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Jeff Beck. . . Who else?

Jeff Beck and his band at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on July 20th 2016.

Jeff Beck and his band at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on July 20th 2016.

So I finally made it to Madison Square Garden or at least the Theater at Madison Square Garden. That is right, never been there. At least not for a show or concert. Did see Ringling Brothers Circus with my son a long time ago, but never a concert.

Just a case of priorities and location. Just rarely go to such proper concerts anymore. and it has been like that for awhile now. When I have gone it is often up to Jones Beach. There or the Hammerstein Ballroom, where I have seen Coheed and Cambria, Megadeath (twice in fact!), Jeff Beck and even No Doubt.  While at Jones Beach. . . it was again Jeff Beck. Megadeath again, and Aerosmith.

And then I have gone a handful of times to the Beacon. The last time I saw Thin Lizzy (minus of course Lynott) was in like 2005 or 2006, with Deep Purple at the beacon. One of my favorite shows was David Lee Roth in what I believe was the Academy in like 1994? I just recall it being a small intimate room and I loved the stories he told before each tune.

So on July 20th I finally made it to the Garden and saw Jeff Beck. Really two institutions – Jeff Beck and the Garden. Regarding the Garden I do have to say that it was despite its size it had a certain intimacy. Granted this was the Theater at MSG. There was still a ton of people and I did have a problem with that. Waiting to be searched and allowed in. Necessary I suppose, but not fun. The venue itself, however, just seemed to be intimate. Even in the back of the room, the stage and Buddy Guy who was already performing, seemed close.

So I found my seat in section 103 over to the left of the stage. I think it was 103. Close. I was happy. It was just me. I had gone online that morning and saw it at an alright price. Joanna was not racing to Jeff Beck, My compadres who in the past had gone with me were not up for a school night concert, so it was just me. I think I had dragged my old guitarist from Vertigo and for that matter my Best Man to a few of his shows.

It was an older crowd tonight. Yep rockers are getting older. There were some kids coming in with their parents. I remember a buddy of mine turning me onto the guitarist. That was back in like 1980. Showing me a double album where they packaged his first album, Truth, with his second album, Beckola. Both featuring Rod Stewart. And then he had Wired and Blow by Blow and the live one with the Jan Hammer Group. Largely lost touch with that dude. The dude that turned me onto Jeff Beck I mean. He always has something to show me. Last time I saw him he had me watching Trailer Park Boys as they kidnapped Alex Lifeson.

Music does not change. I type that and know it is false, but it changes less. A recording, even one that does not deteriorate, that does not age, still changes.  The listener changes. Changes with each listen. Boredom and complacency often take over. Nostalgia often consumes. It consumes fans and bands alike. That is the trap that so many artist fall into. Prince and David Bowie both feared it and attempted to overcome their earlier work. Jeff Beck seems not to have that problem. I simplify.

I still listen to Truth and all, but damn he has routinely just kept them coming. Granted Jeff Beck basically disappeared in the nineties. Looking at it now, it might be more the case that I tuned out. Regardless, since 2000 he has done like 5 albums. Albums that I can more than listen to, and albums that are quite different from Truth or Blow by Blow. In 1999 it was Who Else,  where he took his instrumentals and merged them with the electronica that was coming of age at that time. Jeff and You Had It Coming followed in similar veins. In all he worked and made this merging of blues riffs and contemporary electronica his own, just as he explored jazz and fusion back in the seventies.

In July he released Loud Hailer where he partnered with two ladies from London who I just reached out to on Facebook. Amazing. With this one he swings away from the electronica of the last decade, and likewise the symphonic explorations of the last album, Emotion & Commotion. This new album is plain and simple rock and blues with vocals, and guitar that only Jeff Beck can play. Lyrics with a dash of social conscience. Not Jeff Beck, but it is. It is Blow by Blow all over again.

And all of this allowed him a range of options for that show at the Garden.