Jeff Beck and Japan have shared a mutual love affair for over 40 years. From his first visit in 1973 with Beck, Bogert & Appice, which resulted in a classic live album, to today, the country has always been a favorite of the guitarist. It's only natural then that Beck's first shows with his killer new band featuring Jonathan Joseph on drums, Nicolas Meier on guitar and Rhonda Smith on bass take place in Japan. An April show at the Tokyo Dome City Hall was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Jeff Beck -- Live in Tokyo.
The show opens with the thunderous "Loaded." Joseph and Smith lock into a tight groove as Beck plays a Telecaster on this powerful opener filled with power chords. Beck switches to his Strat for a cover of "Little Wing." Meier plays the main riff on 12-string acoustic while Beck does the vocal melody and solo on electric. It is a moving tribute from one master to another.
The band shows their versatility as they tackle the challenging Mahavishnu Orchestra track, "You Know, You Know." Beck offers lightning fast leads, torturing every note out of his guitar as the band plays the song's difficult time signature with ease. Beck mixes heavy metal with fusion on "Hammerhead," a track from 2010's Emotion & Commotion. The song blends a great groove with a killer, heavy riff.
Meier gets his turn in the spotlight on the Middle Eastern-flavored "Yemen," beginning the song with some fine acoustic guitar work. Smith plays electric upright bass on this standout track. Smith shines on the funk-based intro of "You Never Know," a track that features stinging guitar leads from Beck.
Beck closes out the main set with a cover of The Beatles' "A Day In The Life." The song has become a showcase piece in Beck's sets and his rendition is nothing short of stunning. A moving rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" follows as part of the encore, helping bring to a close a diverse set featuring many different styles of music.
The video is presented in 1080i High Definition 16:9 and looks great. Audio options include LPCM Stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The show is well mixed and the Japanese audience reserves their cheering for the songs' endings, letting the music really stand out in the mix. Bonus features include a set list commentary and "Band on Band" feature.
Jeff Beck has pushed the limits of the electric guitar since the 1960s. The mutual admiration between the artist and his Japanese audience is evident throughout Jeff Beck -- Live in Tokyo, making for a fine concert that is well worth owning.