Venue: The O2
Country: United Kingdom
JEFF BECK & HIS BAND
Jeff Beck – guitar
Jason Rebello – keyboards
Rhonda Smith – bass
Narada Michael Walden – drums
ERIC CLAPTON & HIS BAND
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Walt Richmond – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
This was the first of six 2010 "Together and Apart" Concerts by Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton and lasted just shy of three hours. For their numbers together, Jeff joined Eric and his band on stage. The duo performed a second show at The O2 before jetting of to New York City for two shows at Madison Square Garden (18 and 19 February) followed by two more shows in Canada (21 and 22 February).
From the Express.com (Daily and Sunday Express Online):
ERIC CLAPTON AND JEFF BECK: THE ROCK GUITAR MASTERS
PAUL Lester explains why last night’s electric performance from Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck deserves pride of place in music history.
ERIC Clapton and Jeff Beck are widely regarded as two of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, arguably rivalled only by Jimi Hendrix. But Hendrix died 40 years ago this September, which makes Clapton and Beck the greatest living exponents of the electric guitar.
All the more reason, then, for rock fans to be excited about the prospect of seeing these great instrumentalists in a rare performance together. In fact, at the O2 Arena in London last night, a capacity crowd of more than 20,000 did exactly that.
The sense of anticipation was understandable. Here in an auditorium, sharing a stage, were Beck and Clapton: the musicians respectively known by their long term fans as “the guitarists’ guitarist” and “God”. You would never know to look at him that Jeff Beck has been performing publicly for nigh on 50 years.
With his sleeveless white shirt, distressed, black jeans, boots and shades he doesn’t look that different from the figure who inspired a generation of young guitarists back in the 1960s.
As well as one of the characters in the rock parody movie Spinal Tap. Backed by an orchestra and such notable session players as Jason Rebello and Narada Michael Walden, Beck eased himself gently into his set.
Known for his dazzlingly quick runs along his guitar fret board, Beck didn’t disappoint but it wasn’t all fast and furious. He was joined at one point by Irish songbird Sharon Corr while Josh Stone, barefoot and smiling, provided another young female foil for a version of I Put A Spell On You. “I’ve got it all going on here boys,” Beck said with an impish grin as he launched into a startlingly reworked version of The Beatles’ A Day In The Life.
Eric Clapton, although the same age as Beck, cut a more mature figure with his beard, glasses, dark jacket and smart blue jeans. Seated with an acoustic guitar he looked casual, the elder statesman of British blues. Standing next to me upstairs Brian May, guitarist for Queen, certainly seemed impressed as he looked down at his influential forerunner on the stage picking his way delicately through a slow gentle version of his most famous song, Layla.
Having played their own individual sets the crowd finally got what it had really been waiting for all evening: Beck and Clapton together on stage, duelling like old time guitar slingers. After Becks’ introspective set and Clapton’s mellow blues, the pair joined forces, picking up the pace for such classics as Shake Your Money Maker, You Need Love and Becks biggest solo hit Hi Ho Silver Lining, all of which confirmed their giant reputations and iconic status. The rapt crowd lapped it up.
It was an incredible show made all the more significant by the weight of history these two influential musicians brought with them.
The music industry is notorious for its back-stabbing and severed alliances; all the more reason, then, to celebrate the ongoing friendship of these two rock giants and the mutual respect they enjoy.
As Clapton has said of Beck: “He is the most unique guitar player and probably the most dedicated. He’s either fixing his cars or playing the guitar. There’s no in-between for him.” Yet they have only performed together on stage a couple of times, for the odd song at a charity event, which made the O2 shows (Saturday and tonight) even more special.
There, they showcased their own individual styles (Clapton’s more elegiac, emotional blues-playing contrasting superbly with Beck’s flashier, more dazzlingly dexterous techniques) during their own sets, which also featured guest artists such as Joss Stone and Sharon Corr.
There followed a joint performance that proved how beautifully their unique approaches could dovetail together. The crowd ranged from hardened, aged rockers ecstatic to see their heroes side by side on a stage to youngsters delighted to be sharing a room, albeit a cavernous one, with such trail-blazing icons.
