By Chyrisse Tabone, Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Mid-Florida Amphitheatre, Tampa, Florida–May 7, 2015
When I heard that Jeff Beck was making an appearance at the Mid-Florida Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida, I was more than thrilled. In fact, I felt like a giddy teenager all over again at the prospect of finally seeing him concert. Believe me, I have seen a lot of bands and artists through the years but there are a few still on my bucket list—and Jeff Beck was one of them. Among guitar purists, his name is at the top of the list as being the gold standard.
Friday evening finally arrived and I made my way down to the ampthitheatre. It was a lovely cool evening (for Florida) and the sun was beginning to wane. The support artist Tyler Bryant warmed up the crowd with his wonderful resonator guitar and down home Texan-blues music. By the time Jeff Beck arrived, the theater was jam packed with Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers getting comfortable in their seats.
Ah! Finally Jeff Beck walked out on the stage with his Olympic white Fender Telecaster which features a reverse headstock. He was wearing black jeans, a black vest, and a white sleeveless shirt which showed off his well-toned arms. I was tickled when I saw a rhinestone cuff on his right-hand wrist which glittered as he stroked the metal guitar strings. His dark brown hair was coiffed in his signature shaggy cut and his look was topped off with sliver-rimmed black shades. He did not appear to be his stated-age of 70 and certainly had many women’s heart throbbing.
Beck started the set off with “Loaded” and then followed with “Nine.” I immediately noticed the high quality and tightness of Jeff Beck’s supporting band—they are all the best jazz musicians in the business. Rhonda Smith shone on bass, Jonathan Joseph played his heart out on drums, and Nicolas Meier blended beautifully with Beck’s mesmerizing guitar riffs. I noticed as the music progressed during the evening, the musicians were all fused as one, looking at each other, and smiling as they knew “we are in the zone.”
I sat there in my seat, spellbound, and was totally absorbed in the music. I usually do not get emotional except for a few bands but the beauty of Beck’s playing was almost unearthly. He gently stroke each metal string with his bare fingers, as if caressing a kitten. With each delicate touch, the sound of the guitar harmonics and bends were captivating. I closed my eyes and time-traveled to listening to his albums like “Blow by Blow” in my teens—memories of a simpler and care-free time.
Some of Jeff Beck’s cover songs were gorgeous like his renditions of “Little Wing,” “Superstition,” and “A Day in the Life.” Simply moving and brilliant.
I was thrilled to see Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie fame join the set for his renditions of down-home blues numbers like Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna’ Come” and Hambone Willie Newbern’s “Rollin’ and Tumblin.” His raspy blues voice was full of bleeding emotion and soul.
So, the Jeff Beck concert was everything I had hoped for and more.
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