What do you do when you’re the greatest living guitarist around and you’re about to celebrate 50 years of your music career? You book the Hollywood Bowl for a performance and invite a bunch of your friends to make guest appearances. (Spoiler Alert! Rod Stewart being Rod Stewart. He was a no-show.)
That’s what Jeff Beck did on Aug. 10, 2016. And now, that’s documented in Jeff Beck: Live At The Hollywood Bowl, a DVD+2CD and Blu-ray+2CD set.
In his typical manner of never resting exclusively on his past achievements, and being most interested in his current project, the proceedings begin with “The Revolution Will Be Televised,” one of three songs he eventually plays from his recent studio effort, “Loud Hailer.”
That’s immediately followed by a few selections from his time in the Yardbirds. Jimmy Hall tackles the lead vocals on the three numbers that include “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul.” While the album doesn’t project this, on the DVD Beck looks as if he wants to rush through this pop period of his life even if it does show off his early use of fuzztone effects and Indian-influenced style.
Seeking more challenging musical pastures, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer gets his wish when he reunites with keyboardist Jan Hammer for an exciting history lesson from their timeless ‘70s albums – “Blow By Blow,” “Wired” and “There and Back.”
He then recreates his Kennedy Center Honors collaboration with Beth Hart on “I’d Rather Go Blind” and trades solos with his idol, Buddy Guy, on “Let Me Love You Baby” and Billy F. Gibbons on ZZ Top’s “Rough Boy.”
Steven Tyler gives the proceedings a jolt of energy when he joins Beck for “Train Kept A Rollin’” and then gets a shot at another Yardbirds classic, “Shapes of Things.”
A grand finale of Prince’s “Purple Rain” allows everyone to show up but the more proper ending took place just before this with Beck offering his take on the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” While it’s nice to see his peers and collaborators together to honor the recently deceased Purple One, the ending should have remained on the man of the hour who, once again, gives us a good reason to celebrate any time he plays the guitar.