Eric Clapton hardly needs an introduction. He is the only person inducted on three separate occasions into America’s prestigious Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, first as a member of pioneering Sixties British bands the Yardbirds and Cream, then as a solo performer with hit albums and singles spanning several decades, from Layla (which he recorded under the alias Derek & The Dominoes) to Wonderful Tonight.
Petrolhead Jeff Beck (he’s mad about classic hot rods) boasts an equally impressive CV. Another Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee and Clapton’s replacement in the Yardbirds, he is held in such high esteem by his peers that his list of credits as guest artist reads like a Who’s Who of rock: Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Queen’s Brian May, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bowie, even Morrissey, have all invited Beck to add to their recordings and concerts (he played at Bowie’s final Ziggy Stardust show). No wonder the Rolling Stones asked him to join the band before settling on Ronnie Wood.
That they are still enjoying success over four decades after they started is testament not just to their staying power and commitment but also to their continued relevance in a business that favours novelty and youth.
Their desire to keep pace with changing fashion is a matter of record and their commercial standing is strong: Beck’s 2008 DVD Live At Ronnie Scott’s went platinum in the US, Canada and Japan and he has just released an album, Emotion & Commotion, produced by Trevor Horn.
As for Clapton, who famously appeared on the Beatles’ White Album and wrote Layla for George Harrison’s ex-wife Pattie Boyd, his recent Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD went multi-platinum in the US.
Last night, the screams from the euphoric throng could be heard for miles around. Not that the guitarists will spend long resting on their laurels. “I don’t think I’ve got close to making the sort of music that I’m capable of,” said Beck who, like Clapton, is 65.
He added: “I don’t think anyone’s ever heard me play." There are probably 20,000 people out there who would beg to differ.
During Jeff Beck’s Set
12 Piece Orchestra *
Sharon Corr – violin **
Joss Stone – vocals ***
Jeff Beck (Approximately 45 Minutes)
01. Eternity’s Breath
03. Led Boots
04. Corpus Christi Carol * (from Jeff’s forthcoming album)
05. Bass solo by Rhonda Smith
06. Hammerhead * (from Jeff’s forthcoming album)
07. Mna Na Heireann * **
08. People Get Ready
09. Big Block
10. There’s No Other Me *** (from Jeff’s forthcoming album)
11. I Put A Spell On You *** (from Jeff’s forthcoming album)
12. A Day In The Life *
Eric Clapton (Approximately 60 Minutes)
01. Driftin’ – acoustic
02. Layla – acoustic
03. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – acoustic
04. Running On Faith – acoustic
05. When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful
06. Tell The Truth
07. Key To The Highway
08. I Shot The Sheriff
09. Wonderful Tonight
Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton (Approximately 70 Minutes)
01. Shake Your Moneymaker
02. Moon River
03. You Need Love
04. Outside Woman Blues
05. Little Brown Bird
06. Wee Wee Baby
07. (I Want To Take You) Higher
08. Hi Ho Silver Lining – encore (Eric and Jeff shared vocals)
Were you there? Send your review to [email protected]
Review by Mike Sawin / UK
After seeing videos and hearing CD’s of when these two played together in Saitama last year, I wasn’t really looking forward to this show too much. The format denied both Eric and Jeff the chance to really build up a head of steam. They’d just got going and then -whammo! – it was the end of their set.
The O2 Arena is one of those giant, impersonal arenas so beloved in the States. Maximum amount of seats, top dollar tickets (£137-ouch) and crappy beer on sale to ensure there is a constant flow of people either filling up their glasses or emptying their bladders. That’s why I love the Royal Albert Hall. In the whole night you might see 2 dozen people going out to the bathroom.
Anyways, Jeff Beck came on with his band and played for 45mins. Songs included ‘Led Boots’ and ‘A Day In The Life’ but no ‘Cause we’ve ended As Lovers’. He had a new girl bass player and that’s about all I can tell you about his set. It’s not that I don’t think the guy is talented but I’m left cold by his playing.
