and I mean, people's heads spun around."
As for Stewart himself, don't look for a reunion of the classic Jeff Beck Group anytime soon. Beck doesn't appear to think much of Stewart's "American Songbook" CDs of pop standards ("That's what pays the rent, I guess"), and truth be told, he doesn't think Rod the Mod could handle the demands of the JBG material.
"I don't think that will ever work," he said. "He doesn't sound the same, for starts. The thing about those early records is the raucousness of his voice. There's a pained kind of uniqueness about it, albeit there's some dodgy intonation. (Laughs.) But the rawness is not there; it's all smooth now, and it's folly to try to recapture that, which may be why he's stayed away from that."
Beck probably won't be doing many Yardbirds songs on tour, either. Although many stories have circulated about why he and the band parted ways, he says he was sidelined by illness, but the others didn't believe he was sick -- so he got sacked.
Beck got his revenge when The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. During his acceptance speech, he said, "The Yardbirds kicked me out! They did! (Expletive) them!"
"It was tongue-in-cheek, I can assure you," he recalled with a laugh. "But I don't think they were ready ... for the blatant sort of truth that would come out."
Beck plans on recording a new rock-blues album while on the road and wants to release a live CD from the tour. A film biography or career-retrospective documentary may soon be in the works as well. But first, he has to get through this tour "in one piece."
"I don't stop," Beck said. "I put the same amount of effort into it as I did when I was 16, runnin' around like an idiot."
The Stewart-Beck relationship was neatly summed up in January 1994 when Stewart was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Beck said, "He loves me, and I hate him."
Stewart will release a new album called Still The Same... Great Rock Classics Of Our Time on October 10th, with cover versions of songs by Elvin Bishop, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Bob Dylan, among others.
Beck kicks off a U.S. tour on September 6th in Clearwater, Florida
In between Beck showed why he's called a guitar virtuoso, giving mere mortal players in the crowd reason to either hang it up or go shoot themselves. Beck's command of the fret board, his risky use of feedback to the brink of distortion, have been his trademark since he turned from his early-blues rock roots to the jazz-infused "Blow By Blow" in 1975.
When Beck began the album's mournful "Cause We've Ended As Lovers," an instrumental as full of anguish as anything Eric Clapton can give out in "Layla," people cheered and gave Beck a standing ovation at the end.
The sold-out crowd sat open-mouthed through Beck's guitar pyrotechnics on "Behind the Veil," "Two Rivers," "Star Cycle" and others spanning his 40-year career, but saved its biggest applause for when vocalist Beth Hart joined Beck on stage.
Hart's gritty, Janis Joplin like vocals were more than a match for former vocalist Rod Stewart on "Truth" classics "You Shook Me," and "Morning Dew." Hart's voice soared, Beck matched the top note. When Hart closed in to a grinning Beck, slamming the strings of his Stratocaster in large strokes, it was a moment of, well, pure rock n' roll.
During the encore, Hart returned for a blistering version of "Going Down" from 1972s Jeff Beck Group.
But it was for her return to the stage for "I Ain't Superstitious" that the crowd went wild.
Beck's popularity has never been pop hits, but "I Ain't Superstitious" still gets airplay on FM radio. It's another from 1968's "Truth," Beck's first post Yardbird's album, featuring Rod Stewart's raw vocals, Ron Wood on bass and Mick Waller on drums. It starts with a riveting four-note statement on the guitar to sit up and take notice, followed by two hard wallops of a drum, launching Stewart into his raspiest best. Then the whole thing starts coming apart like the grinding metal of the Titanic going down, being pulled back by the drums but sliding unstoppable into the bluesy hard rock sound that foretold of heavy metal to come.
This "Superstitious" lacked that early, garage-band quality, and if I have one complaint about Wednesday's concert it's that while Beck's stylized playing reaches moments of a sheer, hang-on for your lives rush -- the phenomenal "Scatterbrain" for example -- never did I fear this train would leave the track.
The crowd was there to witness Beck's mastery of the guitar, backed up by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta; Pino Palladino on bass; and Jason Rebello on keyboard. Colaiuta, Frank Zappa's former drummer, particularly shined, threatening to overtake the virtuoso if he didn't look out. Beck, at 62, is still on top of his game.
Susan Morse is the Seabrook reporter for the Hampton Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
The popular knowledge that Beck hardly embodies the careerist bent of his aforementioned British peers-he has eschewed the middle-of-the-road commercialism of Clapton as well as the cock-rock caricaturing of Page-isn’t to say variations on those styles didn’t appear during the course of his sold-out two-hour set. It’s only that, in keeping with his idiosyncratic nature, this English hot-rod fan prefers to conceive and execute his music on his own terms.
And that may in fact be the source of the animated stage presence Beck displayed throughout the evening. Such drinks-and-dinner theatre as the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom’s doesn’t always lend itself to absorbing the music as it’s happening-with the constant stream of pedestrians, many of who are completely ignorant of how they’re interrupting the serious music lovers in the audience-but it makes it nigh on impossible to be patient knowing you’re guaranteed to miss an astounding lick or dramatic sweep of the guitar when Jeff is on stage these days.
He radiates a lighthearted confidence in what he’s doing that comes from forging a style all his own without the compromise of the marketplace. This East Coast tour of America, close on the heels of a similar West Coast swing in the spring, found the basic elements of Beck’s music more tightly fused than ever. Not surprisingly, his band is just as closely in formation with him as they play it.
Given that, there’s not a lot of collective improvisation going on as drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Randy Hope-Taylor and keyboardist Jason Rebello play along with their leader. In fact, that’s largely what the three do, as Beck himself continues to unfurl his seemingly endless imagination to find-or more accurately, impart-subtlety to familiar songs like “Blue Wind.” Jeff’s two rounds of call-and-response with Rebello were the only jams that took place that had any substance unless you look at the set, progressing as it did almost non-stop from beginning to end, as one long improvisation.
Though this show has remained fairly constant through the spring tour and the early part of this one, there’s no sense of ennui; how could there be with Beck parlaying his own inimitable brand of unpredictability from moment to moment? Colaiuta’s flourishes acted as necessary touch points after such stratospheric journeys as the one Jeff conducted on “Brush with the Blues,” where his deconstructionist jazz sensibility was never more evident.
And it was forging the elements of his past that would appear to be the impetus behind Jeff Beck’s current public appearances. With the ever-so-suggestive presence of Beth Hart on a handful of numbers such as “Ain’t Superstitious” and, in particular, “You Shook Me,” the blues component in Beck’s style comes to the fore much more prominently than in recent years. The techno leanings of his last studio album, You Had it Coming, are nowhere to be found, while the bone-crushing hard rock of his early group albums couldn’t have been more vivid.
Not coincidentally, Truth and Beck-Ola are being reissued in October with bonus tracks aplenty, so it makes perfect sense for Beck to hearken back to that phase of his career. But culls from that period like “Beck’s Bolero” and “Morning Dew” sounded of a piece with the sleek sturm und drang of “Led Boots” from Wired. Jeff Beck’s artistic identity is more fully crystallized now than at any period in the 62-year old guitar hero’s career, as his guitar playing imparts an authority to even the most dizzying solos, such as the one on “Star Cycle.”
The man’s fondness for melody brought a broadened dynamic range to the performance. “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” featured Beck using a feather-like touch he utilized again, to an even greater extent, in the second encore “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” But it was “Angel/Footsteps,” significantly, from the recent vintage You Had It Coming, where Beck found the finest nuance to etch the pretty motifs into the tunes.
Applying the jazz ethos of knowing what notes to leave out is the foundation of Jeff’s discipline. This approach has allowed him to create, over the years, an instantly recognizable tone of his own and it carries a white-hot edge that sears off all sentimentality from balladry like “Nadia,” leaving only the truly poignant in place. It was a fairly educated audience, the aforementioned dilettantes notwithstanding, that responded as respectfully and wholeheartedly to that display of restraint rather than the more obvious theatrics of outstretched arms and abandoned swings of the guitar.
You forgive Beck such showmanship because it appears to be such a natural outgrowth of the joy he finds in playing these days. He constantly prowls the stage, never fails to acknowledge a transition in an arrangement, as on “Big Block,” and was humorous but earnestly praising his band at the evening’s end. And it’s deserved praise even though Rebello seems merely to provide backdrops for Beck’s guitar, though Beck doesn’t defer to him the way he did Jan Hammer thirty years ago. Hart’s earthy wailing is almost but not quite a match for her guitar boss (she demonstrated some admirable restraint of her own on Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”), while Hope-Taylor and Colaiuta carve out massive chunks of funk that sound like the logical progression from the ground-breaking syncopation that coursed through Blow by Blow, Beck’s first foray into jazz-rock fusion.
Down-to-earth enough to return to the stage for the first encore with his layered mop of hair in holy disarray from a towel-down, Jeff Beck was also sincere enough to again thank his band and wish his concertgoers a safe journey home. Such openness made for marked contrast to the tongue-in-cheek wave of his container of baby powder in the air as he left the stage for the final time; as Jeff Beck tossed some of the stuff in the air while facing his audience, you couldn’t help but think of the substance in metaphorical terms. It was almost like a magic (“Diamond…”? ) dust he had just spent over one-hundred and twenty minutes sprinkling on the crowd, leaving them transformed.
What's more, the 62-year-old blues-rock guitar god hasn't put out a record since 2003's "Jeff," the last in his trilogy of electronic music discs. And he's playing a "greatest hits" set list to boot on his 20-city tour.
Another night, another geezer, right? Not in the least. Although tickets were reportedly a slow sell, with no new product for rock radio to push, the concert proved exactly why hardcore fans of the electric guitar solo keep Beck on their perennial "gotta be there" list when he tours every three years or so.
The man who helped define English blues-rock, practically invented heavy metal and made jazz-rock fusion interesting seems to be turning away from his electronica fixation. His inspiration during his two-hour-plus set, complete with four encore numbers, seemed to come less from the Chemical Brothers than from Buddy Guy.
Those bracing themselves for a nonstop sonic assault were instead treated to a well-paced mix of the crunches and the lyrical. For every pulsating "Big Block" and "Scatterbrain," there was a melodic "Cause We Ended as Lovers" or stunningly beautiful "A Day in the Life," his guitar singing out with a full range of emotions for the Beatles classic.
