A Battle Without Honor & Humanity (Watch Tower WT 2006153-4)
Nagoya City Koukaido, Aichi, Japan – November 26th, 1978
Disc 1 (34:50): Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun, Star Cycle, Freeway Jam, Cat Moves, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, Bass Solo / School Days
Disc 2 (47:53): Journey To Love, Lopsy Lu, Diamond Dust, Scatterbrain, Rock’n Roll Jelly, Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, Blue Wind
Jeff Beck’s brief association with Stanley Clarke was a true artistic collaboration between two talented musicians. And except for a few tracks on Clarke’s studio albums, there is very little evidence of it occurring. The short tours of Japan in 1978 and Europe in 1979 fortunately were extensively taped from the audience and provide much welcomed documentation. It is ironic that during this time, when Beck was living in the USA and was working with an American artist, no shows with the two occur there.
The November 26th Nagoya show is the fifth of ten shows in Japan and the recording benefits from being taped in a relatively small venue. The mono audience recording captures the entire show without cuts and is very detailed albeit a little flat. It was pressed before on the Beck-oriented Scarecrow label on The Two Representative Of The Rock (Scarecrow 089/090) in similar quality. But Watch Tower has a slight edge in clarity and for being lively.
Opening the set is the familiar “Darkness / Earth In Search Of A Sun.” On Becks’ previous tours with Jan Hammer this number was an eighteen minute long set piece where Beck would join Hammer in the latter half othe song. On this tour, ninety seconds of the introductory majestic keyboard riff serves as an introduction to the “funk” arrangement of “Star Cycle.”
“Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” serves as as introduction to Clarke’s bass solo which in turn morphs into a duet with Beck in “School Days.” The improvisations in this piece are cut short at nine minutes. The entire band contributes though in the dreamy surreal “Journey Of Love.”
“Lopsy Lou” features a three way dialogue between Beck on guitar, Clarke on bass and Hymas on keyboards as they each take turns stating the theme and introducing variations over the course of the track’s six minutes. “Diamond Dust” is a real subtle and gentle improvisation between the two musicians and leads directly into the frantic “Scatterbrain.” Both Hymas on keyboards and Simon Phillips on drums are given an opportunity to solo.
Clarke’s “Rock And Roll Jelly” is the final song played in the main set. Three minutes of the lyric “‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” serves as a three minute prelude to “Blue Wind,” appropriately the final song played in the show. Watch Tower package this in a double slimline jewel case with very clear graphics on the artwork. Overall the sound quality is very good and the performance is intriguing enough to suggest having this title in the collection.