After a 30 minute break Eric strolled on and launched into a 5 song acoustic set. There were rumblings of discontent all around me and I somewhat agree. Here was a chance to hit the stage running with a short but intense electric set. To show ’em who’s the boss. To finally nail that old chestnut ‘Who’s the better Guitarist’ etc. etc. The 1st song (Driftin’) was the slowest I think I’ve ever heard him play. He then trotted out ‘Layla’ (perfect for a sing along with the crowd!), ‘Nobody Knows You…’, ‘Running On Faith’ and the first surprise of the night-the classic crooning song from the 30’s ‘When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful’ (made famous by Fats Waller in 1935 – don’t you just love Google?!).
Next the electric set and he didn’t disappoint with ‘Tell The Truth’. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! He may have been the only guitarist in his band – no Doyle, Andy or Derek, but he was hot to trot. He quickly followed up with ‘Key To The Highway’ and a fabulous version of ‘Sheriff’. Then, ‘Wonderful Tonight’ (ho-hum) and ending the 60 minute set with cracking versions of ‘Cocaine’ & ‘Crossroads’. Short but sweet.
A very short break then took us to the dual guitar-meisters set. It started pretty well with ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’ and the next surprise of the evening was Eric singing ‘Moon River’ and Jeff doing all his whammy-bar bits. Mmmmm. The next 5 songs (‘You Need Love’, ‘Outside Woman Blues’, ”Brown Bird’, ‘Wee Wee Baby’ & ‘Higher’ ) were all really very good – fabulous interplay, more intense soloing and closed eyes and guitar-hero poses than you could shake a stick at.
The band ambled off without a group hug or big wave-off and the majority of the audience thought that was it. But the lights dimmed once more, the band came out and JB said ‘ This is a perfect way to spoil a good evening-and it’s all Eric’s fault ‘ and they launched into ‘Hi-Ho Silver Lining’ which I thought Beck detested playing. I could see why. It seemed a little under-rehearsed and sloppy but it got a great response from the thinned out audience. And that was it. The third and last set lasted 75mins with a total of just short of 3 hours. I think it could be agreed that we got our money’s worth. All in all a good show and now I’m not so worried about going tomorrow.
Review By Jon Child / UK
Firstly credit has to be given to how well organised and very courteous the staff of the o2 arena were on the evening. Stewards were on hand in all areas and were only too willing to help with any enquiry. In addition, with this being my first visit to the o2 arena, I was surprisingly pleased by the level of hygene and the general layout of the actual arena itself.
Anyway, onto the main topic, the concert itself. As most people can imagine the anticipation was high to say the least and there was a constant stream of people making their way to the stage prior to the start of the performance. It was great to see all of Jeff Beck’s rig up close and there was no problem with being able to take photographs.
One thing that did raise my curiosity was missing guitar tech Lee Dickson, one person I am used to seeing constantly on the move, giving us a brief glimpse of Eric’s guitars for the night. However, for tonight he had been replaced by Dan Dearnley (according to the programme). He was busy in the ‘tech’s corner’ with Eric’s ‘baby blue strats’ as well as constantly picking up and putting down the signature Martin.
Jeff Beck arrived on to the stage to rapturous applause and everyone was on their feet to welcome the first part of tonight’s performance. Beck’s set was executed with great precision and really tested the auditory tolerances of most people in the crowd as his fast runs and explosive licks reached sub sonic frequencies.
He was joined on stage by Joss Stone who launched into a high energy ‘No Other Me’ before teasing the crowd with a powerful ‘I’ve Put A Spell On You’.
It has to be said that the use of the orchestra was particularly powerful and really enhanced the live experience. Also, Beck’s backing band, in particular the bass player Rhonda Smith and drummer Narada Michael Walden were outstanding and provided much of the energy behind the performance.
It has to be noted that there was little to no interaction with the audience from Beck and bearing in mind that some of the people I had spoken to prior to the show had come from across Europe, far and wide, I felt that a little more communication would have been gratefully accepted.