Beck's clearly enjoying himself, too. The often-taciturn Brit, sporting a '60s mod haircut, sleeveless nylon vest with no shirt underneath and hastily knotted green-and-black-striped tie, was downright animated onstage. At various points he raised both hands skyward in triumph, dipped gracefully to one knee and blew an appreciative kiss to the crowd in response to an ovation.
While Beck worked off and on in recent years with vocalist Jennifer Batten, she never played as big a role in his group as his recent discovery Beth Hart. Beck has compared the Los Angeles-based blues-rocker to Janis Joplin, although Hart's singing is much more controlled. The sexy shouter gave a nod to long-ago Beck mate Rod Stewart with her phrasing for "You Shook Me" and "I Ain't Superstitious," two of the half-dozen tunes she sang during her three jaunts to the stage. Her gyrations during "You Shook Me," while suggestive, were no match for Beck's rude, raunchy guitar, though.
Beck has found three backing musicians capable of pushing him musically, most notably keyboardist Jason Rebello, whose synthesizer work matched the axman's blow by blow for "Star Cycle," and who teamed seamlessly with Beck on the reggae romp "Behind the Veil."
While Clapton is fronting a three-guitar lineup these days, it's hard to imagine another guitarist who'd expose himself to direct comparisons with Beck. And Beck does it all, anyway, as he demonstrated on "Big Block," for which he supplied all the melody and rhythm lines while Rebello took a breather.
It's amazing to hear the range of sounds Beck creates. Starting with the show opener, the regal-sounding shout- out to Ravel, "Beck's Bolero," Beck worked the entire fretboard, even extending the flying fingers of his left hand above the pickups with absolute precision. He seldom uses a pick, alternately popping the strings with his thumb and caressing them with the other fingers of his right hand. It's a technique that few electric guitarists could use effectively, and none with the speed and accuracy of Beck. He takes such adventurous routes to a sustained note, too -- varying combinations of bending, slide and feedback.
Beck, Clapton and another former Yardbird, Jimmy Page, are considered the big three of British blues-rock guitarists, and you can make a case for each one as the best. But the mastery of the electric guitar that Beck displayed Tuesday night brings to mind another possible triumvirate: Beck, Les Paul and Jimi Hendrix. Or just maybe there's no yardstick for his brilliance.
After completing a hugely successful tour of Japan last summer playing songs spanning his career, Beck decided to give his fans in America the same chance.
This past April, the four-time Grammy-winning Beck played a string of sold-out West Coast dates to amazing reviews by fans and critics alike.
For instance, the Hollywood Reporter wrote after a Beck show: “After four decades, Beck still has the ability to thrill. The result was one of those nights that even a veteran concert-goer brags about the next day. And the next.”
And the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “ … he produces such a dazzling array of tonal colors and emotional shadings that he ‘sings’ like a master, without ever opening his mouth. Beck is also that rare performer who can play with intensity and taste at the same time. This made his 91-minute set here an almost unqualified delight.”
Sounds like a show not to be missed!
For his show tonight, Beck promises a set that reflects the eclectic musical mix that is his trademark. With a heady blend of rock and jazz to incorporating eastern, classical and blues influences, fans can expect a rare visit to Beck’s extensive catalogue as well as a revealing glimpse of his next project.
Beck is joined tonight by a stellar line-up of musicians: Randy Hope-Taylor on bass, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jason Rebello on keyboards, and as a special guest, Beth Hart on vocals.
Aside from the special limited West Coast dates this past April, this marks the first time in nearly 20 years that Beck will perform in the U.S. with a singer. The last time, dating back to the early ’80s, was when he played a few dates with Rod Stewart.
For those who are not familiar with Beck, he’s one of the most highly regarded electric guitarists of all time, in the same company as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and a few select others.
Beck has played in many bands beginning in the 1960s, including the Yardbirds (after Clapton left), The Honeydrippers, Beck, Bogers & Appice, and The Jeff Beck Group (featuring Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood of Rolling Stones fame on bass). Beck also has performed with Stewart on other occasions, including the smoking guitar work on the song “Infatuation.”
Beck has performed with many other greats over the years, including live in a Yardbirds reunion show with Clapton. He also has performed with Sting, Phil Collins, Donovan and Paul Rodgers of Bad Company fame.
Beck recently has performed on Les Paul’s and Cyndi Lauper’s new CDs, as well as on Roger Water’s CD, “Amused to Death.” Beck also performed on the ZZ Top CD “XXX,” and even acted in the film “Twins.”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Colorado Convention Center Lecture Hall, 700 14th St.
When those lists of "best guitarists of all time" pop up, his name is always near the top, alongside former Yardbirds band mates Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, or the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards and the like.
Yet Beck doesn't fill huge arenas or top the charts because years ago he decided to challenge himself rather than take the expected route of pleasing the audience.
Granted, other guitarists have taken detours, but Beck wandered off into music even the most ardent fans had a hard time following at times.
So despite a respectable crowd numbering in the thousands, the empty seats at the top of the Lecture Hall on Thursday night are the price he pays for keeping himself intrigued and interested for all these years.
And it's a pity if you weren't there, because this tour finds Beck at his most accessible. Playing signature songs from his entire career, he blasted through 90-plus minutes of astonishing, inimitable guitar work.
If nothing else, it was the best-value concert this year. With an average $50 ticket price, fans got pure Beck - no opening act, no filler, no fooling around. Without a word he stormed onto the stage and began the guitar assault. No big screens, no special effects - heck, not even the mandatory give-me-a- new-guitar-every-song shtick. Just a stack of Marshall amps, a white spotlight on him, a crack band pushing itself to higher levels and an emphasis on the rock and blues numbers that have made him a guitar legend, including Beck's Bolero, You Shook Me and I Ain't Superstitious.
His solos go from lithe and fluid one minute to staccato, machine- gun bursts the next. Fit and agile, the Jeff Beck of 2006 bears a striking resemblance to the one of 1971, but with even more tricks up his sleeve.
Cause We've Ended As Lovers was an amazing highlight, with Beck's soloing going from clean, nimble runs up the guitar neck to brusque, grinding blues.
Like much of Beck's music, much of the concert was purely instrumental. For those songs with vocals, he has enlisted singer-songwriter Beth Hart to join him with electric chemistry.
Their version of You Shook Me was riveting, with Hart undoubtedly winning new fans with her amazing voice.
Perhaps the finest moment of the night, however, was Beck's instrumental cover of the Beatles' A Day in the Life. The nuance and shading of his guitar lines were as expressive as any human voice. If fans consider his detours as time in the wilderness, well, it was time well spent.
• Grade: A
• When, where: Thursday night, Lecture Hall
The vast majority of the crowd, however, just sat quietly and stared intently at Beck's fingers. It's almost like his fans were afraid they might miss something if they didn't pay complete attention to the star.
In that sense, the gig resembled more a classroom setting than a regular concert. The fans were the students and the instructor was a guitarist for the ages.
The 62-year-old British rock legend, who first made his name as Eric Clapton's replacement in the Yardbirds in the mid-'60s, certainly had a fine crop of classroom aides with him on this night. His terrific band featured bassist Randy Hope-Taylor, keyboardist Jason Rebello and, most impressively, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, who has worked with the likes of Frank Zappa and Sting.
The band also included singer Beth Hart, who helped make this a different kind of Jeff Beck show. Reportedly, this is the first year that the guitarist has toured the United States with the vocalist since he performed with Rod Stewart (a former member of the Jeff Beck Group) in the early'80s.
Hart did a fine job at the mic, channeling the wild spirit of Janis Joplin and cranking up the intensity on some bluesy selections, but she didn't change the overall focus and feel of the show. Even when the vocalist was onstage, the main attraction remained Beck's fingers.
Let's be clear on one thing: It wasn't the most widely accessible show. One doesn't just walk off the street and into a Jeff Beck concert. This was a gig for guitar geeks, and anyone else - especially a guitar geek's spouse - might have found this performance to be a deathly bore.
Beck kicked off the 1-hour, 45-minute show with four straight instrumentals, all of which were colored in varying shades of jazz-rock fusion.
Appearing out of the darkness near center stage, the guitarist opened with a big, bold version of the classic "Beck's Bolero" that was full of the same type of head-spinning drama that fuels Ravel's own "Bolero."
Stepping down from this place of grandeur, the guitarist took a swift left turn and landed solidly with a funky version of "Stratus," during which he typed out notes on his fretboard like someone sending Morse code. The fans, most of whom were sitting at the edge of their seats by this point, definitely got the message.
Following "You Never Know," a blistering modern jazz number that sounded like something straight off a Pat Metheny disc, and a sweet take on the ballad "Cause We Ended as Lovers," Hart entered the stage for convincing takes on "You Shook Me" and "Morning Dew." The latter, a Grateful Dead number, was particularly enjoyable as the band really sold this haunting vision of a post-apocalyptic world.
Once the vocalist departed, the crowd members settled back into business as usual as they watched the guitar hero glide his way through the ska-influenced "Behind the Veil" and then shoot out into the stratosphere for the spacey "Two Rivers," which came across like "Division Bell"-era Pink Floyd.
Fans enjoyed the music to different degrees as Beck continued through "Star Cycle," "Big Block" and "Nadia" - and some were clearly getting things out of the show that others weren't. For instance, there were times when, for no apparent reason, three or four people would suddenly leap from their chairs mid-song to applaud like their baseball team had just won the World Series.
Maybe it was the way Beck had fingered a particular note or completed a certain phrasing - only the geekiest of guitar geeks know for sure.
The main set concluded in fine fashion with such solid selections as "Pork Pie Hat," "Brush with the Blues" and "Blue Wind." Beck, however, saved the best for last as he delivered an epic version of "A Day in the Life" that was so clearly enunciated that one could almost sing the words without ever hearing the Beatles' original first.
The final encore was a moving rendition of "Over the Rainbow" that made it clear we weren't in Kansas anymore. Then class was dismissed for the evening. The lesson, especially for guitar geeks, was clear: Jeff Beck is not to be missed in concert.
Write music critic Jim Harrington at email@example.com
In interviews over the years, Beck has good-naturedly put up with exasperating questioning from this guitar-playing reporter on subjects ranging from what size his low E string is to his exact memories of filming the famous club scene with the Yardbirds in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 mod-London classic, "Blow-Up." This time, we stuck to cars, housing insulation and the fact that he looks essentially the same today as he did on stage at London's Roundhouse in the early '70. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd calls him "the most consistently brilliant" guitarist around.
