Jeff Beck dazzles at the Borgata

Jeff Beck addresses the crowd June 5 in Atlantic City prior to playing his rendition of the Les Paul and Mary Ford hit “How High the Moon.” (Photo by Chris M. Junior)

By Chris M. Junior

Talk about respect: Even Eric Clapton knows he can’t do what Jeff Beck does.

In a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Clapton said it’s “the things [Beck] does with his right hand” that separates him and every other guitarist from Beck.

Clapton is right. By working the tremolo bar and volume knob while picking notes, Beck is in a league of his own, and he was in top form June 5 during his concert in Atlantic City, N.J.

Not surprisingly, the emphasis of the concert, held at the Borgata’s Music Box venue, was on Beck’s new album, “Emotion & Commotion.” But everything he and his three-piece band played was treated with reverence by the audience members, who sat quiet and rapt during each song, then stood and cheered aggressively at the end.

Highlights included a sensual instrumental version of The Impressions’ “People Get Ready,” plus a rowdy take on Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” which featured bassist Rhonda Smith on vocals and Beck effectively simulating the song’s harmonica parts on his guitar.

The two-song encore consisted of “How High the Moon” (a signature hit for Les Paul and Mary Ford) and “Nessun Dorma” (an aria from the Giacomo Puccini opera “Turandot”), and it showcased Beck’s other big asset: bringing disparate music closer together through his sense of style, melodic flourishes and unique sounds.

Beck’s U.S. tour continues through late June and includes concerts in Atlanta (June 11), Detroit (June 20) and Cincinnati (June 23).

Jeff Beck (left) and Narada Michael Walden are shown performing June 5 at the Borgata in Atlantic City. (Photo by Chris M. Junior)


For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Download Goldmine’s Guide to Eric Clapton (PDF download)
• Get a Goldmine back issue on The Beatles (June 6, 2008) via digital download
• Check out the book on classic guitars: “Classic Guitars, Identification and Price Guide,” By Nick Freeth

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