Jeff Beck – Nights Of Emotion (no label)

Nights Of Emotion (no label)

Jeff Beck has capped of another successful year with the announcement on December 1st, 2010 that he is nominated for five Grammy awards including Emotion And Commotion for best album.  Along with the  praise garnished for the LP have been many adventurous, sterling live performances throughout the world.  Nights Of Emotion presents two shows from the United Kingdom in October.  

The first two discs cover the October 24th show in Bolton and the second two come two nights later on October 26th in the Royal Albert Hall in London, the final night in England before heading back to Europe.  Both are unique recordings from a DAT tape source, so the sound is very clear and the shows are presented complete. 

Bristol is a “normal” show from the tour with Beck and the rest of the band including Jason Rebello on keyboards, Rhonda Smith on bass and Narada Michael Walden on drums.  In London, Beck was joined by the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the second half of the show plus other guest vocalist.  The additional musicians mean a slightly different setlist.

Regarding these shows, Beck himself posted on his blog: “What was meant to be time off for me this summer wasn’t exactly the most relaxing time and before I knew it I was back on the road at the beginning of October…. When we came back to the UK to do our shows we had the fabulous ‘Trombone Shorty’ and his band support us for a few of the dates……. He is very talented and unique in his style.

“I was very lucky when we played at The Royal Albert Hall to have some very special guests and a 22 piece orchestra …… Olivia Safe just blew the crowd away way she came on to perform ‘Elegy for Dunkirk’, she was mesmerising. Imelda May joined me on stage both nights; she is just incredible and breathtaking. Sharon Corr was also there to perform ‘Mna Na Heireann’, wow!!!”

Colston Hall, Bristol, UK – October 24th, 2010

Disc 1 (46:50):  Plan B, Stratus, Led Boots, Corpus Christi Carol, Hammerhead, Mna Na Eireann, bass solo, People Get Ready, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Big Block

Disc 2 (49:06):  Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Team Amerika, Angel (Footsteps), Dirty Mind, Brush With The Blues, A Day In The Life, I Want To Take You Higher, How High The Moon, Nessun Dorma, God Save The Queen

“Eternity’s Breath” served as set opener for all the shows this year but was dropped for the October dates.  Beginning in the October 9th show in Nantes, France, the spacey “Plan B” was installed as the first song.  It’s spaciness contrasts with the Billy Cobham cover “Stratus.” 

“Led Boots” is the first pure rock / metal song of the night.  The Bristol audience takes a while before reacting and shouting during the breaks in the song (no doubt prompted by Beck himself).  “Mna Na Eireann” had been part of the set since the beginning of the year.  The violin part is played by a flute sound on the keyboards. 

Beck introduces Rhonda Smith on bass before her short solo.  She introduces a heavier funk influence than Tal Wikenfeld did last year when she toured with Beck.  Smith’s solo leads into “People Get Ready.”  The Muddy Waters’ cover “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” is the first hint of blues in the set, but only the faintest traces of the original blues arrangement can really be heard in the song.  Beck transforms the style in many different directions. 

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” is a nice peaceful moment in the show and the audience join in on vocals on the chorus by the end.  “Brush With The Blues” is very intense, played before the last song of the set “A Day In The Life.”

Sly And The Family Stone’s “I Want To Take You Higher” is the first encore.  Smith dominates the arrangement with a powerful bass presence.  Afterwards Beck picks up his Les Paul and pay tribute to the recently departed guitarist.  “How High The Moon” is from the 1940 musical Two For The Show and was a hit for Les Paul in 1951.       

The Royal Albert Hall, London, UK – October 26th, 2010

Disc 3 (46:12):  Plan B, Stratus, Led Boots, Corpus Christi Carol, Hammerhead, Mna Na Eireann (with Sharon Coor), bass solo, People Get Ready, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Big Block 

Disc 4 (54:51):  Elegy For Dunkirk (with Olivia Safe), Team Amerika, Angel (Footsteps), Dirty Mind, Brush With The Blues, A Day In The Life, I Want To Take You Higher, How High The Moon (with Imelda May), Remember (Walking In The Sand) (with Imelda May), Nessun Dorma

Jeff Beck played two nights at the Royal Albert Hall on October 26th and October 27th.  The sound quality for the first night included in this collection is equally as impressive as Bristol.  And the first half hour has the identical setlist.  “Plan B” begins the show followed by “Stratus” where drummer Narada Michael Walden plays with thunderous intensity.

The first alteration in the program occurs after “Hammerhead.”  Sharon Corr (Beck introduces curtly as “Sharon”) plays violin on a dreamy version of “Mna Na Eireann” followed by Smith’s funk workout in the bass solo. 

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” is dropped and replaced by “Elegy For Dunkirk.”  Beck is joined by the British Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Olivia Safe for a gorgeous rendition of the Dario Marianelli piece (which won an Oscar for Best Original Music for the 2007 movie Atonement).

The show picks up again from the usual setlist including intense versions of “Dirty Mind” and “Brush With The Blues.” 

“I Want To Take You Higher” is the first song in the encore set, followed by “How High The Moon.”  Imelda May joins the band on vocals.  She also sings vocals on “Remember (Walking In The Sand).”  It is a faithful cover of the 1964 Shangri-Las melodramatic hit.  “Nessun Dorma” closes the show on a melodic note. 

Nights Of Emotion is packaged in a standard quad jewel case with photographs from the Royal Albert Hall show on the artwork.  It is a great document from the UK tour worth having due to the sound quality and great performances.  These songs all bear his stamp upon the genera from which they are derived including blues, jazz fusion and classical.  Beck has earned tremendous amounts of praise for his work for creating music that is both original and stimulating.   

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