Graham Reid | | 1 min read
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.
Live 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.
Like the sound of this? Then check out this.