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Jeff Beck in Hollywood

By Junkman, On-Air Personality
Thursday, April 20, 2006 @ 10:13 AM


At the House of Blue

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It seems to me that when I listen to someone describe a particular musician who is really good at what they do, I usually hear the same descriptions. “He totally rocked”. “They were unbelievable”. “She was the BEST”. Or, the most overused one of all, “He is a GENIUS”. I have been guilty of these clichés myself, from time to time. After all, I attend a lot of concerts and write reviews as part of my job. I just tend to hear people say the same things when they are blown away by a performance.

Every now and then I will see a performance that leaves me near speechless when it comes to describing it. Jeff Beck’s recent show at the House of Blues in Hollywood was one of them. This man is THE master of the Stratocaster, and does so many techniques that only he can do, he should have a patent on them.

Opening with “Beck’s Bolero”, from his 1968 release “Truth”, Jeff Beck, sporting his trademark off-white Fender Strat, led his excellent band through a career retrospective that was thoroughly enjoyed by a sold-out crowd. Consisting of drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Pino Palladino, and keyboardist Jason Rebello, the band was as tight a unit as you can imagine. These guys were hand picked by Beck, no doubt, and did justice to the recorded versions of many of the numbers, to the delight of the crowd, who knew what they wanted to hear.

From his Roy Buchanan influenced and Stevie Wonder written take on “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”, from 1975’s hugely popular “Blow By Blow” recording, to the treatment of “Angel (Footsteps)” from 1999’s “Who Else” release, there was something from just about every phase of Jeff Beck’s solo recording career represented. I’m sure you could nit-pick and find a few records that were not represented, as I overheard many in the crowd do during the evening, but over all I was impressed.

Looking EXACTLY the same as he has for the last 40 years or so, sporting the same Nigel Tufnel from “Spinal Tap”meets Jane Fonda in “Klute” hair-do and sleeveless t-shirt and jeans look, as he has since I’ve been following him, he seemed to be having a great time of it onstage with such a receptive crowd in front of him. During “You Shook Me” and “Morning Dew” original vocalist Rod Stewart’s vocals were done by another hand picked singer, local artist Beth Hart, who did an outstanding job throughout the evening. This woman could belt it out with all the soul of Stewart’s earlier work-or many of the best black blues singers for that matter. She is wonderful.

This crowd was here to witness technique for the most part. I, and many in the crowd, stared open mouthed, as Beck tore through numbers like “Behind The Veil”, “Big Block”, and “Two Rivers”, from 1989’s wonderful “Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop” CD. Sometimes using a pick and sometimes his thumb, Beck produced sounds all his own, really there is nobody that sounds like him on guitar.

I first witnessed him in 1976 on the “Wired” tour, and that CD was well represented. His rhythm section of Colaiuta and Palladino shined on numbers from that recording, including “Led Boots”, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, and the set closing “Blue Wind”. Beth Hart returned for an encore- a blistering version of “Going Down”, from 1972’s “Jeff Beck Group” LP, that had many in the crowd screaming her name, producing a huge grin on Jeff Becks face, something you don’t always see from such a masterful musician as he is.

Finally, to end the show, he played an all-instrumental version of the classic “Somewhere, Over The Rainbow”, in true Beck style, complete with ample use of his volume knobs. And just like that they were done. If I had to whine about not hearing a number I would have liked to, it would have to have been “Freeway Jam”, from the “Blow By Blow” recording, because hey, we were in Los Angeles after all! I think I have played that on my car stereo after a million “SIG Alerts”. Oh well, just a thought, it was his show, not mine.

After the show, many milled about, thrilled to have witnessed one of only six shows on the tour. I ran into a fellow journalist and, after discussing what a master of the guitar Jeff Beck has been, for so many years, he exclaimed, “He is a genius”. I smiled and agreed. They totally rocked. SETLIST:

  • BECKS 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
  • ANGEL (FOOTSTEPS)
  • I AINT SUPERSTITIOUS
  • PEOPLE GET READY
  • SCATTERBRAIN
  • LED BOOTS
  • DIAMOND DUST
  • GOODBYE PORK PIE HAT
  • BRUSH WITH THE BLUES
  • BLUE WIND
ENCORE:

  • GOING DOWN
  • SOMEWHERE, OVER THE RAINBOW


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