The stage was then awash with ‘techs’ as the platform was prepared for Mr Clapton.
The anticipation seemed to grow stronger at this point and there was not an empty seat to be seen as all eyes were aimed at the stage, waiting for their hero.
Eric emerged from the darknness and took to his seat, with his Martin in hand like he was sitting down at home.
Looking somewhat similar to his ‘Journeyman’ days he wore a suit jacket with jeans and had grown his hair to his trademark style of the aforementioned era.
He opened his set with a warm acoustic session, getting the crowd ready for the onslaught to come from the ‘baby blue strat’ that is now becoming a show regular.
The energy behind ‘Tell The Truth’ was great and having seen him perform this a number of times it was clear that he was stamping his authority all over the concert.
The only thing that seemed to weaken the Clapton Experience during the electric set was not having a rhythm guitarist present to add depth while he went on his lead excurions.
Fans also got to be addressed by the man himself when he enquired as to the cold temperature in the venue. This was overcome as the second song into the electric section of the set saw him set his guitar down whilst he removed his jacket to continue.
There were also some sound issues when he began the electric set as there was quite a lot of interference and distortion which took a while to be corrected. Either way, he ploughed on regardless and went through a set list that has been used on a number of occasions now and would really have been strengthened with a few different numbers to appeal to the regular Clapton ‘goers’ such as myself.
Clapton moved seemlessly through the set and provided some tasty lead breaks as his amp struggled to keep up with him and his excessive demands. Once finished he said ‘back in a minute’ as if he was popping backstage to the gents, all very familiar and showing a warming sense of comfort.
There appeared to be some sense of confusion at this point as a number of people were leaving or preparing to leave and it was amusing to see fans make their way back to their seats when both Clapton and Beck emerged to take the stage in unison.
This was to be the pivotal point of the evening as the two masters at work took to the stage together and there was an immediate energy as the set kicked off.
Clapton and Beck traded licks and raised the bar with each number and it was surprising how two differing styles complimented one another for the majority of the time.
Without putting a damper on things or under valueing either’s performance there seemed to be a sound level issue that was evident throughout this particular part of the concert.
The level of Beck’s guitar was at times, best described as overwhelming as the volume seemed to drown out the rest of the band, including Clapton on a number of occasions which after a while became somewhat demanding on the ears!
However, needless to say, it was great to see Clapton showing more enthusiasm and firing back with aggressive fret work in retaliation to some of the tasty finger work that Beck was show boating.
The set came to a close and in the time honoured usual fashion they all emerged once more for the ‘encore’.
Clapton led the way as well as the vocal work for Hi Ho Silver Lining. Having not heard this all evening it was fair to say that this would be saved for the show’s finale. The crowd embraced this and were in full flow as the band finished what was a good night of music fayre.
A good concert, one which had become the subject of a great deal of musical hype. Having not seen Beck live before it was great to see his fret work in a live environment and although not being a huge fan, I felt he highlighted his prowess in his particular genre and it was great to see an artist incorporating new pieces of work in to their set.
As a very well seasoned Clapton fan, again he lit up the London nights with his blistering solo work but would have done well to have maybe added some new material from his yet untitled new project or even given some of the more earlier and more relevant material an outing for this special occasion. At times he appeared to be going through the motions and having seen him three times in the last twelve months, it was somewhat disappointing to be having to go through an almost identical set list, especially owning such a generous back catalogue.
Review by Paul Watts
First time at the O2, seemed slightly bigger than the wembley arena, well laid out sound system and staging very good, seats were a bit hard and worn for a relatively new venue…anyway. My 2nd time seeing Mr Clapton and have crossed the item off the Bucket list.
Beck opened the show with his usual dazzling jazz/fusion flash, aurally exciting to start with, after the first few numbers, accompanied by mini string orchestra, drummer and lady bass player, my thoughts were OK mate you can play well but is that it? Fortunately he had a couple of guests come on to break the monotony, such as Joss Stone and Sharon Corr, regenerating the audience interest, Miss Stone has managed to drop the irritating american accent, and belted out a couple of good standard numbers, her voice has matured along with her attitude. He finished off the set with a startling rendition of a "Day in the Life", demonstrating his mastery of the vibrato; then followed about 10 minutes of roady action setting up for Clapton.
