Fireworks

Jeff Beck - 'Live In Tokyo' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     October 07, 2015    
 
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A must for fans of the man and his music.

As a big fan of instrumental guitar music and of Jeff Beck's playing in particular, his 2008 'Live At Ronnie Scott's' became the benchmark against which all other similar DVD's were judged. The personalities, the performance, the special guests and the club ambience all came together to make something that still hasn't been beaten, so much so that I found his subsequent 'Rock And Roll Party' show pretty unwatchable. 'Live In Tokyo' features a lot of the same music as the Scott's show, this time on a big stage in a huge hall, and whilst his previous band of keyboard player Jason Rebello, bassist Tal Wilkenfeld and drum legend Vinnie Colaiuta are no longer with him, their replacements are pretty special too.

There is a clarity to Beck's live sound that I haven't heard anywhere else and that comes over on this recording as the short, sharp 'Loaded' gets things underway. As usual Beck has chosen a simple piece to get everybody warmed up and follows it with his version of Jimi Hendrix's 'Little Wing' which is warmly received by a Japanese crowd who surprisingly shout things out during the gaps between songs.

Beck begins to really shine during 'Hammerhead' but it takes a while to get used to the keyboard parts being played on a guitar synth by the excellent Nicolas Meier, who also shows his prowess on the flamenco guitar and during his own composition 'Yemin'. Beck is jaw-droppingly note perfect on the classics 'Stratus', 'Where Were You' and 'The Pump' as well as during the emotional pairing of 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' and 'Brush With The Blues'.

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Drummer Jonathan Joseph and bassist Rhonda Smith are both great finds and shine on 'Led Boots' and 'Big Block', but it's Beck's subtlety that makes potentially corny solo versions of 'Danny Boy' and 'Corpus Christi' not only tolerable, but immensely enjoyable. His short re-working of The Beatles 'A Day In The Life' shows what a great tune it is and the set comes to a close with a riotous 'Rollin' And Tumblin'', with encores of the inevitable 'Cause We Ended As Lovers' and the only vocal track of the evening, the rhythm section co-vocal on the Funky 'Why Give It Away'.

There isn't much in the way of extras other than the band talking about each other and a trip through the set-list and why each song was included, but the ninety minute concert is enough to show why Jeff Beck is a master of control, technique and musicality. 'Live In Tokyo' is a must for fans of the man and his music.

Phil Ashcroft

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