17 January 2013, gsparaco @ 10:05 am
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – December 17th, 1980
Disc 1 (43:30): Opening, Star Cycle, El Becko, Too Much To Lose, The Pump, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Space Boogie, The Final Peace, Led Boots
Disc 2 (62:47): Freeway Jam, keyboard solo, Diamond Dust, Scatterbrain, Drums Solo – Scatterbrain, Blue Wind, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, You Never Know, Going Down, member introduction
Jeff Beck’s penultimate show in Japan on the There And Back tour is one of the most popular and well covered. Several tape sources exist and have been pressed on Freeway (Amsterdam AMS9615-2-1/2), Tokyo (JB 2-1/2), and New Master 1980 (Masterport 049) on professional CDR. Discs three and four of Budokan 1980 Complete (no label) contain a second tape source which is distant and thin but clear.
Several years ago a third tape was pressed and released in the massive Cyclone box set. Cyclone’s tape source is a significant upgrade over Budokan 1980 Complete.
Miracle Finger is the fourth tape to be pressed onto silver disc. Its sound is very similar to Cyclone. Recorded by Miracle Man, whose tapes are featured on the Calm & Storm label, it is very clear stereo with powerful dynamics and presence. The only negative is that the label tweaked the sound to the point where the audience clapping sounds a bit too crispy.
Hymas’ keyboards compete with Beck’s guitar at the outset in “Star Cycle” reminiscent of the older shows with Jan Hammer. Beck has the final word though delivering an effective improvisation which carries over into the new song ”El Becko.” Hymas’ keyboards sound atonal at times in sonic contrast to the guitars. It sounds as if Beck is attempting to channel the muse as the song reaches the height of the fret board.
“Too Much To Lose” is an interesting contrast. Beck retains the gorgeous melody from Jan Hammer’s original song but injects a funk/disco sounding guitar solo in the song’s middle.
“Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” contains a very mellow bass interlude by Mo Foster. “Space Boogie” is another quick tempo, high energy jam session where the Bill Haley influence truly shows and is followed by “The Final Peace,” the There & Back closer. It was added to the set list several days before and is played for the only time in any of the Tokyo shows and contains several Clapton-like guitar riffs buried under the synthesizers.
“I want you to listen closely to Tony Hymas who is gonna play” is Beck’s introduction to the keyboard lead “Diamond Dust.” One of the more bizarre songs of the set, it sets a torch song mood in the otherwise electric based jazz fusion.
“Blue Wind” is extended with a short “She’s A Woman” quote in the beginning and an hyper-kinetic keyboard solo as Hymas and Beck race to the end. Afterwards Beck thanks the audience saying: “It’s been very enjoyable for us to play for you. Thank you very much for listening to us.” The show ends with the encore “Going Down Slow” with Beck encouraging the audience to sing along.
Miracle Finger is a good release like much of the others on Calm & Storm and a good way to obtain the show outside of the pricey box sets. I wish the label didn’t play with the sound as much as they did. The crinkly audience cheering is annoying. Otherwise, this isn’t a bad title to have.
If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)