A taciturn legend comes to life

Concert Review: Jeff Beck, Reading 3, Tel Aviv October 4.

Jeff Beck 311 (photo credit: Shira Teger)
Jeff Beck 311
(photo credit: Shira Teger)
When Jeff Beck took the stage in Tel Aviv on Monday night, he wasn’t there to perform. He wasn’t there to entertain. He was there to play guitar – and the audience was lucky enough to be allowed to watch.
The 65-year-old virtuoso strolled out in appropriate rock star attire: a white tshirt with the sleeves cut off, a vest, track pants, boots, a silver armband, shaggy brown hair and a classic white scarf. His impressive backing band of Rhonda Smith (bass), Narada Michael Walden (drums) and Jason Rebello (keyboards) was likewise the picture of a serious group of musicians.
Beck focused on his instrument for the majority of the show, occasionally looking up to signal the band with a single finger.
Nobody said a word until after the seventh song, when Beck credited Smith for an incendiary solo.
The band rocked through cuts like “Stratus,” “Plan B,” “Led Boots” and “Angel (Footsteps).” Beck mixed in the old blues hit “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” an ethereal cover of “Over the Rainbow,” the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” taking advantage of Smith’s growly vocals and a few contributions from Rebello.
Still, the 19-song set was vastly instrumental, combining jazz, blues, rock, metal and even some electronic elements. It closed with a tribute to Les Paul that had the whole band rocking on “How High the Moon.” Despite being a talent equal to contemporaries Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck never grew as big as they did. For one, he’s more taciturn.
And he’s not a performer.
But he sure can play.
Even though Beck kept to his corner of the stage for the entire concert and barely said a word, the show was far from boring.
The man is a rock legend for all the right reasons.