Jeff Beck – Illinois Hurricane (Wardour-105)


Illinois Hurricane

World Music Theater, Tinley Park, IL – August 24th, 1995

(74:25):  Hurricane, Stand On It, Star Cycle, Guitar Shop, Savoy, You Never Know, Behind The Veil, Freeway Jam, Where You Were, Big Block, ‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Sling Shot, Blue Wind, People Get Ready, Going Down

Jeff Becks’ first US tour in six years in the autumn of 1995 elicited strange reactions from fans.  Naturally there was excitement.  But, strangely, also concern that this might be his farewell to the live stage.  He wasn’t promoting anything new.  Since Guitar Shop in 1989,  his only recorded output was a soundtrack to an Australian television mini-series and an album of Gene Vincent covers.

Concerns were further exacerbated because he toured with pretty much the same band, Terry Bozzio on drums and Tony Hymas on keyboards being joined by Pino Paladino on bass, and the set list drew heavily from the last studio album.  

They played in the World Music Theater in Tinley Park, just outside of Chicago, about a week into the trip.  Illinois Hurricane is the first silver pressed release documenting this show.  Wardour use an excellent stereo audience DAT recording.  It has no cuts and presents the show in its entirety.  

Beginning the show, and the main point of interest, is the new song “Hurricane.”  One of the few original songs in his early nineties output, he worked on the track in the studio for several years and it was even a candidate for Who Else! in 1999, but has never been officially released.  A slow and menacing tune, Terry Bozzio changed the “tribal rhythms” of the studio demos into a slow funky two-beat.  The beat would be recycled for “Angel (Footstep).”  It opens every show on this tour but would disappear afterwards   

It segues right into “Stand On It” from Guitar Shop, a more familiar tune to the audience and a perfect compliment to “Star Cycle,” one of the oldies of the set.  

More songs from Guitar Shop follow including “Savoy” with a gorgeous jazzy interlude in the middle.  “Behind The Veil” sounds great in this recording with the delicate eastern chords.  The Stevie Wonder cover “‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” has a heavier rock beat than in other arrangements.  

The set ends with “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” leading into “Sling Shot” and, after Beck thanks the audience, the familiar “Blue Wind.”  

The first encore is a cover of the Curis Mayfield tune “People Get Ready” and, after a period of clapping by the audience, a purely instrumental performance of “Going Down.”  Although even Beck in other performances would sing along, but this time chooses to let the guitar speak.  The song shuts down in chaos in the end.

Illinois Hurricane is a really nice title on Wardour.  The label released this when collectors requested they released the Cincinnati show as a bonus CDR some months back.  The Chicago recording is much better and more deserving of a silver release   It has great sound and a very clear and powerful version of the rarity “Hurricane.”    

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