Jeff Beck has been one of my favorite guitar players as long as I've had favorite guitar players, and I've gone to see him practically every chance I had over the years (see below for a rundown). He's never been disappointing, but this night, the last night of a US tour, he was in particularly fine form. I also had the best vantage I've ever had, standing maybe twenty or thirty feet away from the center of the stage. The band was the same, and the setlist was very similar to that captured on the recent DVD release Jeff Beck Performing This Week at Ronnie Scott's. They played like they were having more fun than anyone else on Earth, and maybe they were. It must be a cool feeling to be able to play music at such a level. Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta was particularly on fire (he was also the drummer for the Five Peace Band concert a month earlier). (For a neat article on Vinnie, and some great anecdotes about his abilities, see this 2003 article from Drum! magazine.) And Tal Wilkenfeld is a phenomenal bassist, with amazing skill, musicality, and maturity from someone in their early twenties.
We all enjoyed it. It was the first time I'd taken my kids out somewhere to see live music with me since I dragged them to Yoshi's one Sunday afternoon many years ago to see Bill Frisell (they were bored stiff then, but this show they dug).
A word about the Fox Theater... it's an amazing facility, a revitalized 1920's movie theater that closed its doors in 1966 and stood there rotting and disintegrating for 42 years until it was remodeled and opened early this year. See the Fox Theater website for some photos and the history of the place.
My Jeff Beck shows prior to this:
- I first saw Jeff Beck play with the second Jeff Beck Group, the one that recorded Rough and Ready, at Carnegie Hall in NY in the spring of 1972.
- Next time was also in NY at the Academy of Music, with the Jan Hammer Group as his backing band, in the winter of 1976, I believe.
- Next I saw him at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park in LA with the There and Back group with Tony Hymas on keys and Simon Phillips on drums (can't remember who the bass player was) in 1980.
- There was a long gap until I next saw him, at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA with Tony Hymas on keys, Terry Bozzio on drums, and Pino Palladino on bass, in 1994, if I remember correctly.
- Next was at the Paramount Theater in Oakland with Jennifer Batten on guitar, Randy Hope-Taylor on bass, and Steve Alexander on drums, in 1999.
- Next, at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, CA with Tony Hymas on keys, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Pino Palladino on bass, in 2003.
- Next, at the Warfield in San Francisco with Jason Rebello on keys, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Pino Palladino on bass, in 2006.