Jeff Beck Revs up His Past and Present with Once in a Lifetime Show
By CRAIG HAMMONS – Jeff Beck has been out on the road promoting his new album Loud Hailer. However, the show at the Hollywood Bowl would be different, as Beck was celebrating 50 years of a legendary and diverse career. Helping him celebrate along with other special guest would be no other than the mighty blues legend Buddy Guy.
Not wasting any time Buddy Guy came out smoking with “Damm Right I Got the Blues.” At 80 years old this blues marvel shows no signs of slowing down. He went thru his usual medley of songs in his arsenal and ventured out into the audience singing and playing his guitar like he sold his soul to the devil. Even with a shorten set he was able to deliver the title track “Born to Play Guitar” of his new album of the same name. After a bit of “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Boom Boom” he then went into his signature song “Someone Else is Steppin’ In.” Before leaving the stage he showed us how Jimi Hendrix did it and played with his teeth on a bit of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” Buddy Guy is one badass that has paid his dues and lives the blues.
After a brief video montage looking back at Jeff Beck’s career the guitar God took the stage with his white Fender Strat at his side ready to deliver the goods. Opening with “The Revolution Will Be Televised” from his new album Loud Hailer caught the audience by surprise. But the new vocalist Rosie Bones engaged the audience immediately by moving through the crowd while signing through a megaphone.
Just when I was wondering when he would be stepping back in time Jimmy Hall a southern boy who was the original front man for Wet Willie and sang on Beck’s 1986 album, Flash came out to sing a few Yardbirds songs. Beck and his band ripped thru “Over Under Sideways Down,” Heart Full of Soul” and “For Your Love.” It was great hearing this songs again from the man who made them timeless gems.
Next it was time to get on to some tracks from Beck’s first solo album Truth. Beck and his band shined on “Beck’s Bolero” and “Rice Pudding”. He then took a moment to show his appreciation by saying “I’m thrilled to be here and thank you for coming” before going right into “Morning Dew.”
Now it was time for a couple of songs from his instrumental album Blow By Blow and Jan Hammer came on to do “Freeway Jam” and a track written by Stevie Wonder “Cause We Ended as Lovers.” This segment of the show really showed how Beck’s finger and fret work cannot be duplicated. After ripping it up on “Big Block” he then walked up to the mic and said “I’m so happy to have Beth Hart with us tonight.” This girl is the real deal who sings her heart out and brought the house down with an emotional version of “I’d Rather Go Blind.”
Before I could catch my breath out comes Buddy Guy to sing “Let Me Love You Baby.” Beck then said staring across the stage at one of his guitar heroes says “it doesn’t get much better than this”. After a couple more tunes from Loud Hailer it was time for the next surprise guest of the night.
Beck walked up to the mic and introduced “somebody you are sure to recognize” and out walks Billy Gibbons who points to Beck and says “it will be another 50 years before you get another guitar player like this.” These two guitar slingers then ripped it up and exchanged solos on ZZ Top’s “Rough Boys” before getting into a little bit of funky blues with classic “16 Tons.”
The next guest to grace the stage tonight was the majestic Steven Tyler coming on stage to sing the old Yardbirds song “The Train Kept A Rollin” also made popular by Aerosmith in the ’70s. Tyler was the perfect singer to sing “Shapes of Things” which had the crowd in awe as we all knew we were seeing something special in rock and roll history.
As the evening was coming to a close Beck took center stage to do his astounding version of the Beatles
“A Day in the Life.” His guitar playing touched us all as the entire Hollywood Bowl came to their feet to give this rock n roll legend the standing ovation he deserved.
The night ended with an encore of Prince’s “Purple Rain” which had Beth Hart singing lead and Tyler backing her up. Beck delivered a show full of spirit and emotion. A good portion of the audience like myself have followed Jeff Beck’s career from the beginning and realize when it was all over we experienced something more than a concert but a once in a life time rock and roll memory that will last with us forever.