Jeff Beck is playing the Nokia Theater tomorrow. We're going to go out on a limb and assume that it will feel a lot different than his shows at The El Rey a few months back.
Beck's 14 US dates fall just days after his first studio release in 7 years, Emotion & Commotion. He probably doesn't need to tour in order to sell albums, his fans are his fans, they always have been and they probably always will be. Seriously, the guy was a Yardbird,--come on. (Thought for some the real evidence of his greatness lies in his breathtaking appearance in Twins.)
Emotion & Commotion has surprisingly less over-the-top guitar parts than expected from the guy Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap is based on. In its final incarnation even the number of songs with vocals nearly doubled--songs like Lilac Wine and There's No Other Me were recorded before he ever considered adding vocals to them at all.
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The cover art is a great big pile of amazing. A majestic eagle clutching a guitar in its talons as it soars down through the sky, the sun cracking through clouds, and the tree line in the distance. It would look great in a big gold leaf frame in the background of a Fox News show. Once you open the case and remove the CD an image of Jeff Beck's unbuttoned shirt in all of its sepia-tone glory is revealed. The amazing just keeps coming.
"Hammerhead," which was written with jazz-fusion drummer/keyboardist Jan (Miami Vice) Hammer in mind, is possibly the cheesiest song on the entire album. Aging B&T dudes everywhere are probably going to share it with the world through the power of their car stereos and retracted windows.
With less than 45 minutes of tracks, however, Beck's latest feels absurdly short. His versions of Corpus Christi Carol, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Lilac Wine are downright chilling. His collaborations with Joss Stone on I Put a Spell on You and There's No Other Me are killer.
Bottom line: It's Jeff Beck, he's a guitarists' guitarist, he's easy to make fun of, and he's fricking rad!