Jeff Beck: Rock'n'Roll Party (Shock DVD)

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Jeff Beck: Sleep Walk
Jeff Beck: Rock'n'Roll Party (Shock DVD)

Excellent though the recent Jeff Beck, Imelda May and others CD of this concert was -- a salute to the late guitar player and designer Les Paul -- this DVD film of the concert (and then some) is a leap ahead, and not just because the live show by these people is such fun, but because the extra footage is engrossing.

At some point you may meet a person who was there when these people played at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York and if they say "the best sit-down live show I've ever seen" believe them. Here's the supporting evidence.

What the CD of course misses is the whole intimate look of the event and while Darrel Higham might pass as a Bill Haley doppelganger he delivers like a slim'n'sexy Elvis/Gene Vincent. The drummer Stephen Rushton proves a receding hairline and string tie are no disadvantage when it comes to bringing down a nail-hard backbeat, and of the glamorous Imelda May seems beamed in from a much more exotic planet than our own.

The show also has an arc which the truncated CD can only hint at -- from rock'n'roll and rockabilly through Fifties swing then down into torch songs of the era, off into Hawaiian music (Beck on Sleep Walk) and back up with Gary US Bonds (who looks in alarmingly good shape), Brian Setzer (actually the weakest link here) then Higham again leading the band through The Girl Can't Help It and Shake Rattle and Roll.

And all the while Jeff Beck plays beautiful and/or stingingly appropriate guitar -- and only needs to change instruments a couple of times despite the diversity of material.

But that's just the half of it: The extra footage here includes Beck showing his guitar collection (Yep, totally Tufnel but also fascinating as each has a story, not the least the plastic one), there is backstage stuff, Beck playing with Les Paul, and Paul in '83 in concert showing off his "little black box" delay-repeat invention which has now become a commonplace.

220px_Blow_by_blowLive concert are often leaden affairs of the "guess you had to be there kind" but this is a rarity. You feel ike you are and the 27-song repetoire of changing moods will keep your attention the whole way.

And I wouldn't be surpised if you sat right through the interview with the self-effacing Beck who talks about cars, guitars, his relationship with Eric Clapton ("he hates me") and George Martin who produced his wonderful album Blow By Blow (and the follow-up Wired) in the early Seventies.

Excellence made visual -- with bonus features actually worth watching.

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Costa Botes - Apr 5, 2011

I've just been watching this. I'm a lifetime fan of the ever surprising, evergreen Mr Beck. But he just keeps getting better. The DVD starts steady, and becomes more jaw dropping as it goes along. Not just the guitar playing. It all screams class, talent to burn, and good taste. What a bonus so soon after the sublime Live at Ronnie Scott's.

Blair Morgan - Apr 5, 2011

Really looking forward to this - I made my wife and young family sit down & watch a bit of the Ronnie Scott's DVD as I thought this was some of the most mind blowing guitar playing I had ever seen. (Don't think they got it which might suggest it is a guy thing) How he gets that tone & range of colours by such a primitive technique (no pick, usually 1 x guitar & seemingly free of any effects) is astonishing.One of the great pioneers of the electric guitar who is often overlooked.

Patrick Houlihan - Apr 20, 2012

I have in recent times seen Beck,May & Higham,Trombone Shorty and Setzer.
I prefer Beck to Clapton.May is a sweetie who has a fascinating Irish speaking voice.Higham is an excellent modern Elvis replica.Shorty is the latest star out of N.O.This DVD is essential watching for any fans of this genre.Setzer does not get much limelight here,but having seen him at Easter with the Rockabilly Riot,I can attest that he is a dazzling guitarist,but he needs the space to demonstrate his prowess.Setzer in his field is as good as Beck in his.
As for Sleepwalk,Back,Setzer,Marvin,Kirchen are my fav performers of this standard.

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