"People can't understand it," Beck, 62, said of his full head of shaggy black hair. "The last time we were in Tokyo, a jazz drummer I know asked if he could pull it to make sure it's not a wig. I told him he could pull it once, and if he tried it a second time, I'd give him a good kick you know where."
Beck's guitar has provided kicks for five decades, starting in 1965, when he replaced Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds, then in the first Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart, considered the blueprint for Led Zeppelin. In the mid-'70s, Beck changed directions and recorded the groundbreaking jazz-fusion albums "Blow by Blow" and "Wired," both produced by Beatles collaborator George Martin.
Future projects saw Beck veering into straight-ahead rockabilly, funk, techno, electronica and pastoral soundscapes, always marked by jaw-dropping fretwork and white-knuckle conviction. "It's very hard to just stick to one thing," said Beck, who appears Monday at The Grove of Anaheim and Thursday at a special Greek Theatre show in which Martin will oversee a 14-piece string section performing "Diamond Dust" and other material from "Blow by Blow," Beck's landmark 1975 album.
Along with auto restoration, another endeavor of Beck's is his house. It's on a U.K. registry of historic homes and has been put back to its original form, which meant tearing out the insulation and putting in a new roof. Beck helped with much of the manual labor. "We have a huge fireplace, which we need because it gets so cold here," he said. "It was an unbelievable amount of work. That's how I keep in shape. I don't do a lot of sitting around. "People think I'm some kind of multimillionaire. But I'm not. At the same time, I'd probably be exactly the same anyway. I've always been this way. I like doing things myself."
Fred Shuster, (818) 713-3676 firstname.lastname@example.org
The British legend has not so much added significantly to his arsenal of unique techniques as he has refined and expanded them-mostly with his pick-less right hand, and most notably concerning his use the tremolo arm. Beck dropped a major Whammy Bomb on the guitar world on “Where Were You” from 1988’s Guitar Shop, and he has developed the approach he pioneered on that track to such a degree that it’s now incorporated to some degree into virtually everything he does-which equates to a wholly unique way of playing electric guitar. He keeps his pinky on the Strat’s volume knob, creating vocal-like envelopes as he plucks either a fretted note or a harmonic with his thumb or remaining right-hand digits, and then manipulates the note up or down in pitch with the whammy bar. For the last note of the reggae-tinged “Behind the Veil,” Beck whimsically substituted a heavenly harmonic, which he let ring out while slinging the guitar around his back and tying his shoe, before raising his arm to signal the segue into “Two Rivers.” Nailing such a dizzying array of tricks proved difficult even for the acrobatic Beck. He narrowly missed the bull’s-eye on a few occasions, but always managed to somehow land on his black work boots. He didn’t play “Where Were You” on this occasion, but he did play an equally ethereal rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and a supremely lyrical instrumental version of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” The string section accompanied both, and the combination of Beck’s soaring whammy harmonics with the orchestration were the evening’s highlights and show closers.
Other highlights also included the string section, which appeared onstage after an intermission that was so short, much of the middle-aged crowd was caught off guard, forcing them to soak in Blow By Blow producer George Martin’s gorgeous “Diamond Dust” arrangement as they scurried back to their seats. The augmented band played “Scatterbrain” at a blistering pace with the string section sawing away furiously in order to keep up. “Led Boots” also featured stings-an interesting choice considering they are not a part of the original Wired recording, and because it’s rare to hear a string section hammer away at a such a syncopated fusion guitar riff, which they did while Beck went for the jugular during his solos.
The audience was filled with all walks of the music lovers, including guitarist Johnny A., Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, and amp manufacturer Paul Rivera Jr. Backstage, all searched for superlatives to describe Beck’s magnificent tone, singular phrasing, and age-defying energy. The consensus: Beck is still at the top of his game, if not the top guitar cat on the planet, period.
Complete Set List Beck’s Bolero Stratus You Never Know 'Cause We've Ended as Lovers You Shook Me Morning Dew Behind the Veil Two Rivers Star Cycle Big Block Nadia (guest El Shankar) Angel’s Footsteps (Strings) Diamond Dust Scatterbrain Led Boots Ain't Superstitious Going Down Goodbye Pork Pie Hat Brush with the Blues Scottish Blue Wind (Strings) Change Is Gonna Come A Day in the Life Somewhere Over the Rainbow
One of the standout songs was near the very end and I think it must have been called "Scottish One" because I saw the word "Scottish" on the mixing board posted set list and I found "Scottish One" listed on your website as part of his Japan set list. Do you know the origin of that song? It was perfectly executed last night and was wondering where it came from, if it's a Jeff original or an old song of some other origin, etc.
At any rate, we had him come back for 3 encores, and he didn't seem to be too put out. He and Jason played a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow for the third encore. Jeff stayed pretty close to your aforementioned set list, with maybe 1 exception. I believe he substituted People Get Ready for I Ain't Superstitious (sung by Beth Hope). She's an absolute Doll, by the way (i.e., not like some Diva all full of herself, but simply a talented singer, just singing her heart out.
I know the date of that show because of Christopher Hjort's excellent book, Jeff's Book, which I contributed some photos to from various concerts of Jeff's that I have seen over the years. I remember they played all of their Yardbird hits and that Jeff and Jimmy Page had a wonderful exchange on "I'm a Man". I do recall Jimmy's purple velvet pants and that Jeff was more understated in jeans.
I next saw Jeff with his first solo group in Dallas at a club called LuAnne's in July of 68. Only 100 people were there and I sat right behind a speaker at the side of the stage taking photos. Jeff stuck his tongue out at me at one point, as I suspect he was wondering why I was taking so many photos and Rod Stewart bent down and was asking me about my 35mm camera. They weren't that common in those days. What a show that was. Jeff's Les Paul, through his dual stack of Marshall's, was the most wonderful sound I had ever heard. I went out and bought a new gold top Les Paul when Gibson re-released them around that time. But for some reason I have never been able to sound as good as Jeff. A sad fate which I am sure I share with any number of other guitar players who aspire to try and measure up to Jeff's exceptional standards. I got to see the original JB Group one more time in November of 68. I was amused to see that one of my photos from that show was appropriated from Hjort's book, for the cover of a bootleg CD.
I moved to Colorado after that and got to see Jeff with various versions of his group. One memorable group line-up was in Colorado Springs in August of 1972 where he played two shows with Bob Tench, Max Middleton, Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert. The opening act was Argent. The next time I saw him he had moved on to instrumentals sharing the bill with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. 'Blow by Blow' was out and he moved between a strat and his oxblood Les Paul. I still felt he blew McLaughlin off the stage, but I readily admit I am prejudiced in favor of Jeff. Next I saw him on the 'There and Back' tour and he was at the peak of his popularity, playing to close to 10,000.
When I moved to the Bahamas in 1981 I became friends with the late Robert Palmer who was living here at the time. Robert and I would sit around listening to music till all hours of the morning. Robert knew of my love for Jeff's guitar and one night he put on a cassette he had. He always played things VERY loud and when I heard 'Escape' I was blown away. This was months before 'Flash' was released. Jeff had been in Nassau recording at Compass Point Recording Studio with Mick Jagger. Jeff had left a copy with Robert and had invited him to sing on 'Flash'. Robert had declined though because he didn't like the idea of being compared to Rod Stewart. This was shortly before Robert hit it big with 'Addicted to Love', so it probably took some nerve to turn Jeff down. Actually this is one point that I can make about both Robert and Jeff. Part of the reason I admire both of them, is that they have not played it safe. They have always pushed themselves to try new styles of music and are perfectionists in their craft. I regret that Robert turned Jeff down and sadly now we will never get the chance to hear them together. I feel it would have been a good fit. I can not think of any other guitarist who has pushed the instrument to the limits and varieties that Jeff has.
Seeing Jeff on the Stevie Ray tour and again on his 'Who Else' tour, as well as the You had it Coming and B.B. King tours, all I can say is that he has gotten better through the years. He is a master of his instrument and his music speaks to places in my soul that no one else has ever reached. As I said to you after the Ft. Lauderdale show on the 7th, he has become better with age, like a fine wine. Seeing him in Tampa the night before, what came across is that he is enjoying what he is doing. Beth Hart was great to see and the chance to hear new interpretations of songs that have meant so much to me over 40 years, is a moving experience. Jeff has been attracting the most amazing musicians to his bands for some time now and this group is no exception. The Bootleg CD from the Spring tour that's on sale at the shows is excellent, on a par or better than the old Jan Hammer live CD with Jeff that was on Epic. I do hope he puts out a DVD and CD of these shows and as a career retrospective. Jeff thanked the audience for his career at one point that evening. All I can say to Jeff is thank you for the music of my life. You certainly made my life richer, for your music being such a big part of it. Thanks again Dick. R.E. Barnes
My favorite part of the show was the extended introduction blues licks Jeff played with the band, before Beth walked on stage to sing You Shook Me. I have never heard him play like this before. Basic in the box blues scale. The guitar sound was super thick.
The new Fender Super Sonic Amps were set to the vintage bassman channel. Combining this amp with the Marshall DSL 50 watt, achieve the fullness Jeff has talked about wanting to project over the years. Steve, Jeff's guitar tech, works with a high level of intensity in coordinating guitar / amp / effects.
Japan, Western and European tours gave the band the playing time together to deliver these memorable performances.
Brad in Memphis
Here was last night's set list: Denver 9/21/06 1. Beck's Bolero 2. Stratus 3. You Never Know 4. Cause We've Ended As Lovers 5. You Shook Me (with Beth Hart) 6. Morning Dew (with Beth Hart) 7. Behind The Veil 8. Two Rivers 9. Star Cycle 10. Big Block 11. Nadia 12. Angel (Footsteps) 13. Blast From The East 14. A Day In The Life 15. I Ain't Superstitious (with Beth Hart) 16. A Change Gonna Come (with Beth Hart) 17. Scatterbrain 18. Led Boots 19. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Brush With The Blues 20. Blue Wind Encore 1 21. Goin' Down (with Beth Hart) 22. Got The Feeling (with Beth Hart) Encore 2 23. Irish Instrumental Encore 3 24. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
There was small talk amongst patrons that perhaps Eric Clapton would be there, or even Buddy Guy. The audience was a mixture of burnt out/played out hippies, some stylish females, and some not so stylish (ala a certain femme fatale singer), there were old people, young people, Latinos, African-Americans and even some people that looked lke first cousins of Dick Cheney, and there was the usual.