EC snuck on to the stage quietly and did a mini unplugged session, and refreshingly enough has learnt some new tricks giving the blues standards a fresher look, his set was way longer and less ardous than Beck, there was something for everybody, vintage, and classic Clapton, and my seat became more comfortable. They both joined up at the end for 45 minutes, and IMHO, Beck played second fiddle to EC who dominated, there was a mock shoot out on the guitars, with a little bit of Self parodying, and salutation from Beck to the Clapton god. All in all a good night out.
Review by Georges Vonfelt / Entzheim, France
I was at the set on the 13th February. I am a very huge Eric fan and I click on the whereseric site nearly every day. I traveled to London for the concert. I have seen Eric on stage all over Europe for years (Albert Hall many, many times, Paris, Zurich, Marseille, Saarbrucken but I have to say that Saturday’s Show wasn’t the best of my life. One of the main Problems: the O2 Arena too big, too cold and difficult to have a mood as at the Albert Hall. Second Problem Jeff Beck! I am not a big fan of his continuously vibrato and in my point of view his guitar playing doesn’t fit with Eric one’s. But at least Eric’s solo part was great as usual especially the acoustic part, missing a rhythm guitarist as Andrew Fairweather Low. I have tickets for the show in Paris with Winwood.
Review by K. Duffin
My first time at the O2 and I was impressed with the venue. Seats in the arena were good, and the sound was great, not as good as RAH but a close second.
Jeff’s set was a suprise, I had expected lots of messing around without much of a tune, but he played some great tunes. I only recognised 4 (Led Boots, People Get ready, I Put A Spell On You and A Day In The Life) but I loved the whole set. Sharon Corr was guest on one, and a lovely Irish lilt it was. Joss Stone sang two (Spell being one of them). She was in fine voice, and looked great. I noticed the cameraman on stage focused all his attention on her too!! Jeff made a slight mistake about half way through A Day In The Life, but apart from that is was perfect.
After the interval Eric came on and played his Acoustic set, which was a pity, he should have started with Electric and grabbed everyone’s attention. A nice play through of safe songs, Driftin’ was a bit slow, Layla had very good vocals, Nobody Knows You was average. Running On Faith was the highlight of the acoustic set, then When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful, a new song. Personally I thought 5 songs was indulgent, he should have done only 3, and by the end the people around me were getting restless.
Then came the Electric set. More fire here of course, but I thought he was better last year at RAH. Tell The Truth was good and the lack of second guitar did not hamper him. Chris Stainton played some great keyboards. Key To The Highway was the best tune of his set. Excellent. I Shot The Sheriff started with some nice choppy guitar, then burst into life when Eric began his Solo. Wonderful Tonight was poor, and I’m glad to see he dropped it the next night. Cocaine was again complemented by some great keyboard work. Crossroads closed Eric’s set. Powerful.
After a short break Eric and Jeff came out. They began with Shake Your Moneymaker, a good opener, with Jeff taking the most of the guitar duties. Moon River was a great suprise. Eric sang like a cool Ray Charles. Great phrasing, again with Jeff taking the main guitar parts. You Need Love was the first time they really played guitar together, each making fine weaving phrases. Outside Woman Blues was Eric’s song. He made it come to life. Jeff put a couple of bursts here and there but Eric stood out. Little Brown Bird was played the same as Japan last year. Nice interplay again. Wee Wee Baby I loved, best song of the night. Some fantastic playing by the whole band. (I Want To Take You) Higher didn’t quite match but came pretty close. Then the encore: Hi Ho Silver Lining. Jeff sang! Well Eric sang, and Jeff made some attempt to sing, but it was better than the ARMS concerts. If it had been left to me I would have swapped this with Wee Wee Baby and finished on a high.
Overall my scores were Jeff solo set 8 out of 10, Eric solo set 6 out of 10, Joint set 9 out of 10.
