Watch Metallica's Kirk Hammett play John Lennon and Yardbirds classics alongside Johnny Depp, Ronnie Wood, Billy Gibbons, Imelda May at Jeff Beck tribute gig

Jeff Beck tribute gig in London, May 22, 2023
(Image credit: Matt Lee Yoube)

Friends and fans of Jeff Beck gathered in London on Monday and Tuesday night (May 22/23) for two special tribute concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in memory of the iconic guitarist, who passed away in January.

The concerts, organised by Beck's wife Sandra and his friend Eric Clapton, who Beck replaced in The Yardbirds in 1965, was billed to feature some of the world's most celebrated and influential guitarists; ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, jazz fusion legend John McLaughlin (Miles Davis, The Mahavishnu Orchestra), The Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood, blues superstar Gary Clark Jnr., and Eric Clapton himself among them. 

On night one, Monday, May 22, Metallica's Kirk Hammett also joined the tribute as an un-listed surprise guest, joining Billy Gibbons and actor/Hollywood Vampires guitarist Johnny Depp for a version of John Lennon's Isolation as covered by Jeff Beck and Depp for a collaborative single in 2020, and then participating in all-star jam on Tiny Bradshaw's Train Kept A-Rollin', as popularised by The Yardbirds on Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds, released in 1965, with Irish blues singer Imelda May on vocals and additional guitar from Ronnie Wood.

Watch fan-filmed footage of both performances below:

Other highlights of the night included Rod Stewart joining former Faces colleague Ronnie Wood and Clapton to perform Rock Me Baby, Susan Tedeschi and
Derek Trucks joining Clapton for The Sky Is Crying, and John McLaughlin performing The Mahavishnu Orchestra's You Know, You Know, covered by Beck on his Live+ album in 2015.

"We're all here for two reasons," McLaughlin told the audience. "Love and the guitar. We all loved Jeff."

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.