The tickets stated a 7:30PM start, but at 7:30PM the theatre looked only 35% full. Traffic was crazy downtown, parking next door cost $17.00, Pepsi was $3.00 at the concession stand in the lobby, and then there`were the merchandise items - I paid $90.00 for stuff, Live CD from Spring 2006 tour on the West Coast of the US; a tee-shirt, and a baseball cap, most product was adorned by a Jeff Becl logo that was dead on his 1/3 of BBA's trademark emblem.
The stage was set, a riserless drum kit was dead center in the back, a modest keyboard stack was stage left, audience right, then there was the rig for the bassist and finallyn a massive landscape for the guitar hero that has colored our lives since 1965. Impressive tools for work indeed, 4 Marshall cabinets, 3 Marshall amps, 2 Fender amp heads, 2 Fender cabinets, a control unit for the pedals and effects, which were neatly encased at stage right, audience left upfront strategically behind 3 monitor fills (there`were also two mointor fills to the stage right), a mic on a boom stand and there were the two Strats (being strumed for tuning by the guitar roadie - one beige/creamish off white in color, and the other - white).
At 7:51PM CST a local disc jockey from a Chicago rock station came on and welcome the crowd and informed everyone that Jeff was working on a new album, his first in 3 years, and that the show would feature old and some new, and would be the first time Jeff Beck had appeard with a singer in 20 years. He further told the audience the show would be starting in a few minutes.
The clock said 7:59PM CST when the drummer the bassist and the keyboard player sauntered onto the stage and then he appeared unceremoniously to a loud chorus of cheers as he pointed to the roadie off stage playing the 12 string guitar to strum his part on the show opening "Beck's Bolero". He was cheered with approval by the crowd and given and entrance standing ovation.
He looked very fit and lean, with tie-dyed looking baggy pants, black vest and a tie like thingie around his neck and the Lady Clairol enhanced hair that we have seen in basically the same style for 38 years.
Next up was "Stratus", the Blly Cobham tune, and Jeff ripped the shit out of the solo, garnering strong clapping from the crowd after his break. The audience rewarded him with a strong standing ovation. "You Never Know" folllowed - just pretty basic here, polite crowd response.
The Stevie Wonder written "'Cause We've Ended As Lovers" was next and Mr. Beck made the guitar weep and emote with a flurry of blue notes that were very soulful and heartfelt. The crowd cheered and oooed and ahhhed throughout much of this song.
Jeff then played some blistering bluesy licks on the intro of "You Shok Me", even doing half a verse section instrumentally before the distaff version of Robert Plant (Beth Hart) appeared). Many in the crowd were yelling as her vocals started, and there were murmurs that she was like the late Janis Joplin. During ther rave-up section of "You Shook Me", Hart strummed the slashing chords as Jeff offered the guitar body up in the aqir to her. She stayed on for a fairly pedestrian "Morning Dew". The reggae-tinged "Behind The Veil" came next, and initially Jeff started out tentative on this - missing a few licks that were on the studio version, but then he suddenly regrouped and lit a fire into this song - wow! Bassist Randy Hope-Taylor, the rock steady piece in this live band, really kept Vinny Colaiuta in good pocket, and the four string plunker may times answered Jeff or doubled some of the low notes on "...Veil". The eerie and haunting "Two Rivers" followed and this was done well. "Star Cycle" wasnext and it immediately got a great response ffrom the crowd. Jeff doubled the Jan Hammer synth riff that Jason Rebello plays live instead using a sequenced riff like Hymas (and even Hammer). There was no tarde-off section between Beck and Rebello on this.
One of the show stoppers, if not the absolute best song of the evening came next in "Big Block". This tune was performed as trio for the first 75%, Rebello even left stage while Hope-Taylor, Coliauta and Beck went to work. The tenacity that Jeff Beck played with on this tune ultimately achieved hyim one of his biggest and longest ovations of the night.
This was the moment that shows people why he is so revered and he did not disappoint on this number. Randy's bass was thunderous and drove this tune into a higher gear.
"Nadia" came next and was its usual self. "Angel (Footsteps)" was performed better than I have ever heard him do it. He played some nice jazz tinged octaves near the end before he did the bit where dallies on the strings with his slide. The audience was captivated by this, and he got another huge standing ovation.
"Blast From The East" followed with its odd meters. Jason did the Jennifer Batten parts pretty well as he harmonized with Jeff on the Eastern tinged motif.
Colaiuta - impressive in this time signature.
Surprise was next - The set list changed. Jeff Beck did his cover of "A Day In The Life", and did he do it, oh yes indeed. The audience was mesmerized on this one.
Vinny was a bit struggling on this one - but Jeff was so good, he erased VC's lagging. Perhaps this was his biggest and longest ovation of the evening.
Beth Hart was next back to back for "I Ain't Superstitious", which was basic, and then her best vocal of the night - Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come"
She really did great on this soul classic, and Jeff needs to record this one, his solo and soulful chording was quite nice. This also received a strong standing ovation.
"Scatterbrain" was next on the bill and it was nice and tight and Jeff's soloing was the best I have heard him pay this live. He`was lagging a bit on the West Coast mini-tour in the Spring on this one- but tonight he was on top of hisn game. Jason's piano solo was quite good also.
"Led Boots" followed and the groove was re-treaded and the crowd loved it, all players were in top form here.
Jeff was truly loving his band at this juncture. The crowd gave another huge ovation.
"Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat"/"Brush With The Blues", let's just say there are no words to describe this. The licks that Jeff Beck played were beyond this world. Near the end of his amazing guitar break he broke a string and a roadie brought him out the white Start and he kept on slinging away. What a moment. Another huge ovation.
The regular set closer came next in "Blue Wind", and once again new breath was breathed into the groove.
The audience went beserk over this.
Long roars of approval brought the fellas and the lady back for encore # 1 of "Going Down". Instead of the vocal/guitar trade-off section at the song's end, they brke into a James Brown funk groove with Hart screaming "I Got The Feeling" ala James' song of the same name.
Nobody was seated. The place was going crazy.
The boys launced into the new song, the ultra catchy "Scottish One". The throng of Chicagoans seemed to really like this.
Jeff then used the mic for the third time, each time Hart concluded her singing, he would say, "Ladies and gentleman, Beth Hart". Now he introduced the band,calling each by first and last name, and then saying about Vinny, this bastard, the he corrected himself and said, "Vinny Colaiuta, he's the one that holds the band together".
Randy Hope-Taylor stepped to the mic and said, "Chicago - Jeff Beck!".
Long ovation and yells, and Beck and Rebello re-appeared and did "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (which is called on the official setlist "Rainbow"/"Chopin").
I have to see and hear this again.. This was so good, I didn't get enough. Those of you out West, you are in for a treat of unreal dimensions. Jeff Beck is on fire these days as a guitar player - better than ever.
JEFF BECK set list Sept. 19, 2006 Chicago IL
1. Beck's Bolero 2. Stratus 3. You Never Know 4. Cause We've Ended As Lovers 5. You Shook Me 6. Morning Dew 7. Behind The Veil 8. Two Rivers 9. Star Cycle 10. Big Block 11. Nadia 12. Angels (Footsteps) 13. Blast From The East 14. A Day In The Life 15. I Ain't Superstitious 16. A Change Is Gonna Come 17. Scatterbrain 18. Led Boots 19. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 20. Brush With The Blues 21. Blue Wind encores 22. Goin' Down 23. Scottish One 24. Somewhere Over The Rainbow Jeff Beck, guitar Vinny Colaiuta, drums Randy Hope-Taylor, bass guitar Jason Rebello, keyboards Beth Hart, vocals
Dick, our friend Dana Osman and I arrived at the Hard Rock complex several hours early for the show. The Hard Rock consists of a hotel, casino and a bunch of bars, restaurants and shops, so we got there early to get something to eat and of course have a couple of beers. Before we went to get drinks we went to the Hard Rock ticket office's 'will call' window to check and see if our tickets and aftershow passes were there. They weren't there at that time but we noticed a big sign that said 'positive ID required' for picking up 'will calls'. Dick at this point being the genius that he is informed Dana and I that he didn't have his license on him. And of course everything was to be left at the window in his name. In fact, he had no ID at all. Both of us in amazement asked Dick, "How can you go out to a show without any wallet or ID or anything?" Dick didn't have a good answer for this one. Luckily just as we about to kill him we saw Jeff's tour manager for this tour, can't remember his name, come out the door. Dick explained his stupidity to him and he told us, "Oh, yeah, Ralph told me about you guys. I'll bring your tickets and passes out after I get back from this shirt shop they have here. I want to get a guyaberra." A guyaberra is a shirt that mostly Cubans wear, a kind of frilly short sleeve shirt with big pockets that you wear tucked out. I'm guessing this guy's size was XXL. So, we left Dick to wait for the tickets and passes while Dana and I got beers at a nearby Hooters. Such is living with Dick. He's kind of an idiot savant. He can remember every minute session, song etc. that Jeff Beck ever played but is always losing his car keys and locking himself out of his house!
Dick finally got the tickets and passes. Am I being too rough on him here? Tough. Anyway when the doors opened at 7PM we went and checked out the Hard Rock Live. It's a very new place, only been open 6 months or so. It's pretty big and has two seating configurations, one for 2500 and another for 5500. It was set up for 2500 for Jeff. We checked out our seats and they were good, 4th row center. Onstage was Jeff's Marshall set up. A total of 4 Marshall 4x12 straight cabinets, 2 on either side of a road case holding 3 Marshall DSL 50 heads. I'm pretty sure only 1 maybe 2 of the cabinets were hooked up the others being spares. Jeff's usual set up is to have one head feed 1 or maybe 2 cabinets, then a preamp out is fed into the next Marshall head via 'power amp in' which then feeds the 2 custom made Marshall wedges on the stage, the last head is a spare. Jeff added Fender Super Sonic amps set to 'vintage bassman' after the Florida gigs so I never saw them. Also onstage, which was a first for me to see Jeff use, was a full pedal board next to his barking dog wah-wah. I've seen that pedal board before on the last tour and when Jeff played at the Royal Albert Hall but it was behind his amp and his guitar tech was activating the effects. I mentioned to Jeff after the show that that was new thing I'd never seen upfront before and he said, "Yeah, we're trying to recreate more of the effects from the records." I said, "Yeah, that leslie effect you used on a couple of songs sounded cool." He replied, "Yeah, it's powerful isn't it."
