The date: 9/11. The place: Manhattan-New York. The purpose: Jeff Beck is in town.
As I take the New Haven line train down to Grand Central Station, I am reminded of this day two years ago. There is a certain reverence in the air. Lots of cops and firemen. It's a feeling that kinda hits ya in the stomach.
We approached the bright neon lights of Times Square, walking the streets of New York City. The electricity of NYC always rejuvenates you, as it drains your wallet.
But tonight, Jeff Beck was in town. In a nutshell, to me, Jeff Beck is the greatest living guitarist. He plays hard. He squeezes sounds out of his instrument that only a master can do. As Jeff warns, "I love it when people hear my music but can't figure out what instrument I'm playing."
Rarely does he tour. He likes to stay home in England and work on his hot rod cars. But tonight, he had three Stratocasters lined up and a rack of Marshall amps heating up.
B.B. King's hip little lot of land in Times Square is called the B.B. King Blues Club and Grille. (www.bbkingblues.com) And the food smells great! The place is packed wall to wall. The Jeff Beck crowd is a nice mix of people that really appreciate music. Hard core rockers.
"I play like the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible. That's the point now, isn't it?" Jeff muses.
He walks out unannounced, straps on his guitar and begins to wail. From the first note that came from his brain to his fingers to his guitar to his amp to us...we were all connected. Techno-old-school screaming ferocity roared from his Marshalls. Lord I love Jeff Beck!
Tonight was his last show in the States before heading back to England and a performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Jeff was touring this summer with the 12th Annual B.B. King Music Fest'. He was in New York on 9/11. There is some significance there. I think he mumbled something about 9/11 as he was leaving the stage. That was all he said all night. Quiet guy.
It was a power trio. Guitar (Jeff), keyboards (Tony Hymas) and drums (Terry Bozzio). Tight. Streamlined. Fast. Hard. Powerful. Just the facts. I don't Jeff Beck said a word all night. Just ripped from one audio experience into another. And he played some of the old stuff too. Stuff like "People Get Ready", "Freeway Jam", "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", and he even did the Beatles' "A Day In The Life." Such an awesome interpretation too.
Jeff Beck ripped throught cuts from his "You Had It Coming" release (which he won his third Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental for the song "Dirty Mind.") He also showcased the great music from his just released "Jeff" on Epic Records. Please pick up a copy of this CD! You need it in your life. Trust me. It will grow on you.
Jeff Beck, one of the greatest electric guitar players of all time, and you hardly ever hear his stuff on the radio. It just goes to show you the sad state of affairs radio is in today. You have to sift through the noncommercial college radio stations, or better yet, Sirius Satellite Radio or XM. I'm sure Jeff Beck is out there in space somewhere.
Jeff Beck was born in Surrey, Englad on June 24, 1944. At age eight, he was made to practice piano two hours a day until, "I ripped one of the black keys off," Jeff recalls. In the 60's he was in a band called The Yardbirds. A band that spawned guitar heroes Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. As Clapton put it, "With Jeff, it's all in his hands."
From his first two albums, "Truth" and "Beckola" with Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck has amazed fans and critics alike, making us believers. He turned down an offer to join the Rolling Stones and continued to march to the beat of his own drummer. Just go out and start buying Jeff Beck CD's...beginning with the beginning.
This night was special. He was pouring sweat half-way into his hour-long set. Maybe it was longer. Not long enough. Man, what a great show. I've seen Hendrix, Miles and Jeff Beck...I think this makes four times for Jeff.
In a world laden with mushy, no-balls, harmony singin', choreographin', pretty boy ballads...Jeff Beck stands tall. Do your ears a favor. Feed them. www.jeffbeckmusic.com .