Thursday, 14 June 2018

Jeff Beck

13th June 2018

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

This one was very much, I acknowledge, one of my Box-Ticking exercises: attending a gig by a musical legend, before one of us dies.  Not that I am aware that such a thing is imminent for either of us, you understand.

I doubt if, before this gig, I could have named more than a handful of Jeff Beck songs.  High Ho Silver Lining (of course) I knew, but I also was aware JB had disowned the thing decades ago, so clearly that one was not going to be on this evening's menu.  There was that other Sixties one loosely based upon Ravel's Bolero, and also his Led Zeppelin homage from the 1976 Wired album Led Boots.  And that was sort of it.

So I genuinely expected I may have attended this gig totally unfamiliar with any of the music performed.  But, of course, I had not realised that Beck, never a particularly prolific songwriter, generally peppered his concerts with his own arrangements of well-known tunes.

Best of these by some way was his main set closer A Day in the Life; Beck's phrasing as he played the vocal lines really rather beautiful.  I also enjoyed his take on Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing, and also that of the old Muddy Waters' standard You Shook Me - the latter coincidentally covered by Led Zeppelin on their debut album, utilising an arrangement suspiciously similar to that Beck had released on his Truth album the previous year.

Tonight's rendition of Superstition lacked the tightness of Steve Wonder's original clavinet riff I felt, and was further let down by vocalist Jimmy Hall pretty much shouting his way through the performance.  Wikipedia (which has occasionally been known to be accurate) relates that Beck had actually been involved in the song's original writing and recording.  Which was news to me.

But, whilst these covers were certainly welcome, just as much of the gig consisted of (no doubt technically stunning) instrumentals which, whilst I found moderately diverting, just left me just a touch cold.

Beck himself, although full of self-deprecating comic mannerisms on stage (sniffing his shaved! oxter after one particularly frenetic tune), spoke only on a couple of occasions: once to introduce the band, and again to thank us for “having them”.  Or at least I think that was what he said, for he was an awfy mumbler.  Clearly a chap who prefers to let his guitar do the talking.

Jeff Beck - Glasgow June 2018

Rhonda Smith

Vanessa Freebairn-Smith

Vocalist Jimmy Hall enjoying a break from his Wet Willie.

Vinnie Colaiuta

Hmmmm.....that hair?

Jimmy, Vanessa and Geoffrey.

Jeff Beck and bandmates - Glasgow 2018

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