Jeff Beck – Palladium Jam 1980 (Scarecrow 083/084)

Palladium Jam 1980 (Scarecrow 083/084)

Palladium, New York, NY – October 12th, 1980 (early)

Disc 1 (43:33):  Star Cycle, El Becko, Too Much To Lose, The Pump, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Space Boogie, Freeway Jam, Led Boots

Disc 2 (40:50):  Diamond Dust, Scatterbrain, Blue Wind, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / You Never Know, Going Down

Jeff Beck’s musical evolution can be divided into various stages.  The first decade, with the Yardbirds and various incarnations of the Jeff Beck Group, were an attempt to fit him into the confines of a working rock band.  After that Beck alternated between being a solo artist and working in collaboration with other artists, most notably Jan Hammer and Stanley Clarke. 

1980’s There & Back was his first true solo album in four years.  On tour he brought a backing band but, even as they are important for shaping his sound, aren’t of the stature of those who came before.  The emphasis is solely upon Jeff Beck and his music.

After the new album’s release he toured the US sporadically between September and November including two shows in New York at the Palladium on October 12th.  Both were recorded and can be found on two CDR boots:  Amazing Palladium (Masterport 068) with the late show and the three CDR set There And Back Tour In New York (Pulse PL-9070) with both early and late shows. 

Palladium Jam 1980 on Scarecrow is the only silver pressing of either.  The label mistakenly attributes this to October 10th and don’t mention this to be the early show.  The sound quality is very good.  A certain thinness to the sound is the only thing keeping it from being excellent.  It is however perfectly enjoyable. 

He plays the entire album except for “The Final Peace,” a number that was played a couple times early in the tour and would be played several times in Japan.

After opening with two new songs “Star Cycle” and “El Becko” he comes off as being very angry.  He greets the audience saying:  “It’s nice to be back here in New York.  I’m probably going to play a tune you won’t like he” before “Too Much To Lose.”  There is similar negativity before the encore “Going Down Slow” when he spits out:  “Okay let’s see how this goes.  Things have got so bad for me in the press they can’t get any worse.  I think I just might do this solo and play a little song that goes like this…”

The source of his bitterness isn’t apparent until you look at the reviews of his new album.  Robert Ficke of Rolling Stone slammed the album, saying: 

“The good news is that Jeff Beck is back with his first studio record since Wired in 1976. The bad news is that There and Back sounds dismally familiar. In the last few years, such avant-garde guitarists as Robert Fripp and James “Blood” Ulmer – not to mention New Wave upstarts like Public Image Ltd.’s Keith Levene and the Gang of Four’s Andy Gill – have been busy plowing new rhythmic and harmonic ground. Instead of rising to their challenge, Beck has merely returned to the fusion cocoon he started spinning five years ago on Blow by Blow.  Worse, the star opens There and Back with three strikes against him, all of them the work of fuzak keyboardist Jan Hammer, with whom Beck cut a 1977 live album.  There and Backis a disappointingly static record from a consummate riffer whose specialty was always leading the pack. These days, Jeff Beck seems content to be a spectator, watching the parade go by.”

Probably channeling his anger, he delivers a great show which, like the new LP, is set more in rock than in the fusion he was dabbling in during most of the decade.  Even the tunes from Wired and Blow By Blow have a deeper, harder edge on them than on past tours with Beck attempting to refashion the improvisatory solos for a different audience.  Beck would pretty much stop extensive touring for a decade after this.  Ultimately this is a very good document from this time and is recommended.   

Palladium Jam 1980 is issued in a cardboard gatefold sleeve, but discs fit into only one sleeve.  Scarecrow also use heavy thick cardboard instead of the thin glossy paper used by other label to give this a more durable look.      

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