Jeff Beck Newcastle City Hall 1974, 1981 and 2004

Jeff Beck in Newcastle 1974, 1981 and 2004
Writing my post about the Grangemouth Festival, where Jeff Beck headlined, made me think about the other times that I’ve seen Beck. The most recent was at the O2 a couple of years ago, when he co-headlined and dueted with Clapton. It was a great gig, with an astounding performance from Beck. I’ve seen him three other times, making five in total. After Grangemouth I was keen to see Beck again, so when Beck, Bogert and Appice came to Newcastle City Hall in January 1974 I made sure that I was there. The set was similar to that he played at Grangemouth the year before. This was classic rock, but there were hints of the more experimental guitar technique that Beck was to move into in the future. The setlist for their Live in Japan 1973 DVD is: Superstition; Lose Myself With You; Jeff’s Boogie; Going Down; Boogie; Morning Dew; Sweet Sweet Surrender; Livin’ Alone; I’m So Proud; Lady; Black Cat Moan; Why Should I Care; Plynth/Shotgun. I would guess that the set that night will have been similar. By 1981 Beck was more into jazz-rock, and his 1981 show at the City Hall reflected this. As I recall, Ian and I went to this gig, and the set was all instrumental. Beck no doubt gave us some great guitar playing, but I found it a bit too much, and I was bored by the end. He’d released the Wired and There and Back albums in 1975 and 1980, and the set mainly comprised tracks from those lps, with no old songs, and definitely no Hi Ho Silver Lining. Looking at published setlists, around that time the set was something like: Star Cycle; El Becko; Too Much to Lose; The Pump; Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers; Space Boogie; Led Boots; Freeway Jam; Diamond Dust; Scatterbrain/Drum Solo; Blue Wind; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat/You Never Know; Going Down. It was over 20 years until I saw Jeff Beck again. By 2004, when Will and I last saw him in Newcastle, he was still playing mostly instrumental, with a singer for a few of the songs. By now he’d moved into a more experimental mode, using techniques which blend rock, jazz and sounds from the 50s and 60s; shades of The Shadows, surf guitar, Duane Eddy, Dick Dale and Santo and Johnny. He was awesome that night, and I realised again just what a craftsman he is. My programme for the 2004 gig is to the left. His instrumental version of The Beatles Day In The Life is a revelation. His set from The Albert Hall concert a few days later was: Resolution; Star Cycle; Freeway Jam; Roy’s Toy; Big Block; Cry Me a River; Stratus; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Angel; Even Odds; Brush with the Blues; Nadia; Nothing but Love; Loose Cannon; Blancet; Rollin’ and Tumblin’; Blue Wind; Voyage Home; Rice Pudding; Cissy Strut; Led Boots; A Day in the Life; Where Were You; You Never Know; Encore: People Get Ready. Still no Hi Ho Silver Lining. I’d resigned myself to never seeing him play the 60s classic. However, that was to come as a surprise at the gig with Clapton (see my earlier blog).

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