Next we checked out the side of the stage and again here are the 'tools of the trade'.
There are two Jeff Beck strats, vintage white, his same old Tele that he's had forever and a Guild acoustic 12 string that his guitar tech plays on 'Beck's Bolero'. I asked Jeff after the show if he was playing a new guitar. He said, "You might know better than me." I said, "No really, I don't know the neck, everything just looks newer." He said, "You mean new since my green strat?" I said, "No, the one that Anoushka Shankar signed. I didn't see her autograph on it." No answer. I don't know it might be my eyes are getting bad, which they are, but I still say the guitar body, the neck everything looked almost brand new. Remember too that the neck on his original vintage white strat came off his previous green strat and looked like it was over 10 years old, this one didn't. And I still say it didn't have Anoushka's signature on it which the guitar he played several years ago did but I may be wrong or maybe he removed it.
So here's where show started and here's the set list;
Beck's Bolero Stratus You'll Never Know Cause We've Ended As Lovers You Shook Me/Morning Dew w/Beth Hart Behind The Veil Blast From The East Two Rivers Star Cycle Big Block Nadia Angel/Footsteps Ain't Superstitious w/Beth A Change Is Gonna Come w/Beth Scatterbrain Led Boots Good Bye Pork Pie Hat/Brush With The Blues (1st encore) Goin' Down w/Beth (2nd encore) Scottish One (3rd encore) Somewhere Over The Rainbow
I would say that on at least (maybe more) 65% of the songs Jeff got a standing ovation. The place just went nuts. I had never heard Beth Hart live before but wow, she's got pipes.
Now, the aftershow. As Dick will tell you there was no aftershow after the previous night's gig in Clearwater. Dick was the only 'guest' so they didn't bother but a meet and greet was assured for this night. After the show we walked down a hall are told to wait outside this reception room. There are two groups of people; one's like Dick and myself with promoter issued aftershow passes and another group of people with wristbands. They seperate us out, one group on one wall, the other group on the other wall. I would say there were 25 people with wristbands and maybe 10 with passes. We learn that the folks with wristbands are 'high roller's' from the casino. They're booked into the hotel and were presented with a 'package' that included tickets to the show and a chance to meet Jeff after the show. We're told they would be going in first. So we were waiting maybe 20 minutes for this first group even to go in but it wasn't late, maybe 10:30PM. About this time I noticed a guy just down the hall a bit talking to a guy with an aftershow pass. He looked familiar but it didn't really click. Maybe 60 seconds before they let the wristband people in, this guy left and the guy he was talking to came over to our side of the wall to wait with us. I said to the guy," You know that guy you were talking to looks just like Al DiMeola." He said, "Yeah that is Al." I said, "What's he doing down here in Fort Lauderdale, is he playing somewhere?" He said, "No, he lives down here now." (Somebody told me he lives about a mile from me, don't know though.) I said, "Where's he going?" The guy answered, "He didn't want to wait." By this time I noticed the wrist band folks were being moved through the room like a reception line. They entered the room in one door and exited from another door down the hall about 60 seconds later. Looking down the hall I could still see the back of Al's head. If he had waited he would have been in with us about 2 minutes later.
When we entered the reception room the first person I said hello to was Randy Hope Taylor. I noticed he had a champagne glass in his hand and I said to him, "So, Jeff's got you drinking mimosas now too huh." He said, "No man, this is a champagne and orange juice." I said, "??". Most of the other people that had passes seemed to friends with Beth Hart as they were all in another corner of the room. In the far corner of the room was Jeff with some folks from the Hard Rock. As he sipped a glass of Perrier Joulet, the Hard Rock folks were asking him to sign about 10 posters of something I couldn't tell. Then in the corner was kind of a cheap black Fender strat which they asked him to sign and his tour manager 'XXL' promptly informed that Jeff doesn't sign guitars. This set me back just a touch because at this point Jeff turned to me and I handed him a couple of Epic promo pictures to sign which he did and then I said, "Jeff I know you don't like to sign guitar stuff but if you could sign this." It was the back tremolo plate from my own Jeff Beck strat. He said, "This is for you own guitar?" And I said, "Yeah." And he signed it. As he was signing he looked at my rarer than rare Big Town Playboys t-shirt from his one-off gig with them in Paris and said, "You know we had to fatten up that girl's legs." Referring to the girl atop the Gretsch.
I then asked Jeff about the pedal board and his guitar which I mentioned before and at this point the guy who was with Al Dimeola came up and joined our group. He said, "Al Dimeola was just outside but didn't want to wait." He pulled out his cellphone and said, "I can call him right now and you can say, Hi." Jeff said, "No, that's OK." So the guy says, "Can I get a picture of me and you on my cellphone camera?" Jeff says, "Sure." And they hand the phone to Jeff's tour manager. After about 15 seconds of trying to get a picture with his big fingers on those tiny buttons, the tour manager says, "Cellphones are for talking, cameras are for taking pictures!" But finally he gets the shot. At this point Jeff, who is wearing cargo pants with huge pockets, reaches into one of them and says, "Here's my phone." Now I don't have a very new cellphone myself. It's an old Nokia, no flip, no camera, just a simple phone. Jeff's was probably 2 years older and simpler and more battered. Not to mention when he turned it over to show us the back of it, it had been spray painted lime green! Not neatly either, just a big blotch of lime green spray paint. I looked up at him questionly and he said, "I painted it so no one would steal it." I said, "And that thing works?"
I then asked him if he had got a chance to check out the display in the casino of the Hard Rock. It consists of three stage jackets in a plastic case. White jackets with red velvet collars and cuffs. Under it on a plaque it says something to the effect 'stage clothes worn by the Yardbirds'. There is also a Jackson guitar that Jeff probably owned for three seconds. Anyway he said, "Yeah, but those jackets aren't from the Yardbirds. Those were the jackets the Jeff Beck Group wore at their very first gig with Ray Cooper on drums. We only wore those coats once and the gig was a total disater. We didn't even play because the Small Faces road crew pulled the power on us." I said, "So those were worn by you Rod and Ron?" He replied, "Yeah, the drummer, Ray, didn't wear a coat." I wonder if I told the folks at the Hard Rock about this they would fix the display, probably not.
At this point Dick said to Jeff, "Well, as always we have something for you." Dick reached into a package he had with him and the guy who was with Al Dimeola asked Jeff, pointing towards Dick, "Who's that?" Jeff with a grin replied, "That's the head of my fan club!" Dick pulled out a sheet of paper he's had for years. I've had the jpeg of it in my computer since 2003. It was a photocopy of a letter that someone sent to us back then and I remember when we got it we tried to track down where it came from but never could. It was a letter Jeff had presumably written to his father back when he first toured the U.S. with the Yardbirds, the contents we'd just as soon keep private. Jeff turned his back to us and took several steps away to read the letter in some better light. When he came back to us we instantly knew that the letter was authentic, he was a little taken aback. It was definately his own handwriting. He looked at us and said, "You know, this is probably the only letter I ever wrote my father." We told him at one point we tried to track down where it came from with no luck. I said, "I don't understand how a personal letter that was obviously your father's made it on the internet." He only ventured a guess. He said, "When my mother died (she passed after his father I learned from the first time I met Jeff in '95) my sister was living in a cottage across the street. All of their furniture and things, including my father's secretary (desk) was moved over there. At some point someone broke in and stole a bunch of stuff. My father wrote diaries and they're gone. It really sucks, I mean I could be reading my father's diaries right now, reading about what he was doing in 1945."
At this point we had been in the room maybe 20 minutes, so we got some obligatory photos;
Then we thanked Jeff and Ralph for their hospitality as always and I yelled over to Beth, "You rock!"
.........As I (Dick.....as to being lazy.....f$%k 'm if they can take a joke and f&*%k 'm if they can't) was sitting in the backstage security Booth in Clearwater having a friendly chat with manager Ralph Baker,the subject of recorded live performances came up. Ralph mentioned something about the band bootleg. I said "you mean the Sony thing from BB King's?" He said "You mean you don't know....Wait!". Ralph bounced around the corner and reappeared just as suddenly, handing me a cd and said "Dick, you are somebody that should definately have one of these!" After four consecutive thank you's I noticed the logo and exclaimed "That's from the old BBA logo!" "Yeh, Ralph said, we paid a lot of money for that years ago and Jeff and I both like it so there you go." It's funny because just before I got to Clearwater I was playing the BBA Live in Japan lp very loud. Randy Pratt,bass player from a dynamite new band The Lizards who is a good friend of Carmine's and played harmonica on the Cactus reuinion lp, had just been on the phone with me days earlier telling me about all the BBA memorabilia he had including some of Jeff and Carmine's gear from that era.
Anyway the CD is great!!!!!!!!!! I don't care how good an audience recording is with the very best hidden mics available on the marketplace NOTHING beats a monitor mix albeit basic through the soundboard!! BUY THIS CD!!!!!!!! The playing is inspired. If you don't get chills down your spine listening to Two Rivers or (Angel) Footsteps you are karazy!! Tidbit.......Besides being from the LA House of Blues (minus Beth Hart's stuff) the Rainbow encore is from the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam! Greg the sound guy told me that at the HOB in Orlando.
Seated in my comfy 10th row center seat at Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater, FL, I noticed a Englishman chatting with a lady both seated next to me. I introduced myself and found I was sitting next to a gent named Stewart and his lovely wife who is a rock make up fashion designer. Turns out that the Englishman was none other than Stewart, the guitar tech for Lou Reed. Stewart recounted to me how he had met Jeff at Paul McCartney's daughter's birthday party at Pauls estate. Stewart was to say the least awestruck when he met Jeff. Stewarts love of hot rod motorcycles kind of meshed with Jeff's love of hot rods and Jeff invited Stewart to see Jeff's stable of Hot Rods. As a bonus I found out that Lou Reeds current backing band ,whom Stewart was off to rejoin shortly after seeing Jeff's show in Clearwater, currently consisted of none other than former Jan Hammer and Jeff Beck touring rythym section of Fernando Saunders and Tony Smith. I made sure I told Stewart to relay to Tony that I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE ALL THE JEFF/JAN 1976 SHOWS I SENT TONY ....BACK IN MY COLLECTION! I'm not holding my breath Hah!
