Sling Shot (Wardour-072)
Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA – December 2nd, 1989
(73:08): Savoy, Guitar Shop, Sling Shot, Big Block, Behind The Veil, Freeway Jam, Where Were You, Stand On It, Goodbye Porkpie Hat, Two Rivers, Day In The House, Train Kept A-Rollin’, Blue Wind, People Get Ready, Going Down (with Stevie Ray Vaughn)
When Guitar Shop was released in October 1989 it was Jeff Beck’s first album in more than three years and the twenty-three date US tour in October to December was his first prolonged tour in almost ten. The “Fire and The Fury Tour” featured Beck touring with Stevie Ray Vaughn, who was touring for his minor comeback album In Step, and they alternated between opening and supporting slots depending on their mood on any given night.
The Sacramento tape is making its silver pressed debut on Sling Shot. It is an excellent, three dimensional stereo audience recording with profound resonance in its dynamics. The entire concert is captured on one disc. There is a small non-destructive cut before “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.”Beck is joined by his studio band at the time Terry Bozzio on drums and Tony Hymas on keyboards. They didn’t have a bassist for either the album or tour; Hymas played the bass-lines on the keyboards.
Guitar Shop was seen as a return to form for Beck after the disappointing Flash and most of the set is devoted to playing the entire LP. The first two songs on the LP are played at the beginning but in reverse order, “Savoy” followed by “Guitar Shop.” Bozzio’s vocals are played on a backing tape as they perform the song which Beck described in the interview with Steven Rosen as “a gung-ho, funk, disjointed type of Prince groove with some abstract screaming in it. It’s kind of an idea I had about the sounds that come out of a music shop on a Saturday morning with people screaming and people playing 6,000 different styles.
They follow that with the final song off the new album “Sling Shot” which, withe florescent colored keyboards, is the most dated song in the set. “Thank you very much Sacramento. We’re gonna do a reggae for you” Beck says before they play “Big Block” which is anything but reggae. “Thank you very much, this is the reggae” Beck laughs before they play the reggae inspired “Behind The Veil” which segues into a quick rendition of “Freeway Jam.”
The audience seem to really like the slow paced “Where Were You.” Their screeching is clearly audible behind the music. “Two Rivers” is “a pretty little thing we got together for the album.” It is the most melodic tune of the set and the way it is recorded, with Beck’s soaring guitars over Bozzio’s deep echo drums is simply magnificent and one of the highlights of the disc.
“Day In The House” (as in “House Of Lords”) is the other song that features Bozzio’s taped vocals and it segues into an instrumental version of “Train Kept A-Rollin'” played at double the speed. “Blue Wind” is the final song of the set. Beck thanks the audience for coming before the encores start with “People Get Ready,” played without vocals, and “Going Down” where he is joined by Stevie Ray Vaughn, a jam that occurred at every show. The packaging for Sling Shot is very basic with period photographs and is overall a very safe release by Wardour. It is a tight show in excellent sound quality and is worth having.