Saitama Super Arena Night 2 (ARMS 154/155 PR)
Saitama, Japan – February 22, 2009
Disc 1. The Pump – You Never Know – Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers – Stratus – Angel – Led Boots – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Brush With The Blues – Tal’s Solo with Jeff – A Day In The Life – Big Block – Where Were You – Peter Gunn Theme – Driftin’ Blues – Layla – Motherless Child – Running On Faith.
Disc 2. Tell The Truth – Key To The Highway – I Shot The Sheriff – Wonderful Tonight – Cocaine – Crossroads – You Need Love – Listen Here / Compared To What – Here But I’m Gone – Outside Woman Blues – Brown Bird – Wee Wee Baby – Want To Take You Higher.
I am still a long way from being a connoisseur of Jeff Beck’s work but after listening to “Saitama Super Arena Night 1” I have to say I found it easier to go through his songs today. On a second listen Led Boots does not sound so strident to me. Also, the fact that Blue Wind is not performed may have helped a bit too, I guess. Instead we get Big Block – a blues song with powerful riffs and solos – and, short at less than three minutes, the melodic Where Were You, which nicely closes out Jeff Beck’s solo set. For the encore we get the same song we got the previous show: Mancini’s Peter Gunn Theme.
At this time I would say I prefer this second show over the first one…. but I may just be biased by the fact that I knew what was in store for me on this second listen: I just was not facing the unknown. Still my favourite songs continue to be the slow, melodic ones. I guess I can’t keep away from the classic blues of EC.
No changes on the four acoustic songs that EC starts his solo set with. Driftin’ is played by EC on his own before the band join him for a beautiful rendition of Layla in acoustic mode for the second (and last) time in the tour. Running On Faith features a nice solo by Doyle and this is where things really start to take off.
Tell The Truth, already in electric mode, sounds great and this is when EC’s changes in the setlist appear: no Little Queen Of Spades or Before You Accuse Me tonight. Instead we get the usual Dominos-like rendition of Key To The Highway and the reggae sounds of I Shot The Sheriff with an awesome guitar work from EC on the outro. At this time I can’t do anything else but undoubtely prefer this second show over the first one!!
A beautifully performed Wonderful Tonight and a very solid Cocaine which immediately segues into the up tempo beats of Crossroads close EC’s set. Before leaving the stage EC says “Thank you! Will see you in a couple of minutes!”… Quite funny since that is twice as long as the previous night!
The joint set remains unchanged from the previous night. You Need Love is tighter than it was on the previous night and Gene McDaniels’ Compared To What has rapidly become a favourite of mine by now. You will think Here But I’m Gone is sensational but you will realise it is only kind of a dull one after you listen to the rendition of Muddy Water’s Little Brown Bird, which is absolutely breathtaking with smoking solos once and again. A rousing instrumental cover of Sly and the Family Stones’ Want To Take You Higher is the final song of the night.
“Saitama Super Arena Night 2″ is housed in the usual thin trifold plastic gatefold that ARMS have been using lately and shares the same sleeve as ARMS’ “Saitama Super Arena Night 1″ and “Budokan Night 3″ with just the back covers being different.
The fact that this is the second (and last) gig that sees EC teaming up with Jeff Beck, an excellent sound quality all throughout the show and the fact that both Jeff’s and EC’s performances are even better than they were on the previous night…. make “Saitama Super Arena Night 2″ a very interesting title to own. Recommended!