Jeff Beck runs through lead singers almost as fast as Spın̈al Tap did drummers.
A partial list of singers who have passed through this English guitar legend’s various musical projects since the late 1960s includes Rod Stewart, Bobby Tench, Kim Milford, Jimmy Hall, Mike Sanchez, Imogen Heap, Joss Stone, Imelda May, Beth Hart and, well, you get the idea.
For his current joint tour with fellow six-string great Buddy Guy, a key early Beck influence, he alternates nightly between two vocalists — Hall (who rose to prominence with the Southern-rock band Wet Willie in the 1970s) and Rosie Bones (who co-wrote nine of the 11 songs on Beck’s new album, “Loud Hailer” with him and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg).
Yet, with no offense to Hall or Bones — who will both be on board when Beck and Guy’s tour stops Friday at Pala Casino Spa & Resort’s Starlight Theater — Beck is always the main attraction at his concerts.
Credit for this goes to his instrumental command, dazzling virtuosity, sublime taste, remarkable purity of tone, and his ability to pull off seemingly impossible instrumental feats that seem finger-breaking and often sound otherworldly.
His socially and politically-inspired new album, “Loud Hailer,” demonstrates anew why he is held in such high esteem by fans and by other guitar legends, who marvel at his singular musical skill and vision. Equally impressive on “Loud Hailer” is the ingenuity and wit with which his lattice-like guitar lines weave around Rosie Bones’ vocals, elevating each song in the process.
Beck is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree. His first induction was in 1992 as a member of The Yardbirds, whose current lineup performed here at the Belly Up last month. His second induction, this time as a solo artist, was in 2009. He is likely the only guitarist who, after being asked to join the Rolling Stones — without auditioning — declined the invitation.
“I turned them down,” affirmed Beck, in a 2010 Union-Tribune interview.
(Famed producer) “George Martin had made an offer to make an album with me, which I’d accepted, and I wasn’t going to go back on my word to him.”
His Friday Pala concert comes two days after Wednesday’s “50 Years of Jeff Beck” extravaganza at the Hollywood Bowl. His scheduled guests for that show included Guy, Hart, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, synthesizer marvel Jan Hammer and San Diego-bred guitar ace Jennifer Batten, CQ who in 1998 became the first female member in any Beck-led band.
Even without any guests, his ability to deliver transcendent music on a nightly basis is something to savor and cheer. Ditto the opportunity to see him and share the stage with Guy, who was also a prime influence on the young Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s.
To invoke the title of Beck’s classic 1976 album, he is “Wired” in the very best way.
Source: The San Diego Union Tribune.