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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Jeff Beck Live In Tokyo – 2014 - DVD (audio review only) - New release Review - Stilladog - Guest reviewer

My old pal Stilladog had a chance to listen to the new Jeff Beck DVD audio and his review follows. We have both been Beck fans for a long time so I was thrilled to see his review:

The recordings take place at the Tokyo Dome City Hall in Japan on April 9th of this year.  These Japanese recordings were the first to feature Beck’s new backing band of Jonathan Joseph (drums), Nicolas Meier (guitars) and Rhonda Smith (bass). The setlist includes some material from his new, as yet unreleased, studio album as well as material from nearly all of his previous releases. In contrast to Beck s previous videos done in small clubs, Live In Tokyo was filmed in a major concert arena and has a very different, more spacious feel.  Beck has released a number of live albums from Japan over the years and he obviously feels comfortable there.

The set begins with a tune from his most recent EP, Yosogai, entitled Loaded.  It is a perfect warm up for the alternately beautiful and soaring instrumental version of Jimi Hendrix’s , Little Wing, which follows.

A new song, You Know You Know, is next and I am interested in hearing this version contrast with the studio released version assuming it is included on the next release.  This is followed by three of Jeff’s live standards, Hammerhead from Emotion And Commotion, Angel (Footsteps) from Who Else!, and Stratus which I believe he has never done in studio.

Yemin is another new song which borders jazz with a middle eastern touch as you might imagine from the title.  Then the band reaches back to the Guitar Shop days for the beautiful ballad, Where Were You. Reaching yet further back into the extensive Beck catalog they find The Pump and You Never Know from There And Back sandwiched around an exquisite medley consisting of a 1:10 intro of Charles Mingus’ Goodbye Porkpie Hat and Brush With The Blues.  Probably my favorite cut on the album.

Beck’s incredible fretboard control is on full display on the classic ballad, Danny Boy, also originally released on Yosogai.  Then it’s a return to dig yet deeper back to the mid 1970s of Blow By Blow and Wired for the screamers and crowd favorites, Blue Wind and Led Boots. 

Throughout, the incredible tone and of Jeff Beck is mesmerizing.  The set continues with a blend of rock, jazz, with flashes of blues and funk including The Beatles’ Day In The Life (now a Beck Live standard as well), Big Block, Rollin’ and Tumblin, and Corpus Christi Carol.

The set ends with an absolutely perfect Rendering of Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers. For an encore the band performs Why Give It Away from Yogosai, the only tune on this release with vocals.

This is pure Jeff Beck.  Better than the Ronnie Scott’s release.  No special guests. Just Jeff and his hand picked band.  While Jimmy Page has dropped off the face of the earth and Eric Clapton has become a product of the music marketing machine (and about as interesting as his last album, an ‘Old Sock’) this is an awesome display from the lone virtuoso rock guitarist that remains creative and relevant SIXTY years hence!  Very highly recommended.  That is all.         
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