British guitar legend Jeff Beck blew away the sold-out crowd at the Centre in Vancouver last night, performing his Stratified renditions of everything from the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" to The Wizard of Oz's "Over the Rainbow". But his amazing licks wouldn't have seemed nearly so fine without the superb backing of a crack band composed of former Prince bassist Rhonda Smith, keyboardist Jason Rebello, and monster drummer Narada Michael Walden.
Beck performed selections from his latest album, last year's Grammy-winning Emotion & Commotion, but also went back in time to the '70s Blow By Blow period for his gorgeous adaptation of Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended As Lovers". Another highlight was his uplifting rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing".
For his encore Beck returned to the stage clutching a brownish Les Paul, then performed a swinging tune in tribute to its creator, whose playing in the '50s first inspired Beck to take up music in the first place. Thanks again for that, Mr. Paul.
I realized while Beck spun his magic that I'm one very lucky dog, having seen him perform in five different decades. I saw him in the '70s on tour with Aerosmith at the Seattle Kingdome, in the '80s with Rod Stewart at the Pacific Coliseum, in the late-'90s at the Queen E. Theatre, in 2000-something at the Commodore, and then again last night.
If you've never seen Jeff Beck live, I suggest you put it on your bucket list. Or at least go out and buy a copy of Wired.
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