This was the opening night of guitar maestro Jeff Beck’s UK tour, with his last date 26 October at the Royal Albert Hall. He was fronting a three-piece band of percussion, bass and keyboards. Bassist Rhonda Smith did limited vocals, but the majority of the programme was not surprisingly instrumental to allow Beck to show off his technical virtuosity. Jeff doesn’t talk much; so don’t expect introductions, except to the other members of the band.
The numbers oscillated in a balanced way between jazz funk and lyrical anthems such as Beck’s Bolero and (amazingly) Nessun Dorma. Best of all was his acclaimed grammy winning version of A Day in The Life, where he recreates the varying moods of the piece through his brilliant playing. It was a little disappointing not to hear more work from his early blues-rock era, but this has clearly been superseded by works from his more recent albums.
The support act on the show was Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. Shorty (Troy Andrews) plays not only trombone but is equally at home on trumpet and vocals with a mixture of jazz of all types. Virtuoso solos and a brilliant rhythm section made for an excellent opening act.