Inside a sold-out Depot Wednesday night, British rock guitar legend Jeff Beck blazed away on his signature Fender Stratocaster with his characteristic flash as he aired out his own songbook and played spirited selections from across the spectrum.
Beck's delightful take on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," was one highlight as was Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher," but hands-down, the show-stopper for a majority of the audience seemed to be Beck's strangely arranged version of The Beatles "A Day In The Life."
The 66-year-old Beck, who onstage could easily pass for a guy in his mid-40s, rarely spoke but enthusiastically interacted with his hyper-talented bandmates throughout the night. At one point, he even playfully flipped the bird to keyboardist Jason Rebello for holding a note longer than Beck could.
Beck, who ended his "Rock 'n' Roll Party" tour and traveling tribute to Les Paul with Irish singer Imelda May on Saturday in San Francisco, paid homage to the late great guitarist and inventor with a scorching version of "How High The Moon," which was OK, despite having piped-in vocals. Also serving up vocals was bassist Rhonda Smith, who gracefully sang Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'."
But the meat of the show the numerous instrumentals including "People Get Ready," "Led Boots" and "Elegy for Dunkirk." Although Beck hasn't played Salt Lake since 1999, he seems to be touring more steadily these days. And United Concerts seems to bring back bands that sell out The Depot. Here's hoping Beck doesn't wait another 11 years before returning.
It's not an easy business holding the continued interests of 2,000 people without a captivating lead singer. Beck proved repeatedly Wednesday that in the right hands, a guitar's all you really need.