Review by Rico Westy
The guitar giants were definitely hearing different muses Saturday night at London’s 02 arena.
Yes, dear critics, this just in: Beck and Clapton are stylistically different. But contrary to some critics’ assertions, the markedly different styles of two of the greatest living guitarists produced a dynamic and varied night of unforgettable guitar virtuosity, not musical dissonance.
Beck took the stage first looking amusingly anachronistic in dark glasses and a flashy sleeveless white bicep-flexing shirt and silver arm bracelets. Beck quickly began to tear up and down the fret of his white Fender Stratocaster “Eternity’s Breath.” He’s backed by a very tight new band that includes Rhonda Smith (Prince) and jazz pianist Jason Rebello and the excellent veteran drummer Narada Michael Walden.
Beck’s high octane, mostly instrumental set easily mixed hard rock, blues-infused funk, and some soaring jazz-inspired riffs. His set underscored why he is one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time: He is amazingly comfortable tackling varied and seemingly dissimilar styles
He soared on “Led Boots” and turned mellow on a sweet “People Get Ready.” Beck stayed earth bound when the talented British soul and R&B singer Joss Stone brought the house down with a stunning version of “I Put a Spell on You.” Beck then took the audience back out to space with his brilliant instrumental take on the Beatle’s “A Day in the Life” with full orchestral backing. His solos highlighted why the Grammy committee recently awarded him his 5th award for that tune, best rock instrumental performance.
Beck again showed why he may be second only to Hendrix in raw innovation and creativity on the electric guitar. His solos are not just technically amazing: His fingers dazzle across the fret board with emotion while his hand works his Strat’s whammy bar with perfection..
Beck, a one-time quasi recluse, made a much welcomed return to the lime light last year with a tour and the DVD “Live at Ronnie Scott’s.” His first new album in years “Emotions and Commotion” is due out in April. Welcome, back, Jeff, we missed you.
When Clapton took the stage, in jacket and jeans and longish hair, the contrast in tone and temperament was palpable. Eric turned the temperature way down with a mellow set of acoustic blues that began with a subtle “Driftin’ Blues” and EC’s great take on the Jimmy Cox standard “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” He delivered a very nice “Running on Faith” but his acoustic “Layla” was a bit sleepy, frankly.
But when Eric plugged in his powder blue Strat for the second half of his set, the temperature rose as he delivered soaring versions of the Domino’s -era “Tell the Truth” and “Key to the Highway.” He also delivered a sharp “I shot the Sheriff” and the usual crowd pleasing solos on “Cocaine” and “Crossroads.”
Beck and Clapton wrapped up the night with a fun set together, exchanging riffs on a house stomping “Shake Your Money Maker,” and great versions of “Outside Woman Blues,” “You Need Love,” “Little Brown Bird,” and “Wee Wee Baby.” The only miss of their joint set was “Moon River.” But Beck’s sweet solo may have saved that tune from schmaltz oblivion.
Their set culminated with a delicious version of Sly Stone’s “(I Want to Take You) Higher.” The night ended with Eric and Jeff sharing vocals on Beck’s fun, campy late ‘60s hit “Hi Ho Silver Lining.”
I was privileged to catch the historic 1983 Multiple Sclerosis Ronnie Lane ARMS benefit concert in New York City in which Clapton, Beck and Jimmy Page played separately and jointly. What made that show unforgettable is that the guitarists all played vastly different sets and then traded licks in the joint set with aplomb, joy and a hint of competition.
Overall, Saturday was an amazing night of music at the O2. I do, however, feel Beck and Clapton could have pushed each other more in their joint appearance. It was a terrific set yet relatively safe territory for both guitar geniuses.
Review by David Frenkiel
The concert was far less enjoyable than I had expected. I can’t call it "disappointing" because upon leaving, I was did not feel disappointed. Just a bit silly because of the money and time spent (in my case, this included flying up from Israel just for the concert). The Jeff Beck opening hour can be summed up in a quote from Seinfeld: "One of those big budget movies with a story that goes nowhere". I’m a huge electric guitar fan, but Beck’s performance was guitar pornography, just a series of long solos in no poetic context. The singer he brought along was too vulgar for a concert involving EC. The bass player, I forget her name, was awesome.
