Live At The Hollywood Bowl DVD, Blu-ray and DVD + 2CD [Cat. No. EREDV1299, ERBRD5337 and EAGDV090 respectively] from the incomparable Jeff Beck.
This release captures the moment, in the summer of 2016, when Jeff Beck celebrated 50 years of his musical career with a special concert at the famous Hollywood Bowl. A fantastic line-up of guest artists joined him on stage and the show includes “For Your Love”, “Beck’s Bolero”, “’Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”, “Big Block”, “Over Under Sideways Down”, “A Day In The Life”, “Blue Wind” and more!
The setlist reached back to his first recordings with The Yardbirds in 1966 and came right up to date with tracks from his most recent album, Loud Hailer. As the evening progressed, he was joined by many of the great musicians he has collaborated with over the years, including Billy F. Gibbons, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Hall, Jan Hammer, Beth Hart and Steven Tyler. The show climaxed with the guests all joining forces for an exhilarating encore performance of “Purple Rain” in tribute to Prince, who had passed away a couple of months before the concert.
I have to confess that unless they are part of a band that I actually follow, I rarely would be interested in going to see solo guitarists live. Clapton, Beck, and other guitarists that achieve legendary status, together with modern acclaimed heroes like Bonamassa, I would studiously avoid. I prefer guitar solos to sit comfortably within a song structure and not override and overpower the individual tracks. Until this release, I had heard the name but short of a couple of his better-known songs (and both featured on this DVD), Jeff Beck‘s work has been largely unknown to me. However, this DVD release did appear to offer up something new, as it also featured some musicians whose musical back catalogue actually does form part of my own personal musical collection.
This gig to celebrate Beck’s long 50-year career did surprisingly impress me. The track listing, I understand, offers up a predicted service of Jeff Beck’s most well-known song staples. However, what sets these apart is the varied delivery and unique talents of the individual artists and also Beck himself. Beck’s crowd interaction as atypical of many musical legends is virtually nil, but he prefers to let his instrument, in the words of one of his special guests on this DVD, “Let the music, do the talking”. Beck’s playing is pure and sublime, not overtly technical nor flash, but at times he does illustrates that he can also do that side of musical creation also.
This DVD has not resulted in me rushing out and snapping up the entire musical back catalogue of John Mayall for example, but it has actually tempted me to dip my toes and taste a little of Jeff Beck’s other musical offerings over the years. It did sufficiently impress me that much at least.