Rough, Ready, Go! (Wardour-035)
Aerie Crown Theater, Chicago, IL – May 13, 1972
(77:16): Ice Cream Cakes, Morning Dew, Keyboards Solo – Going Down, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, Glad All Over, Jeff’s Boogie, Definitely Maybe, Situation, New Ways – Train Train, Let Me Love You, Got The Feeling
The second version of the Jeff Beck Group actually made three trips to the States in their very short career. The first was at the tail end of 1971 with select dates in San Francisco, New York and Boston. May 1972 saw a longer tour with stops New York, Boston, Detroit, and two in Chicago on May 13th and May 14th. The first night in Chicago is one of the very few shows from this trip to be recorded and released on silver.
It is a clear but distant audience recording with minimal audience interference. The distance from the stage allows a deep echo onto the recording, but the frenzied atmosphere of the show is captures perfectly. There are several cuts between songs but nothing is lost.
Two previous titles cover this show. It can be found on Glad All Over (Scarecrow 058/059) and Oh, Sweet Sounds (Sinsemilla TOP/JB-72001D). Wardour released Rough, Ready, Go! in the June 2006 utilizing the same tape source as the older titles. Their version of this tape is clearer with less hiss present. They also fit the show onto one disc instead of splitting it onto two discs like the others.
“Ice Cream Cakes,” which serves as a signature tune for this line up, starts off the show. “Morning Dew” follows sounding much heavier than usual. Max Middleton plays a short piano solo which ranges in style from Elgar to boogie woogie as a segue into “Going Down.” The Dylan cover “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” ends with a spooky moan which reverberates around the theater.
“By the way, it’s very nice to be back in Chicago” Beck says while people in the audience shout “louder!!!” “Jeff’s Boogie” is one of the few hold overs from the first Jeff Beck Group repertoire, although Beck adds a considerably unsettling affect to the guitar riffage in the middle in addition to the standard “Beverly Hillbillies” theme.
The melody of “Definitely Maybe” seems to float in space as Beck and Trench stretch it out. But the long show-stopper is “New Ways / Train Train.” Lasting almost thirteen minutes, Beck’s guitar playing is terrifyingly electric. By the end he trys “one of those stupid sing alongs,” trying to get the audience to duplicate the guitar. “I can’t hear shit” he complains, motivating the audience to sing louder.
The final song of the set is a very loud and raucous version of “Let Me Love You” with the only encore the “Got The Feeling.” Rough, Ready, Go! is overall a great release by Wardour. This is one of the few documents from this line up and is very good sounding. It serves as a good compliment to the professional recordings that have been released many times before.