JEFF BECK — Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's (review)

JEFF BECK — Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's album cover Live album · 2008 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Performing This Week....Live at Ronnie Scott's is a showcase of the energy and dynamic guitar playing of a legend.

Jeff Beck is an amazing guitarist that rivals all the great guitarists as being one of the more bluesy, and subtle in terms of lead breaks and virtuoso speed picking. He is more of an interpreter of music rather than a writer. Influences of John McLaughlin and The Beatles are prevalent in this performance. Beck prefers to make his guitar sing than play as fast as he can and show how many notes in a second he is capable of. Every track is full of incredible precision guitar riffs, but the emotion he pours out into the music is the main drawcard. He doesn't speak at all during the concert performance here, instead allowing his guitar to do the talking. The guitar in fact takes the audience on a powerful journey of some of his most beloved pieces and some wonderful surprises. As I have heard very little of the man's work, apart form the classic albums, this live album served as a delightful slice of the brilliance Beck is capable of.

Highlights abound such as the emotive A Day In The Life, which is an incredible interpretation of The Beatles' classic. Mention should be made of the riffing bluesy Stratus, that stays in the head with an infectious melody. The guitar swells that wail in solitude are sheer beauty on Cause We've Ended As Lovers from the celebrated 'Blow By Blow' album. Behind The Veil has a reggae feel and some quirky little licks that drive it. You Never Know blazes away with a funky bassline and keyboard stabs, with the lead guitar always present as the mouthpiece for the music. Nadia sounds more experimental, like Steve Vai in fact the way it sings with sustained bends and whammy bar strikes. Blast From The East is superb with a pulsating riff and tons of embellishments with jazz fusion drums. Led Boots is drum heavy and the guitars are more aggressive; the crowd recognise it as a classic from 'Wired' for good reason. The melancholia of Angel is followed by a strange little guitar solo and then some fast hi hat work on percussion is built up with loud crashes until Beck lets loose with super fast fret melting finger work. The bass tries to keep up on this and it is fun to hear the progressive nuances at play here, including some razor sharp time changes.

There are some slow blues on the next track, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat-Brush With The Blues which is a dreamy piece, based on the 'Wired' track, followed by melody driven rock on Space Boogie. This track has some accomplished piano work too with a strong improv jazz feel. Big Block is full on blues with amazing dexterous guitar playing including superb hammer ons and sweep picking. This is followed by the aforementioned The Beatles track, and then after a well deserved thunderous applause it culminates in the solo Where Were You, reminding me of the beauty of Deer Hunter Theme, and this has sweet harmonics and emotional sustained notes bent out of shape. The crowd are deathly silent, perhaps mesmirised by this man's talent. At the end they applaud and Beck then thanks the crowd and hopes to see them again sometime. I wonder where I was when this man was at his peak.

Hendrix, Vai, Satriani and Malmsteen have always been favourite guitarists, and now I have to add Beck to the list. He is an incredible guitarist that must be heard by anyone interested in strong instrumental guitar playing.
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