Back to chats with Jeff's manager............... I asked Ralph about the strings mention that Jeff had given in a newspaper pre tour interview. He didn't tell me about the impending Greek Theatre gig w/strings but Ralph did mention that Jeff was to have string accompanyment for his impending UK Hall of Fame tribute performance to George Martin in November.
Finally we spoke about DVD possibilities. I mentioned that the Japanese TV station was planning to broadcast the Fuji Speedway show. "Dick, we are looking the other way on that one. The Udo people have been so nice to us over the years but honestly there was no "festival". It was more like a TV ambush. I was speaking to Kevin Nixon, Santana's manager the other day about it and we all agreed."Jeff doesn't just tour for money. he likes to have crowds and have fun too."
Flash forward to Orlando. Ralph and I were sitting outside the Cuban restaurant nextdoor to the HOB sipping on expresso. Ralph told me "You really got his attention with that letter, Dick. However Jeff thinks it may not be real. He says he doesn't remember playing with the Beatles" I pointed out tht Jeff did play on the same show as the Beatles in Paris in 65 and even borrowed George Harrison's guitar from Mal Evans, the Beatles Roadie because Jeff broke a string on his own guitar. "The handwriting on the letter is scary. I like the Norwegian's book (Jeff's Book, Christopher Hjort) because you can look up dates easily." I replied, "Yeah, on one hand you have Hjort's book which is great for details and dates other stuff and on the other hand you've got Annette's book which is stylistic but with no access out here. There has to be someday something in between." "Probably Steve Rosen", Ralph mused. "....but we haven't forgiven him yet (for the Japanese Beck Book in the seventies. Past issues have gone into some unwise decisions Rosen made on including some quotes. Good hunting. Hah! Ed.) I mean just the other day he asked for favors out in LA. What am I going to give him a pass instead of someone like Stanley Clarke?!" (Not)
Flash backwards to the night before aftershow in Hollywood.
Be seeing you!
The following is from an email we recieved from Jimmy in December 2006. The preface to Jimmy's monologue is that Jimmy has known Art Neville for years. A few years ago Art took Jimmy to a Rolling Stones show in Las Vegas and that is where he met Ronnie Wood.
Ronnie had his engineer Steve Bush contact me to set up the recording date and within 3 weeks my wife and I flew to London for the session. I had already sent the tracks via DVD-R beforehand for Ronnie to hear. The session took place in Ronnie's studio, which is in his house just outside of London.
When we arrived Steve said the night before, Ronnie had already played on two tracks using his new Baritone guitar. We arrived at noon where Steve Bush greeted us and took us to the studio where Ronnie came in to greet us. Originally Ronnie was only going to play on "It Was A Virus" but since he liked the music he ended up playing on 5 tracks. Shortly after saying hello, Ronnie said, "I told Jeff Beck about your project with the Nevilles and he may stop by and want to play on it." I was speechless and did not even respond as I could not believe what I heard.
The first thing Ronnie played on was "It Was A Virus". He is on the left channel and enters after the bridge. If you just listen to the left channel during the long vamp at the end, you can really hear him play some great stuff (Jeff is on the right channel). Of course it was one take and was brilliant. I said, "You're the man." and Ronnie said, "That was some Cornell Dupree." Right then we became friends and very comfortable with each other. Later that day, Ronnie said, "I feel like we've known each other for a long time." Ronnie really is a warm person and knows how to put you at ease.
Next was "Rogent" and Ronnie played great, but left a lot of space, probably for Jeff. We took a coffee break watching snooker on the TV and the house lady said, "Jeff called, he's on his way." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Jeff shows up, we say hello and after 10 minutes or so, Jeff says, "Let's hear what you've got." We go down to the studio, Ronnie shows Jeff his Eric Clapton Strat and a Buddy Emmons record I gave him. Jeff went to his car and got his Strat and then gave us a pedal steel demo thru Ronnie's Fender Hot Rod Deville and amazed us. After the pedal steel demo, I asked about a certain two string bend and Jeff showed me how he does it. You can see the picture with Ronnie looking on at my website (www.jimmymcintosh.com). Later I thanked Jeff for the guitar lesson, and he laughed. We then played "Mama Funk", Jeff was moving to the groove (good sign) and asks, "Who wrote this?" "I did", I said. It gets to the guitar solo, Jeff nods his head in approval and asks, "Who is the guitar player?" Again I said, "I am", again he gave a nod of approval and said, "That tune doesn't need anything", so we pulled up "G-Spot". I asked Steve to dump my solo and said, "If you want to play on this, your welcome to." Jeff was tuned to E-flat with 11 gauge strings and then tuned up to E. We listened once and Jeff played one take, he was brilliant. To stand 3 feet away while Jeff Beck was playing was unbelieveable. It was obvious Jeff is one of the great musicians of our time for any instrument. Right up there with Coltrane, Charlie Parker and all the greats.
Jeff had played through Ronnie's Fender Hot Rod Deville straight in and asked Steve for a little more gain. Steve pushed the channel two button and that was it. Jeff played his own Strat throughout the session. While Jeff was playing Ronnie goes over to Carol (my wife) and says, "You can't believe how f**king lucky we are, Jeff won't play on anything." After the take you hear Ronnie and Carol clapping and yelling.
We then went to "It Was A Virus" and Jeff came in right after my solo on the right channel, first take. I said, "Steve, you should take me off and have just these guys on it." Ronnie said, "No, we love your playing" which was nice to hear. Next we moved to "Rogent" which Ronnie and Jeff like the chord voicings to. I played the first solo, Jeff the second solo with fills throughout and also the long solo at the end vamp. There was a lot of interaction musically. I wanted to have a live feel on the record so it worked out great with everyone playing great and straight through without punch-ins. Not to repeat myself but the fact that there was no rehearsal, one quick listen, and everything played in one take with no edits or punch-ins, shows what incredible musicians Jeff and Ronnie are and wonderful people as well!
We took a break and Ronnie and Jeff began telling stories which was great. Ronnie showed Jeff his Baritone guitar and Jeff played some amazing stuff on it with Ronnie jumping on his DW drums and grooving with him. Ronnie asked if I had anything else and I said I have "Slave" but that's a Stones tune. Ronnie grabbed his Baritone and played it in one take.
At 6:00PM a couple of cars were coming to take Ronnie and us to the Royal Festival Hall where Ronnie was a guest with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. Jeff followed us in his late 90's Corvette. When arriving, fans were roped back, screaming for autographs. Ronnie was very gracious introducing Carol and I to Bill Wyman as his friends. Charlie Watts was there hanging out backstage and was very nice. Ronnie told Charlie that he played on my record and I mentioned to Charlie that Ronnie sounded great and did everything in one take. Charlie said, "That's Ronnie." Carol and I stood in the wings with Jeff listening to the show. There was an intermission and Jeff said to Ronnie, "Let's go back to your place and play on some more tunes." By the end of the show everyone was tired so that didn't happen. Too bad. At the show Jeff told me, "You sound bloody good." That was a great feeling, having your musical hero give you a thumbs up.
Anyway what a day, the session all happened between noon and 6:00PM and going in Ronnie's limo to the show was a real treat. We went back to our hotel after the Bill Wyman show, amazed at what an incredible day it had been.
Titles aren't usually this prophetic but when Jeff Beck was asked by movie soundtrack maestro Hans Zimmer to come to Florida in 1990, little did Jeff know that even before he whammied one string that it was going to be a session to remember. Nestled in Fort Lauderdale,FL was a quiet recording venue named New River Studio. Instead of flying in commercially Jeff chose to fly a small plane from wherever he was in the States at the time. I wonder if he saw the irony of being asked to do music sequences for a crash and burn sport like NASCAR with what he encountered over the Florida skies that day. Jeff recounted how it was absolutely frightening to be up in the air during one of Florida's notorious afternoon thunder and lightening storms and that he would never fly there in a small plane ever again.
During the actual ensuing sessions themselves Jeff ran a gamut of musical styles as he would in a very short time do again for both The Pope Must Die and Frankies House although in nowhere near the volume of work remembering that this was Hans Zimmer's show. Nonetheless Jeff is on no less than 13 of the original 29 scene vignettes that range anywhere between a few seconds and four and a half minutes that comprise the all too infrequently heard and much edited final product when watching the movie.
Flashback to 1991.........I was very disapointed when the "official" soundtrack came out due to the fact that it was all vocal selections by other acts recordings used by Zimmer in bits of the movie. NO JEFF!!!! (Ed Note: THis too would be a reoccurring theme.....namely the Shaquille O'Neal basketball movie Blue Chips from Jed Lieber and Nile Rodger's score.) Undaunted I contacted New River Studios and made friends with the engineer that had been there for the sessions. He said he would gladly make me a copy and send it off. That never happened as disaster struck four days before he made his journey to their vaults to retrieve the score. Paramount Studios had come to pick that very score up to take back to LA to their vaults. Getting in touch with Paramount was about as fruitless to break through Hans Zimmers' own PR barrier. I gave the search up for quite sometime.
A few years later I'm trading letters with our Italian corespondent Filippo Rostoni who told me of a European single release of a David Coverdale tune backed with the B side "Car Building" by none other than Hans Zimmer! However at the time there was no Amazon, no E Bay, and a run of all the Euro record shops yielded zero. I could only imagine that this was an authentic instrumental track from the Days of Thunder Movie.....After all it was about cars!
My friend Filippo emailed me last month to tell me he was going to all the Ronnie Scott's Jeff shows in London.(He is also promising us some in depth nightly report along with Dean Opper) I remarked to Filippo that it had been a long time and I wondered what happened to "Car Building"? Filippo being the fastidious researcher that he is googled about a zillion ways and lo and behold........a link to a Bootleg real McCoy version of what we had been searching for years. Plus it was complete with 29 track name listings and a color picture cover taken from the movie video cover!
I trembled as I put the CD into my Bose Wave and like an idiot I skipped right to "Car Building" It serves me right that track ironically enough is one of the ones without Jeff! However not to worry.....Our stratocaster master is indeed on this disc. Only heard slightly on the first few scenes as a back drone to the hint of the main twelve note repetitive grand anthem. Track 5, "Cole's Round" features Jeff Beck doing the most tasteful shred ever! Remember this was the early nineties when that genre was at it's height with all the mile a minute scaled and pentonic Satriani, Vai, and others' runs. Jeff came on this track as if to say "Hey guys, a lot of those techniques came from me and I can do this too." Tracks 16 and 17 feature dark forebodin whammy bends that precede "Frankie's House" and were later generation experiments of the previously released Tony Hymas's "Oyate" bits. Tracks 18 and 25 feature beautiful and all too fleeting pure soft blues runs. Finally Track 28 "Victory Lane" leads both the race winner Tom Cruise in the film and our hero Jeff Beck around the final lap after the victory as Jeff rings each of the twelve note main anthem with ever so slight whammy vibrato as proud as his seven years earlier unreleased Vangelis Chariot OF Fire Flash Sessions piece or six years prior Grammy award winning Jan Hammer's "Escape". Jeff Beck's contribution to this winning NASCAR racing movie leaves me with one quetion.....Hey Jeff, where's the milk? Hah!
