Review: Jeff Beck
(O2 arena, September 21st 2009, review by Geoff Winston)
Beck (above, with fan) was brilliant – and, totally unexpectedly, playing his favourite rock and roll, ‘from his record box’, for the main part of the concert, with a snappy outfit who, as Beck said, really live the music Nominally it was singer Imelda May’s band, with Jason Rebello and a brass section with intent, which seamlessly modified its line-up to suit. Beck ‘s guitars were also changed to fit the material he was playing. Amongst others, he made mention of ‘Sir’ Danny Gatton, a reference to the raw, tense and pared-down sound that Beck could equally deliver.
Beck’s true rock and roll playing was just wonderful. He put so much in to the playing that it added another dimension to a usually well-trodden path – every note and sound was considered, special and instinctive at the same time – and sometimes it was what Beck didn’t play that made a musical passage so special. He gets stuff out of a guitar that you don’t even know is there, yet it is never out of context – he has total respect for, and understanding of the music. And put it this way – it was privilege to hear him play Rock Around the Clock! The best it’s ever going to sound – he gives it so much life.
And there was a spell of his more abstract composition which really makes you wonder – how is this possible? He extracts notes and sounds you didn’t think you were going to hear. Beautiful playing. We could have heard more of it.
Beck – a truly great musician – a consummate musician – he knows the repertoire, can play anything (the range was extraordinary – ballads, soul, rockers, Over the Rainbow … and then gives it the 10 or 20 or, actually, 100 percent more without you realising it – and very modest about it, too – and his version of Goodbye Pork Pie Hat gets you very close to the Pearly Gates! If BB King (above) reckons he’s the man, well …