Jeff Beck - Live At Hollywood Bowl review

Virtuoso’s star-studded 50th-anniversary celebration

Cover art for Jeff Beck - Live At Hollywood Bowl

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Magnificent but modest Jeff Beck suits Hollywood Bowl’s illustrious surrounds effortlessly, oozing sharp-shooter cool and firing off meticulously crafted, lethally targeted licks.

Beck delivers a career-spanning set, with young, funky, free-rolling accompanists easily accommodating both Steve Tyler on a crowd-rousing Train Kept ARollin and declamatory cuts from the guitarist’s latest album Loudhailer. Wet Willie veteran Jimmy Hall sparks Beck’s pyrotechnics, old sparring partner Jan Hammer his dynamic relish and thrill-seeking interplay. Beck’s tenderest touch gilds Beth Hart’s cover of I’d Rather Go Blind, and Buddy Guy (snazzy in a black-on-white polka shirt, reflecting JB’s white on black) brokers a battle of the big guns.

“It will be another fifty years before we get a guitarist like this,” reckons ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, and it’s very hard to argue with him.

Gavin Martin

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.