Buddy Guy played guitar real noisy and real delicate, nothing in between. The older he gets (80), the more he sings like B.B. King, or maybe it was a tribute. He cussed a lot and told us to shut up. Stoned old f*ck.
Now that Jeff Beck is 72, he finally looks 50.
Beck wasn't much interested in the Yardbirds material. I'm glad that Jimmy Hall, onetime singer of Wet Willie ("Keep on Smilin' ") has a job, but his Vegasy soulsmanship only made me appreciate the distinctive flatness of the late Keith Relf.
Yeah, Beck bucked up a jumpy "Rice Pudding," so I was satisfied, even though this version was way slicker than the '69 original. "Beck's Bolero" was a trip to the moon.
Dave Van Heusen pointed out that Beck plays with just his thumb and fingers, no pick, and always rests his pluckin' hand on the whammy bar. That's how he gets all those amazing shades of tone and vibrato.
Beck skipped all the early-'70s hard-rock/jazzy stuff he did with Bob Tench singing. Paul DeCuir was offended.
When it got time for the fusiony "Blow by Blow" and "Wired" material, Beck finally started having fun, especially with old mate Jan Hammer on keys. (Hammer's left hand on the vintage pitch wheel mimicked Jeff's right on the whammy.) Beck boogied hard on "Freeway Jam"; broke yer heart with "Since We've Ended As Lovers"; brought poignancy to his 51 years on the road with endless subtleties on the Beatles' "A Day in the Life."
Joining Beck for several songs, Beth Hart showed good blues lungs, but bad taste for rubbing it in with that bathetic song about how we should think about the children. Too late for that; pass the doob.
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top traded licks with Beck -- here were two dudes who really, really dug each other's chops. Beck was smiling; Billy, of course, I couldn't tell (the beard), but I think yeah.
The sound was crystalline, even up on Kilimanjaro. The Bowl worked for years on that, and nailed it. Obeisance.
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler revved us up on "Train Kept A-Rollin' " and "Shapes of Things." Here's one singer who makes up his own lyrics to classics and I'm fine with it.
Signing off, Beck came to the mike to be humble, sincere, emotional and inarticulate. When you're the best guitar player in the world, that's just right.