It’s very easy to tell how a rock concert went. When it’s great, there’s a buzz in the air when you leave. People don’t talk much, they’re sort of shocked and moved, just smiling a lot and letting out an occasional "wow". Here it was straight back to business, let’s beat the crowds and catch the tube. And this concerns those who stayed till the end, because from half an hour before the end, there was a constant trickle of spectators going out. During the last hour, when the two legends were playing together, I almost fell asleep at some parts and people around me seemed quite bored. Becks over-theatrical solos seemed tacked on. Eric’s rare qualities didn’t show nearly as much as they did during part of his solo hour. The low points of the concert were, to my taste, Beck’s elevator-music style cover of "a day in the life" and the Moonriver duet. The latter seemed part of a show by two aging pop singers appearing in Florida before a crowd of retired couples.
All in all, I would have enjoyed much more an evening in some blues cellar in London, listening to an anonymous guitar-bass-drums trio doing Clapton covers.
Review by Lia Bartolomei / Italy
And so here I am back home at my tiny village in Italy after a 2 days maratone in London to follow Eric again. It’s always a great experience even if getting up at 3 to catch an early morning flight and be still awake and standing at nine p.m. at 49 years old it requires a little bit of devotion. I’ll tell. you Eric, Do you know How much we love you??????
London O2 arena, a wonderful ultra modern arena and no queueing at all great organization.as far as access and pre-booking. at 7.30 the arena was almost empty giving me the impression of a non.sold out gig. within the next 60 minutes the 25.ooo people arena filled up like magic in a very relaxed atmosphere, gathering people from all over europe mostly fans of Eric’s generation but many young too (I met some at my hotel from denmark from rome spain and God oknows where else from) After meeting another slowhnder from Spain (thank you Siro) who had found a row A !!!!! marvellous seat also for me at shouting reach from the players’ ears. I really felt on cloud nine.
Jefff Beck started in Eric’s way , no talking but music and great one, the highlight, to me were the pieces with a young violiin player. his bass player is still a great performer who performed a short but grand bass solo. Beck’s great rendition of A day in the Life by Lennon Mcartney made everybody aware of his great skills and convinced not great fans like me he was worth to hold the scene with our hero. in the short pause before Eric’s set would start you could feel vibes and thrill growing higher in the arena ( still too calm for me there in the front rows , I would have preferred the freedom of movement we had had in Hyde park June 2008 when we could sing and jump along with musicians and I’m sure this interaction helps the playing) but here security was very strict, as you rose for longer than a snap onto the metal fence that separated professional photographer and staff from audience, security would invite you back to your seats. Brand new arena can’t be spolt can it?)
Eric came up to stage asking us if we were cold (could we after all the miles and wait to hear him again , I was in fire ) He started with his acoustic set and I love him so much when he holds the stage on his own guitar frets . Hoo many would dare do so in front of 25.000???? Acoustic layla was the second or third piece nobody loves you when you are down or out just to remember a couple. at layla as I felt so guilty she couldn’t hear what I so strongly enjoyed I had to ring up my 15-year old daughter (a linking park fan -sigh!) and have her "listen to this please. and bow" …. she texted me back "at least a pHOTO!!) He took his blue jacket off to stand up and start the electric guitar set, the temperature had started to rise also FOR HIM!!!! hE embraced the light blue fender shook his longer beautiful hair (no wig for him, yet , no, ) and the rythm increased . when he went on an introductory solo I immediately recognized the scales on the chords of I shot the Sheriff that I only could have on CDs and Dvds before. and thanks to the great steady powerful but so essential and fine beat of steve gadd i knew that would have been a great version in up beat tempo as Eric and Steve can work IT out together so well there it was my spine chill. That alone was l worth my 2 days’ maratone And I could see Eric was satisfied at the end, of this piece it was one of the few smiles that he gave back to the audience after we all stood up at the end.
