Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck’s three-night appearance at this venue had been a long time coming. About three years ago he was scheduled to appear there and then cancelled. Tickets were sold and refunded; it took all this time to get him back. It was worth the wait.
Beck and his current band of top-notch musicians delivered a tight, electrifying set. A rhythm section of Jonathan Joseph on drums and Rhonda Smith on bass easily kept pace with Beck’s flying fingers. Nicolas Meier on guitar laid a good foundation to the sound as a whole, and the great Jimmy Hall (from the band Wet Willie) came onstage to lay down vocals and harp for some of the tunes in the set.
Jeff Beck’s career is now in its sixth decade. His musical output has gone through many changes since his days in the Yardbirds and various incarnations of the Jeff Beck Group. His current material, for the most part, can be considered a sort of high-tech, guitar-based jazz/rock fusion with some touches of blues thrown in. Those expecting to hear a career-spanning set may have been slightly disappointed, but he did touch upon some of his popular material from years ago. His cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” was very well received. Some Beck standards usually performed at every show; “Morning Dew,” “Brush With the Blues” and “Going Down” still come off as fresh as if they were new additions to the set list. His instrumental arrangement of the Beatles “A Day In The Life,” with its changing moods and tempos and Beck having his guitar perform the vocals is one of the highlights of the set. Not to be overlooked is his newer material, including the Middle Eastern-influenced “Yemin” and the soon to be released “My Tiled White Floor” (with Rhonda Smith performing a superb vocal) are just as relevant as anything else from his past.
But it’s really all about his guitar playing, technical wizardry coinciding with the warmth of melody. This man can get sounds out of an electric guitar like no one else on earth. He’s a master of harmonics, sometimes ringing out notes that appear to even surprise himself. Jeff Beck is one of a kind.