Just when we were getting ready to drop a tear into our figurative beer about how Robert Plant had revealed he would skip Salt Lake City on the third (!) leg of his U.S. Tour this April, while nearly having to go through town to do so (How else does one get from Southern California to Denver?), along came some great news.
It was revealed Tuesday that British guitar legend Jeff Beck, who like Plant used to work alongside Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page, will hit The Depot in SLC on April 13 to celebrate that venue's 5th birthday.
Well, I don't care if they're celebrating Hug Your Sanitation Worker Day, it's just a treat to have England's six-string king hit town, regardless of the reason.
At first blush, tickets seem a tad spendy at $55 (On sale date, Jan. 29) but for guitar freaks and purveyors of great music in general, Beck is on the proverbial "bucket list" of must-see performers and until the past few years or so just basically didn't tour the U.S. - much less Utah.
Beck's never seemed to relish touring, nor has he really had to.
He once told a British publication that he didn't tour for several years during the 1980s because of a string of warm summers, which had given him a chance to work on his car collection. Go figure.
But what's really funny about SLC finally landing on Beck's map is the lucky timing.
Although Beck normally tours with a small group of acclaimed studio and jazz players who work their way through the guitarist's fusion-based, instrumental repertoire (See the "Live at Ronnie Scott's" DVD from 2008), Salt Lake will get something different - way different.
The August 2009 death of music pioneer Les Paul inspired Beck to pay tribute to the legendary musician and inventor of the Gibson solid body that bears his name by teaming with Irish rock revivalist Imelda May.
Jeff Beck's Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul (a wordy, yet wonderful title) is now being extended to hit Salt Lake.
This is comparable not to Utah's capital acquiring an NFL team, but to it hosting the Super Bowl.
An upcoming DVD release features the guitar legend and May's ensemble as they smoke through such '50s classics as "Train Kept-A-Rollin', "Peter Gunn" and "Twenty-Flight Rock."
It also includes such Paul and Mary Ford classics as "How High The Moon?"
For those of you think this is just some aging rocker rolling through town peddling his latest sales gimmick - think again.
This isn't Beck's old running buddy Rod Stewart singing the Great American Songbook or his 40-year-old hits. (It was revealed earlier this week that SLC "missed out" on Stewart's upcoming tour with Stevie Nicks. Durn it.)
Instead, our city gets the guy of whom Eric Clapton once said there's "something cool and mean" about him that tops all other guitarists - including Clapton.
For those who don't know, it's widely believed he turned down a chance in 1975 to join the Rolling Stones.
Yeah, Beck's got some cred.
Along the way, he helped pave the way for hard rock, jazz fusion and has earned so many guitar magazine awards for his chops that he largely has no peers.
For those who aren't familiar with JB's work - or Heaven forbid think that I'm talking about the blonde-haired fellow who made the "Odelay" album - here's a handful of great records that Beck's done in the past 44 years or so...
1. "Truth" - The de facto first Zeppelin album, it features eventual Zep bassist John Paul Jones along with Page and Stewart serving as the Plant prototype (complete with yelling and blonde locks). Also, Zep even covered one of the covers that's on Beck's record. ("You Shook Me"). They also burn unequaled holes into Howlin' Wolf's "Superstitious" and the old folkie classic "Morning Dew."
2. "Blow By Blow" - Anyone who covers soul legend Stevie Wonder and legendary jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus on the same record is to be lauded. However, it's a very short list - only Beck's done it. He does so right here with "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" and "Goodbye, Porkpie Hat," respectively.
3. "Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop" - This oft-overlooked late '80s release is worth hearing if for no other reason than the haunting "Where Were You?"
4. "Wired" - Done off roughly the same blueprint as "Blow", this album is just as hot and just as essential for fans of maddeningly good rock guitar.
So, in other words, see you April 13.