But I am a very demanding kind of person, I wish he could have pushed himself further up into experimenting a little more I dont’ think he was in the mood of doing it last saturday. don’t misunderstand me, Eric’s playing was outstanding ,and so was his singing, real and passionate, but unfortunately for him that is his standard !!!!!! it’s his life condemnation., I think as.once you have heard him play (as I had) those notes that make tears come up and your spine chills , you want always to be brought back and reach that music bliss.. but that demands the artist to be detached from what happens aroundhimself and pour all his energy just in the notes to play. And Eric does it when he closes his eyes and starts flying away with his spiral of notes.that wraps you in so , and then turns his head back to steve Gadd or to the bass player smiling noddingly.Though I may say he went through that moments a couple of times especially at the closing set with Beck , from Eric’s expression I don’t know how much he was satisfierd with the whole evening, really I don’t know. As far as for me I am, Nevertheless there is ths little bottom regret that I wish he could take the courage to show us some unheard staff that I am sure he plays all by himself that should make his all time estimators’ jaws dropping open . But I know general public prefer hearing his classics .and he has to play that in big venues. My secret dream is to see him again going into a nobody’s land not only for a few seconds but long enough to, find his real self, his naked soul again. Will the presence of many guitar giants at the next crossroads festival result the effect of have Eric forget who he is and pull his deep inside out to shine on and on for longer than those some great unequalled stretches or sudden unexpetceted quick passages into his songs that make you sure is genius is all well alive like last saturday ?.I am greedy , Eric , Great show but I wish , I wish for a full indigestion next time , and new dishes combination of dishes please, you have got such a wide menu to pffer your fans !!! Still no other is like him. yet and Beck was well aware of it, you could
tell. ciao a tutti
Review by Nick Kernoghan
Jeff Beck played a very fine 45 minute set in which I particularly enjoyed Mna Na Neireann, Big Block and A Day In The Life. He is the best at what he does and it showed. The only improvement would have been a bit of communication with the audience, even if it was only to announce the “song” names. Still EC concert goers will all know someone else who doesn’t say much! However, full marks for playing some new material and varying things nicely with Sharon Corr’s violin, Jos Stone’s vocals and the orchestra.
Eric’s first four numbers featured the best acoustic tone I can remember hearing from him live. His Martin appeared to be mic’ed up rather than just relying on the piezo pick-up and sounded a lot more dynamic than previous concerts. Drifting, NBKYWYDAO and Running On Faith were very good, whilst Layla felt a bit cursory. If you don’t mean it don’t play it! The fifth “acoustic” number, When Somebody Think’s You’re Beautiful was played on a electric Gibson L-5 with a single P-90 pick-up, probably paired with a Fender ’57 Reissue Deluxe amp. It was good to hear a new song, but it was a pretty rather than compelling performance. The electric set started with great rhythm playing on both Tell The Truth and Key To The Highway, but both had guitar solos that were a little too short and keyboard solos that were a little too long. Still, nice to hear Eric’s rhythm properly, I feel it often gets a bit lost in the big bands he tends to favour. I Shot the Sheriff was fabulous, song and solo of the night, and showed exactly what Eric is the best at. Very good solos too on Cocaine and Crossroads, but once again too much from the keyboard players. Now both keyboard players were very good, but neither will ever stir my emotions like Eric can so please Mr Clapton can you play a little more and give the keyboards a little less space in future! As always Eric’s singing was excellent throughout, but for him it was a good set rather than an inspired one.
The joint set started well and got better. Moon River was beautifully executed, perfectly suited to Jeff Beck’s style, and the five songs that followed were all excellent performances with fine solo’s exchanged between EC and JB. Possibly Outside Woman Blues was marginally the best, but it was close. The encore was good fun to sing along with, but perhaps not quite the climax that we could have had. Cos We’ve Ended as Lovers would have been so much better. Nevertheless the two great men played well together and their distinctively different styles made interesting music. Excellent sound quality throughout, apart from a blip during Tell The Truth, and overall good value for the money.