Let's face it: Jeff Beck is the real bad boy of rock 'n' roll. He still plays the meanest guitar on the planet. And at 73, he looks fantastic – much better, dare I say, than Mick Jagger, who is slightly older.
Beck celebrated 50 years of rock n' roll in 2016 with a star-studded show in Los Angeles out in various configurations Oct. 6 as Jeff Beck Live at the Hollywood Bowl that features some reunions with old friends. And the guy still rocks up a storm.
The show starts off on a jarring note with “The Revolution Will Be Televised,” with vocals by Rosie Oddie on a bullhorn from his 2016 album “Loud Hailer,” a weak attempt to be contemporary. But then he falls into more familiar territory with a string of songs from his days with the Yardbirds --”Over Under Sideways Down,” “Heart Full of Soul” and “For Your Love” with his excellent band, that includes Jonathan Joseph on drums, Rhonda Smith on bass and Carmen Vandenberg on rhythm guitar, and sung with Jimmy Hall, whose vocal range very much resembles Yardbirds lead singer Keith Relf. With Beck playing with as much energy and verve as he did in those early years, the songs sound tremendous.
The set continues with more oldies from the Jeff Beck Group days – two instrumentals “Beck's Bolero” and “Rice Pudding” and another vocal from Hall on “Morning Dew.”
Things get a little more progressive as keyboardist Jan Hammer, who Beck played with in the past, joins him for a string of songs – “Freeway Jam,” “You Never Know,” “'Cause We've Ended As Lovers,” “Star Cycle” and “Blue Wind.”
A string of friends joins Beck for the last part of the show – Beth Hart on “I'd Rather Go Blind,” Billy F. Gibbons on “Rough Guy,” Steven Tyler on “Train Kept a Rollin'” and “Shapes of Things.” The band throws in a version of the Beatles' “A Day in the Life” before Beck, Hammer, Hart, Hall and Tyler end the show with a superb tribute to Prince with “Purple Rain.”
One might have wished for maybe Rod Stewart or Jimmy Page to make an appearance. But make no mistake – this is no oldies show by someone going through the motions. Beck still does know how to play a mean guitar. And Jeff Beck Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a great memento of that night in Los Angeles.