Jeff Beck Concert
Made the trip down to the Palais in St Kilda for a Jeff Beck concert, his first in thirty years, this will be his second tour of Australia.
I was in the BB section which is about two thirds back from the stage, which had its benefits and deficiencies. The benefit was mainly that I wasn't too close to the P.A., the sound level while relatively high was not a nuisance. The deficiency was that it was hard to see what Jeff was actually doing.
A person I work with at Sage Technology also made the trip down and had the opposite experience: He was in the third row from the front where he could see everything Jeff was doing, but was very close to the P.A. We did a lot of comparing of notes next day at work.
A young man, on a badly distorted acoustic guitar and who offered hardly any variety in his set was the support act. I personally think he went to the wrong gig as the contrast between the two acts was extreme. I asked my work colleague about the support act and he said he walked out after the second song. I hung in hoping for an improvement that never eventuated!
The first song was "Beck's Bolero" which got the show off to a fine start.
The lineup is the same as appears on the Crossroads 2007 DVD.
The sound was great except for one thing: The bass drum was too loud completely masking what Tal Winkenfeld was playing. You really could only make out her work when she got a solo spot.
I knew about half the material that was performed, but that's not surprising as I stopped buying Jeff's recorded works after 'Wired'.
Jeff's tone is just superb, just the way I like it: Clean from top to bottom, and sustained, with hardly any distortion. He sure works the volume knob and the Tremolo Arm as only a master could, the control he has is just amazing.
In a technical sense, the highlight of the evening was a few minutes of a slide technique I have never seen before. The slide is placed over the middle pickup of his Stratocaster giving a very high frequency. I was so far back I didn't see what he was doing, but once I did understand, his placement of that slide was unerringly accurate. No frets, no markers, just got it right for the whole section and there were quite some leaps in the chord structure to traverse, and all in tune! Simply amazing.
Each of the musicians were given a chance to 'do their own thing' at various points in the evening. Maybe I'm being excessively picky, but the drummer seemed to lack drive. There was plenty of bass drum but there seemed to be a bit of a dead zone around his snare drum.
I was a little amused at Jeff's tuning method: Get one string right and then tune the rest to that, and then fine tune it as you perform the next song. How old fashioned! That guitar sure gets a thrashing Tremolo Bar wise, I'm amazed he only tuned it once.
Two encores at the end.
No vocals, except for a band introduction before the encores. I was entertaining the thought that maybe 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' might have been performed which would have brought the house down.
The only way you could have improved the show (apart from smashing the bass drum microphone) would be to have a singer to perform some of his earliest material, that would have been great and given Jeff a chance to 'duel' with the vocalist.
In comparing this show to the show he did thirty years ago It's quite clear that Jeff's now the focus of the show. In the first tour, the Jan Hammer band were just too over the top and Jeff seemed to be an appendage to the band instead of the featured player.