On Saturday Son-of-Furtheron and I went to see Jeff Beck at The Royal Albert Hall.
Firstly the RAH is a stunning venue, my son had never been there and in the evening sunshine it looked great and we wandered around the outside marvelling at the architecture and also commenting the change in the monarchs status from then to now... can you imagine something like being built if Prince Philip died? Whatever was built would it still be there over 130 years later?
Anyways to the gig. The current Jeff Beck band is simply a collection of four of the greatest musicians about currently. Joining Jeff are Jason Rebello on keyboards, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Tal Wilkenfeld on bass. This is the same band on the recently released Jeff Beck at Ronnie Scotts - so if you want to find out more seek that CD/DVD out which won my live album of the year award last year by the way. All of the backing musicians are virtuosos in their own right, Tal Wilkenfeld is the young bass prodigy of the moment. However she is so tiny the bass looks taller than she is but it doesn't stop her demonstrating amazing dexterity getting around it. Her solo in Cause We've Ended as Lovers was brilliant - very Jaco like/inspired but none the worse for that.
The style is very much jazz rock but with so many styles and genres thrown in it's a variatable pot-pourri of guitar instrumental genius including rock, jazz, blues and reggae at the minimum. Over the years Jeff's style has continued to evolve and grow and in my humble opinion he is one of the most inventive players about in the world at the moment. He is a master of control, phrasing and melody. His right hand is constantly shifting position for the tone he wants, he uses the vibrato on his signature strat constantly and not just in a random dive bomb or wobble it's an intrinsic part of the tune either guiding the note to adding an embellishment. He also is constantly controlling his tone via the vol control. He was using a set up with two old looking Marshalls with 4x12 cabs and I noted that there was no micing up, the whole show was from stage volume. He must be a sound man's nightmare... :-)
Highlights included Cause We've Ended as Lovers, Nadia, A Day in the Life (yes the Beatles track) and in the encores Where Were You? Which is just an absolutely stunning track - you could here a pin drop through that, a guy behind us just said "Beautiful" as it finished and I couldn't agree more with that statement. Also Jerusalem was given the Beck treat and after the first run through Dave Gilmour joined him on stage for a brilliant duet on that famous hymn clearly chosen for it's RAH Proms connection. Then we had a sing a long to Hi Ho Silver Lining which sounded like a pub band - not sure if that was the intent but it was a laugh anyway.
So Jeff Beck - probably at his very best showing that the best musicians can continue to innovate and be more than relevant as they reach Old Age Pensioner status. I can't recommend him highly enough.