Warwick (Guitar Cycle GCD001)
Warwick Arts Center, Warwick, England – June 27th, 2004
Disc 1 (51:48): Introduction, Resolution, Star Cycle, Freeway Jam, Roy’s Toy, Big Block, Stratus, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Even Odds, Angel (Footsteps), Daylight Robbery, Brush With The Blues
Disc 2 (50:03): Nadia, The Pump, Loose Cannon, Nothing But Love, Blue Wind, Voyage Home, Led Boots, A Day In The Life, Where Were You, You Never Know, People Get Ready
Jeff Beck played only nine shows in 2004. The first was a disappointing cameo appearance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in Dallas on June 6th followed by a short, eight date tour of the UK. First announced in February, this was his first tour of the UK since 1990. Joining Beck were Mike and Mark Mondesir on bass and drums, Nancy Sorell on vocals and Jan Hammer on keyboards, the first time he’s played with Beck since their tour of Japan in 1986.
Along the way they were joined by guests such as vocalist Imogen Heap and Ronnie Wood in the two Royal Albert Hall shows in London on June 23rd and 24th.
Warwick documents the penultimate show of the tour on June 27th. It is sourced from a very clear and powerful stereo audience recording of the entire concert.
Pre-tour publicity promised “from mixing rock and jazz to produce seminal albums like Blow By Blow and Wired to incorporating eastern, classical and blues influences, you can expect innovative visits to his extensive back catalogue as well as revealing glimpses to his next project featuring a string section.” There is a mix of some old with new, but it’s strange that his latest album Jeff, released in 2003, is completely ignored. Even the Grammy Award winning single “Plan B” isn’t played.
After the artist is introduced they start off with “Resolution” leading into a deliberate version of “Star Cycle.” One of the highlights is a dramatic version of “Stratus.” The six minute long track covers a variety of styles, and even has Beck introducing the band afterwards.
“Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” serves as an introduction to a short, two song Who Else? set of the amazing industrial “Even Odds” and a gorgeous version of “Angel (Footsteps).” The melody in the latter is as delicate as angel’s wings, and Beck’s variations on the melody are very impressive.
“Daylight Robbery,” a cover of the Imogen Heap song from her second solo album Speak For Yourself, follows with Beck handling the vocal melody on the guitar.
The second disc starts off with “Nadia,” another of Beck’s melodic masterpieces, which segues directly into “The Pump.”
“Loose Cannon,” another of the “newer” songs, contains a short reference to the old Yardbirds’ hit “Heartful Of Soul,” and “Nothing But Love” is played by Beck with synthesizer embellishments only. It’s the softest and most pretty sounding song of the night.
A storming version of “Blue Wind” is followed by Hammer’s “Voyage Home.” The aggressive “Led Boots” gets the crowd wild, inciting a little frenzy in front of the stage. After “A Day In The Life” Beck thanks the audience “from the bottom of my guitar strings.”
Warwick is the debut release on the Jeff Beck dedicated label Guitar Cycle (whose other releases include the Portsmouth show from this tour on The Last Gig (GCD002) and Loud And Heavy (GCD-004ABC), which has three Jeff Beck Group shows from Boston, 1969). It’s a rare document from a short tour and one of the better tapes available.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)