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Jeff Beck: Performing This Week… Live at Ronnie Scott’s DVD (2009)

510-uN+vNALFrom amazon.com

The Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scott’s DVD is now available and for $10 every guitarist should have one. Jeff is in great form, seeming happy and relaxed and his playing is quite precise. That man really knows how to work a whammy bar.

The whole band is good, but Drummer Vinny Colaiuta (a Zappa and Sting alumni) especially stands out. Tal Wilkenfeld, the female bassist who looks like a 12 year old, is also very good. Her appearances at the Crossroads show attracted a lot of attention due to her youthful appearance and the fact that she looked incredibly surprised and happy to be on stage with Beck.

On this DVD she doesn’t seem as confident in her playing and as extroverted as she did in the band’s appearance at the Crossroads festival. (I believe this DVD was shot before the Crossroads concert) However, as in the Crossroads videos, there’s still those odd, charming moments when Jeff gives her a gesture of approval after she takes a solo and she looks back with a big proud and happy smile. It’s a cross between the look of a proud father and daughter and the look of a lecherous college professor giving approval to the ambitious and lusty female student that he’s having an affair with.

In this video we don’t see much of keyboardist Jason Rebello, but he does a fine job of responding to Jeff’s lines and emulating his predecessors in Beck’s bands.

The interviews indicate that the band was put together shortly before the shows were shot, with about one month of rehearsal. Everyone knows their parts, but I think this project could have been taken to another level of excellence if the band had worked together for a longer period of time and had the collective experience required to confidently stretch out and improvise a bit more.

Stereo, Dolby surround and DTS surround soundtracks are provided. As usual the DTS soundtrack sounds audibly better than the Dolby. I hate it when concert films use the rear speakers only for audience noise; I want my DVD to sound better than what the audience heard, and audience noise is not my favorite part of the live performance experience. In this case, the use of surround is good, placing the listener in the middle of the band without being too obvious or gimmicky.

Another of my peeves about concert videos is that they rarely let you see the details of what the guitarist is doing. This one stands out for providing a lot of good shots that will help guitarists figure out how Beck gets his unique sounds.

The choice of material comprises a good “greatest hits” for Beck with a nice mix of the fast fusiony material and the slower, soulful material. I would have liked to have heard a bit more of the excellent techno influenced material from his most recent albums, but I’m surely in the minority in that opinion.

There are guest appearances by Joss Stone, Imogen Heap and Clapton. Stone was OK, but doesn’t have the maturity and depth to add much to the proceedings, she’s just another young Janis/Arethra wannabe as far as I can tell. Imogen is more unique with a quirkier presence that made for a more useful contribution.

Clapton joined the band for two blues numbers, one fast, one slow. Clapton has been in fine form lately, but as a guitarist he’s not in the same league as Beck. However, his vocals have never been better and Jeff and Clapton do a nice Yardbirds style raveup on Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love.” (the inspiration for Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love.

This DVD is the only commercially available video of a whole Jeff Beck show and overall they did it up right. If you like Beck there is no doubt that you should get this DVD. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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May 20, 2013 Posted by | Jeff Beck Performing This Week...Live at Ronnie Scott's DVD | , | Leave a comment