Be seeing you!
From Michael de Albuquerque, Tuesday, November 27th........
There is no noticeable missed harmonic tonight…and this is particularly remarkable because Jeff went at it like a tiger-absolutely fearless,which is how
we like him-GO for it..and if you miss occasionally-no problem..it is the spirit we like.Vinnie stays very close to Jeff, musically,at all times-if Jeff has any
timing discrepancies ,Vinnie covers those as well-supplying endless subtleties to emphasize power chords or a small phrase.Tal has put a lot of delightful
musical improvisation into the well known set pieces- a very freshening ingredient.
At the end of the show the audience was still stunned by the quality of the performance-and many of them, like me, come away very grateful that we had
the chance to witness the great man at such close quarters-AND-playing better than ever.
This review appeared on the 'This Is London' website...
This gentleman from the Times of London went to the show and gave it four out of five stars...
This review is from The Guardian, again four out of five stars.....
Wednesday, November 28.....
We recieved a note from our friend, Mike Hull, who was there to see this show. He mentiond what Dawn referred
to about what calls a 'jack-ass' hopping up onstage after Jeff played 'Brush With The Blues' to shake his hand...
this event actually played into Mike's favor the next night as we will see.
Now this is pretty funny, a review from the most clueless music critic ever...from the UK Standard. The guy obviously
has never heard Jeff's music before, no idea what it's all about. Goes to Ronnie Scott's which is a 'jazz' club but
frequently has artists that aren't straight ahead jazz....I remember Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy played there back in
1986, Hendrix played there in the 60's, and expects to hear 'jazz' or whatever he thinks 'jazz' is.
Thursday, November 29th......
Another report we can pass on.....this comes from Brian May's website, www.brianmay.com.
This is a postscript to an entry on 'Brian's Soapbox'.
Wow, we also hear that Jim McCarty was there with newest Yardbirds guitarist Ben King whom
Jim introduced to Jeff.
Friday, November 30th.....
Saturday, December 1st.......
Be seeing you....
Imogen Heap was the guest artist this night....we believe the setlist was the same as the November 30th setlist when she appeared again.
Cause We've Ended As Lovers
Behind the Veil
You Never Know
Blast From the East
Good-by Pork Pie Hat (Intro) ~ Brush with the Blues
Blanket (Imogen Heap song)
A Day In the Life
Rollin' and Tumblin' (Imogen again)
Where Were You
What an irresistible opportunity-to see Jeff gig in a tiny club-I have been a fan of Jeff’s work from Yardbird days.I loathed “Hi Ho Silver Lining” and the group he had with Cozy Powell-(rubbish material)..BBA got even worse..then…Blow By Blow…Jeff found his feet..using his guitar to sing a melody..which he continues to do to the present day-I credit Tony Hymas with providing some great melodies to assist Jeff in this quest….now to the 27th…I sat centre stage about 15ft back….first impression-what a fantastic sound in this club,the new PA with sound coming out of the ceiling is outstanding. Second impression-the warm up band are being allowed to use the Beck Band bass Amp and Keyboards-nice vibe.Now…..a ludicrous cockney accent introduces the main event…On comes our boy….63 years old-in great shape-black rooster hairstyle…Souix necklace with General Custer’s front teeth hanging from it..bracelets,.thongs etc-all dressed in black-thanks Jeff for getting dressed up for us-fantastic. He grabs the white Stratocaster and goes straight into “Beck’s Bolero”.Right from the word go-everyone looks happy…and although the stage is small Jeff does his showy flourishes within about a 15 ft span,left to right….As he starts “Cause we Ended as Lovers”…I am concerned for him as this is a very delicate piece..he is very exposed…and the audience is right on top of him….it turns out to be one of the best versions he has done in recent years..and Tal’s bass solo is exquisite…a superb addition to this tune. The atmosphere in the band is a pleasure to watch….Jason is always grinning from behind the keyboards… playing a beautiful chord-looking at Jeff,as if to say-“Right-what are you going to do with That!!?”Tal smiles..and smiles even wider when Jeff looks at her… Vinnie reserves the occasional smile for Tal-otherwise very concentrated…A musical note-Jeff had an echo box on his amp top, which he switched on and off himself where usually the effects appear as if by magic(ie the sound engineer puts it in phrase by phrase)…a couple of pedals on the floor….and the legendary refusal to check his tuning until very late in the set- no matter,he bends it into tune or shortens the notes.
At the Beck and call of a rock legend
Brendan Quinn, London Lite 28.11.07
Charismatic: Jeff Beck let his guitar do the talking
Jeff Beck last played in the UK more than three years ago - his first gig since 1990 -
so the run of five nights at Ronnie Scott's is one of the most sought-after tickets in town.
He may not have hit the big time as consistently as fellow Yardbirds Eric Clapton or Jimmy
Page, but his trail through rock 'n' roll is mythic enough - this the man who invented
heavy metal, for God's sake. And unlike many of his contemporaries, he has never stuck
to the template, and as a player and a personality, he's contrary enough to stay permanently
Once you've got past seeing a rock legend in the kind of high-definition close-up that
a place like Ronnie Scott's can afford, the impact of his playing, its sheer energy and
imagination and freshness, is remarkable.
These are no reheated moves; this is the real thing. Backed by a cracking three-piece band
(including an almost prepubescent looking bass player, Tal Wilkenfeld) Beck is a commanding
and still charismatic presence.
Aside from the evening's guest Imogen Heap performing her song Blanket, he let his guitar
do the talking, kicking off all manner of tightly structured riffs that open out into the
kind of visceral, fluid music-making that other guitarists can only dream of.
From the raw hard-rock riffing and complex, angular jazz structures to the keening, animal-like
cries he taps out from the neck of his guitar, Beck's performance exceeds expectations.
The evening's highlight comes as he closes the set with an instrumental version of Day In
The Life by The Beatles, and by the endeven the man himself seems taken aback and utterly
delighted by how well it has all turned out.
From The Times
November 29, 2007
David Sinclair at Ronnie Scott’s, W1
Perhaps the greatest living guitar virtuoso, and certainly one of the most mercurial, Jeff Beck
stepped back into the spotlight at the start of a brief residency at Ronnie Scott’s. The first of
six shows in five nights found him revisiting the most jazz-influenced areas of his back catalogue
in an unusually intimate environment. And while he directed the great majority of his efforts towards
the audience seated on the left hand side of the stage, even those of us who were required to
contemplate the great man’s backside for most of the evening were left in little doubt of his
continuing mastery of his instrument.
With his thatch of implausibly dark hair making him look more than ever like Nigel Tufnel of
Spinal Tap (for whom Beck was said to have provided the template), the 63-year-old guitarist
began with Beck’s Bolero, his calling card from the 1960s, when it was released as the B-side to
his evergreen (but long disowned) hit Hi Ho Silver Lining.
From there he navigated his way round the sinuous riffing of Billy Cobham’s Stratus, followed by a
deliciously bluesy reading of Stevie Wonder’s Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers from Blow By Blow,
the 1975 album that first sent Beck travelling in this jazz-rock direction. Combining astonishing
technique with a blissful feel for nuance, he exercised an almost supernatural control of his fretboard
and pickup controls. Playing with the fingers and thumb of his right hand, not a plectrum, he was able to
vary tone and texture in the twinkling of an eye while turning the most complex of sequences around
on the head of a pin.
During the course of an entirely instrumental set but for two numbers featuring the guest vocalist
Imogen Heap, Beck was accompanied by Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jason Rebello on keyboards and the
bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, who looked as if she should have been at home doing her homework for school the
next day, but played like a monster. It proved to be one of the best bands even Beck has assembled. The
collective pièce de résistance came when Colaiuta set up the super-fast double bass drum rhythm of Space
Boogie and they all piled into the number with such supreme skill and exuberance that even the excruciatingly
awkward time signature couldn’t prevent it from swinging. There was a standing ovation as the show ended
with a version of the Beatles’ A Day in the Life, which rolled the pleasure dial all the way up to 11.
Ronnie Scott's, London
John L Walters
Thursday November 29, 2007
It is dinner time in Soho, but Ronnie's seems set for a fusion version of the Mad Hatter's
Tea Party. Stage right, lips pursed over his keyboards, is the Dormouse-like Jason Rebello.
Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, sticks a-blur, is the high-speed March Hare. Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld,
solemn and wide-eyed, is Alice. And our host - eloquently dominating every conversation - is
guitarist Jeff Beck. The band is good, but it is Beck, on the first of a five-night, six-show residency,
that we have come to hear, for every Beck-ish variation on the blues, rock, jazz, metal and Indo-jazz
idioms he commands so effortlessly.
Beck appears to be thinking about the timbre of his guitar all the time, whether playing the fluid,
appealing melody to Nadia, the hard-rocking riffs of Led Boots, or one of his endlessly inventive solos.
Wilkenfeld is a suitably self-effacing foil, keeping it low and dirty for Brush With the Blues, and high and
McCartney-ish for Day in the Life. When she solos in Cause We've Ended As Lovers, Beck beams in a
It is enlightening to see a master drummer such as Colaiuta in a small club. Slower tunes such as Blanket (by guest
singer Imogen Heap) and Behind the Veil provide a chance to see how he does it. Other guests - Joss Stone, possibly
Eric Clapton - are rumoured for the remaining five shows.
The band treat numbers such as Blast From the East the way Cern scientists construct accelerators: faster = better
By the end of the last gig on Saturday, there is a chance that the breakneck tune Scatterbrain will actually end before
Joss Stone was the guest artist this night....here's a report from JBAS member Dawn (hope she don't mind we nicked it)
Now I'm not used to writing reviews so bear with me on this attempt
to give you a flavour of last night:
After a really crowd-pleasing warm-up from RS Allstars (more info on
that if anyone wants to know) our Jeff came on wearing black
waistcoat with white back, over white vest, black trousers and the
same ethnic choker he sported at Crossroads. Speaking to people in
there it seems that every night will be different but this is the set-
list from last night:-
• Beck's Bolero
•Breath Eternal (ed.)
