Jeff Beck – O’Keefe Master (Wardour-045)

O’Keefe Master (Wardour-045)

O’Keefe Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – July 23rd, 1975 (early show)

(65:06): Introduction, Constipated Duck, She’s A Woman, Freeway Jam, Definitely Maybe, Superstition, AIR Blower, keyboard solo, ‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Jeff’s Boogie, Power, Got The Feeling, You Know What I Mean, Diamond Dust / Jeff’s Jam

Jeff Beck in 1975 is the beginning of the artists we know today.  Instead of being part of a group, he would be flying solo from now on with various different backing bands.  Blow By Blow, his latest album, proved to be popular upon its release in March and his two leg US tour played to enthusiastic audiences. 

For the live shows he kept Max Middleton on keyboards and recruited Wilbur Bascomb on bass and Bernard Purdie, the funkiest and loosest rhythm section in the business.  They played two shows at the historic 3,000 seat O’Keefe Theatre in Toronto on July 23rd; the first at 6:30pm and the second at 9:00pm.  Both shows were taped from the audience and the early show appeared on vinyl in several editions. 

The most famous was Jeff Beck’s Beck-Fast (TMQ-8204) with eight tracks from the show issued in 1976.  The William Stout cover is among his most famous and was even recently co-opted by Tarantura for a recent release.   Another vinyl release is Beckelectric At O’Keefe: White Like Me on the K & S label.

On compact disc the show appears on disc one of Complete O’Keefe Center Show (Scarecrow 004/5) along with the evening show and on Definitely Maybe(Improvisation IL-366811).  Wardour claim to use the master cassette for this release.  The sound is excellent stereo with just faint hints of distortion.  There is a cut at 4:25 in “‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” and before the encores. 

The concert was also reviewed by Bruce Kirkland in the Star newspaper in Toronto.  He noted that Beck was a reserved performer, writing that “he never looked at the audience in the face when he performed but rather played eyed games with drummer Bernard Purdie and the two cajoled each other into higher and greater and more intense bursts of his tension power rock, then guided each other through the smoother passages of jazz rock.”

Although another eyewitness tells a different story saying “he was very animated with the crowd that night, often leaning over the stage and letting fans strum his guitar for him while he played.  Jeff always seems to put on a good show in Toronto.” 

Beck sounds quite lose onstage.  During “She’s A Woman” Beck sings “You Shook Me” and afterwards jokes “that’s called ‘She’s A Transvestite.'”

After “‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” Beck, by the cajoling of members in the audience, plays a few notes of “Jeff’s Boogie.”  It is a forty-five second tease with “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme, a song he hadn’t played in several years.  He then introduces “Stanley Clarke” on bass, “…er, Wilbur Bascomb on bass” before “Power.”  It seems already he was thinking about working with Clarke, years before it actually happened.

The set ends with the Jeff Beck Group’s “Got The Power” and he follows with two encores from Blow By Blow, “You Know What I Mean” and “Diamond Dust.”

Wardour is a bit weak on the artwork.  It would have been great if they could have duplicated the old vinyl cover, or at least used something more colorful.  O’Keefe Master is one of the best documents from this tour and is worth having.

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