Beck-Fast (Tarantura TCDJBG-1)
Palace Theater, Waterbury, CT – May 17th, 1972
(79:11): Introduction, Ice Cream Cakes, Morning Dew, Keyboards Solo, Going Down, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, Glad All Over, Definitely Maybe, Jeff’s Boogie, Situation, New Ways, Plynth, drum solo, Train Train, Let Me Love You, Got The Feeling
With the scarcity of live recordings of the second Jeff Beck Group and the very limited amount of time they were actually together, any clear recording is precious for the collection. The two most bootlegged tapes are the Helsinki tape from August 1971 and the BBC session in June 1972.
They played in the US for only two weeks in May 1972 before calling it quits several months later. Several audience tapes exist, but the most vivid and popular recording to circulate from that tour is the May 17th show at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut. With Todd Rundgren And The Hello People opening, they play long set with various stylistic changes and show much more diversity than the first incarnation of the band.
An earlier pressing of this show can be found on Orange Cakes (Scarecrow 008).
On Beck-Fast, Tarantura utilize the master cassette from Hep-Floydie, which is a very good audience recording. It is slightly distant but very clear and enjoyable. The crowd are mostly quiet and respectful throughout the evening (although one bigmouth shouts during the keyboard solo). There is a cut after “Jeff’s Boogie” which cuts off the opening notes to “Situation,” but otherwise all of the songs are complete and virtually the entire concert is present on the disc.
For a band who existed for a little less than two years they were tremendously prolific, releasing two studio albums with the space of several months and engaging in several tours.
Much of the first half of the show is drawn from the latest album Jeff Beck Group (aka The Orange Album) starting off with the arrogant soulful strut of “Ice Cream Cakes.” The title is stupid and the melody simple, but it’s a terribly exacting way to start off the show, especially when “Morning Dew” follows as a moody contrast.
“Morning Dew” is one of the few songs in the set to date from the first Jeff Beck Group. It’s popularity with various artists insure it to be a perennial. Bobby Tench’s vocals are delicate enough to give a very warm resonance to the words. The track segues directly into Max Middleton’s cocktail-style jazz piano solo which in turn leads directly into “Going Down.”
“Tonight I Will Be Staying Here With You” is from the newest album and retains vague traces of its country / western roots from Dylan’s Nashville Skyline. Beck turns the mid-tempo tune into an excuse to bombard the audience with high pitched guitar squeals that thrill the audience.
“This is a slow tune that may bore you” Beck says before “Definitely Maybe.” “If it bores you, you can go to sleep.” The instrumental remains one of the earliest and most enduring originals and still finds its way into the set.
“Jeff’s Boogie” is similar in construction as on earlier tours with quotes from various tunes including “Heartful Of Soul” from his old group The Yardbirds and “The Beverly Hillbillies” television program. Beck likes the Yardbirds tune so much he plays it again in the next song “Situation.”
The set technically ends with the long medley of “New Ways” leading into “Pynth” from Beck-Ola and a drum solo before ending with “Train Train.”
Someone by the taper begs for “Let Me Love You” when the band return to the stage for the encores and gets it. After a long cheering segment with encouragement from the mc the band come out for a second encore. Beck speaks to the audience about the bassist Clive Chaman before he takes a short solo in “Got The Feeling.”
Beck-Fast is another tremendous release. The label utilizes the old William Stout cover of the vinyl release (which actually documented the July 23rd, 1975 early show in Toronto) updated to fit the information of the Waterbury show. The interior contains several era shots of Beck onstage with the band and a photograph of the cassette tape used to tape the show.