• Stratus –seemed to be a lengthened version
• CWEAL – included a great Tal solo and Jeff made sure all
attention was on her
• Behind The Veil – some new twists in here
• You Never Know
• Blast from The East
• Then a Vinny solo leading into
• Led Boots – what a fantastic version, loved that
• Angel Footsteps – dropped his slide on the floor, retrieved
with a mock gesture of relief, not sure the ending was as sharp as
usual but who am I to judge!
• Scatterbrain – this started with a new `boogie ` type intro
which I thought was going into Big Block but it was a smoking, well re-
worked rendition of Scatterbrain with some playing around with Jason
who took it for a while.
• Pork-Pie Hat/BWTB, again somewhat re-worked. During this Jeff
took a guys drink of the front table and helped himself,
unfortunately the guy he picked was somewhat the worse for drink and
took it as an invite to join Jeff causing a `heavy' to have to place
him back in his seat. (This happened a little later too, but an
accompanying female took charge – there's always one!)
•Space Boogie (ed.) – knew this so well, and it's a regular, but mind blank-
sorry – had a new bit from Jason in it too
• Big Block
• At this point Jeff introduced the band and then introduced
Joss Stone (along the lines of "its my pleasure - but enough of my
personal life – welcome Joss Stone")
• People Get Ready – with Joss Stone, her only number
• A Day In the Life
• Where Were You – a false start as the rest weren't ready for
• Blue Wind
The set was all familiar stuff, only the 2nd one I hadn't heard
recently, and although I knew it well I can't name it – maybe Space
Boogie, I can't be sure now, but it had some new treatment.
There was lots of laughing and joking going on, a friendly and
relaxed feel to the whole thing. Jason was wondering in and out
before the club opened, Tal was walking around the club when she
wasn't on stage (we met in the ladies!), Vinny exited for more than
one ciggie, and Joss Stone was also outside afterwards for the same
reason. In the audience too (they announced) was Claude Nobs (ed.),
Director of the Montreaux Jazz Festival, and Robert Plant was on the
It was a very small stage area, down on a level with the premier
tables, if you have these seats you'll be within 10ft! Jeff was the
only one moving around, Tal was clearly on orders to stay on her spot
back in the corner between Vinny and Jason, and the 5 cameras were
positioned at either side, two to the front and in the back corner
of the club. They announced following one of the several `no
photography' warnings that they were making a live DVD and this would
be available to buy afterwards.
RS's is a very small venue, the tables are cramped and for those who
ate I hope they could taste what it was because it's so dark you
couldn't see. The first come first seated thing is not exactly true,
there were only 2 people in front of me in the queue and I was seated
at the back but elevated – it was actually a good view and still only
about 25 ft away and it suited me as I had planned on sneaking my
camera out, but that turned out to be impossible. However, if you are
going and you don't like the seat they give you go back to the desk
and ask for a change. Don't let Ralph put you off, he seems to get
his kicks from standing there making off the cuff comments – in fact
he was highly visible all evening. Also, maybe Jeff had read the
review of Tuesday as he was careful to go out of his way to play to
those on his right too, even going off stage and out of the light to
do so at times, but yes to his left was a good view.
And for those wanting some technical info - Jeff had his usual Strat,
Marshal amps and some sort of pedal at the back – bet you're all
sorry you asked, but I am female so you got the full clothing run-
down first LOL
No stars for Beck
By Jack Massarik, Evening Standard 29.11.07
Just not jazz: Jeff Beck's gig at Ronnie Scott's was more for middle-aged air guitarists
re-living their sad youth Friends had encouraged me to check out the new Jeff Beck, hinting
that this wealthy Strat-screeching icon had been sharpening his jazz chops in his recent
years. They were wrong. What I heard before I stalked out - warp-volume
thunderers like Beck's Bolero, Cause We Ended, Blast fom the East and Scatterbrain - was
nothing but unadulterated rock.
He's the greatest guitarist in the world!" a companion protested as I headed for the exit.
Well, Scott's manager Leo Green may believe so, but that screaming post-Hendrix machismo,
executed on the uppermost six frets of the guitar, will never cut it with
the jazz world. The packed crowd who stayed put looked like beady-eyed, middle-aged
air-guitarists, re-living their sad youth. Jeff's shrill howls might have earned one star
for the efforts of keyboarder Jason Rebello, female bass-guitarist Tal Wilkenfield,
a pouting teen-fantasy figure, and Vinnie Coliuta, a heavy-handed drummer hired by
Herbie Hancock for stadium jazz-rock excesses. But no, that decision faded when their
version of Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat morphed into a crude 12-bar thrash that
ignored all Charlie Mingus's subtle substitute chords.
Joss Stone reportedly leapt on stage near the end to join them in People Get Ready but she
was welcome. Putting music like that on this stage was an insult to a half-century of
world-respected jazz tradition.
This guy is barking mad!
This evening has been dubbed 'Lad's Night'...here's an excerpt from Mike Hull's letter to me which explains why. He and his wife travelled all the way from Massachusetts to see two shows and they were sitting at a table right in front of the stage. He told me one of the manager's of Ronnie Scott's, Tracy (whom he thanks profusely), gave him and his wife the table because she recognized him from the night before and the fact that he had witnessed the 'jack-ass' jump onstage. Guess the folks at Ronnie Scott's were now trying to seat the tables closest to the stage with people they knew could control themselves! See, good behavior has it's benefits.
After Jeff finished the first set, he introduced Jimmy Page in
the audience along with Brian May, Tony Iommi, Robert Plant and
Claude Nobs. The crowd gave the obligatory polite clapping. Jeff
then stepped up to the mike and Introduced " an old friend who knows
his way around a Strat" and Eric Clapton walked on. Needless to
say the crowd was very exited. Eric had the same gray Strat and
the Fender Twin from the Crossroads show. They played two songs,
Muddy Water's 'You Need Love' and Willie Dixon's 'Little Brown Bird'(ed.),
it was the most amazing musical experience I have ever
had. They did some awesome trading off during those tunes, just
beyond belief! After they finished Eric took a seat at the side of
the stage and watched Jeff close the night with a version of Where
Were You that brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't believe what I had
witnessed. And to top that, Tracy then came over with signed CD's and
shirts from Jeff. People think I'm crazy for these journeys, but this
is one I will never forget.
P.S. Mind you ... after seeing Jeff Beck last night in terrifying form heading up a sensational
band at Ronnie Scott's ... I might just have to give up Guitar Playing! Jeff is utterly, brilliantly
innovative and dangerous, still ahead of us all after all these years ... I had to give myself
a good talking-to on the way out, to remind myself that we all have our roads to follow,
etc., etc ... In Jeff's hands, the guitar becomes almost an entirely new instrument ... he is quite
unlike anyone or anything else we have ever seen ... the guitarist's guitarist ... the Guv'nor !
(I wrote a song to commemorate this fact ... remember?) It reminds me of seeing Jimi Hendrix,
all those years ago. As a privileged spectator, having being thrilled, shocked, stunned, and nearly
obliterated, you have to one of two things. Give up, or go home and practice a LOT!!!
More surprises tonight. Prior to the start of Jeff's set the host of the show comes out and tells the audience you're not seeing one Jeff Beck show tonight but two! The first set will be a 'Big Town Playboys' set. The host explains about Jeff's love of Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup and says he recorded a CD with BTP 'about ten years ago', actually it's more like fifteen but oh well. Then the host says'And this material has never been performed live before', wrong again, Jeff and the BTP did a show in Paris in April of 1993. But who cares! The BTP set was seven songs....not all Gene Vincent songs though.
Crusin' With The Devil - Gene Vincent
Crazy Legs - Gene Vincent
Train Kept A Rollin' - Burnett
My Baby Left Me - Elvis
Matchbox - Carl Perkins
Baby Blue - Gene Vincent
?? 12 bar sax/guitar instrumental
Then a regular set followed with Imogen Heap again guesting.
Cause We've Ended As Lovers
Behind the Veil
You Never Know
Blast From the East
Good-by Pork Pie Hat (Intro) ~ Brush with the Blues
A Day In the Life
Rollin' and Tumblin'
Where Were You
Double header this night....shows number 5 and 6 in the line up. Imogen was the guest both shows, setlist same as November 27th (we think).
From Michael de Albuquerque, Tuesday, November 27th........
There is no noticeable missed harmonic tonight…and this is particularly remarkable because Jeff went at it like a tiger-absolutely fearless,which is how we like him-GO for it..and if you miss occasionally-no problem..it is the spirit we like.Vinnie stays very close to Jeff, musically,at all times-if Jeff has any timing discrepancies ,Vinnie covers those as well-supplying endless subtleties to emphasize power chords or a small phrase.Tal has put a lot of delightful musical improvisation into the well known set pieces- a very freshening ingredient.
At the end of the show the audience was still stunned by the quality of the performance-and many of them, like me, come away very grateful that we had the chance to witness the great man at such close quarters-AND-playing better than ever.
This review appeared on the 'This Is London' website...
This gentleman from the Times of London went to the show and gave it four out of five stars...
This review is from The Guardian, again four out of five stars.....
Wednesday, November 28.....
We recieved a note from our friend, Mike Hull, who was there to see this show. He mentiond what Dawn referred to about what calls a 'jack-ass' hopping up onstage after Jeff played 'Brush With The Blues' to shake his hand... this event actually played into Mike's favor the next night as we will see.
Now this is pretty funny, a review from the most clueless music critic ever...from the UK Standard. The guy obviously
has never heard Jeff's music before, no idea what it's all about. Goes to Ronnie Scott's which is a 'jazz' club but
frequently has artists that aren't straight ahead jazz....I remember Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy played there back in
1986, Hendrix played there in the 60's, and expects to hear 'jazz' or whatever he thinks 'jazz' is.
Thursday, November 29th......
Another report we can pass on.....this comes from Brian May's website, www.brianmay.com. This is a postscript to an entry on 'Brian's Soapbox'.
Wow, we also hear that Jim McCarty was there with newest Yardbirds guitarist Ben King whom Jim introduced to Jeff.
Friday, November 30th.....
Saturday, December 1st.......
Be seeing you....