Chicago Theatre Review
A Pair of Legends
Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy at Ravinia
The audience knew they were in for a special night when two of the best guitarist to grace the music world were about to hit the stage: Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy.
I was excited tonight because not only was I scratching another person, (Beck) off my personal bucket list but finally fulfilling the trilogy of great guitarists from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page respectively. The crowd cheered as Jeff Beck walked on stage with the style and the coolness of Steve McQueen carrying his trademark white Fender Stratocaster reminiscent of his classic 1970s fusion period. He opened the show with the spirited “The Revolution Will be Televised’ from his new album Loud Hailer. Jeff then got down to business and tore into the classic “Traffic Jam,” backed by his touring band Bones, a hip, gritty pop-rock band based in London. They also collaborated with Jeff on eleven songs on the new record. He shared songs with the talents of vocalists Rosie Bones and Jimmy Hall from Wet Willie fame. Both singers were full of energy and very animated moving about the stage. They complemented Beck’s fine smooth guitar playing with their loud and clear vocals. His set consisted of 5 songs from his new album intertwining old classic gems from his 50 year career like “Morning Dew,” “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers,” ” A Chance Is Gonna Come”and “Big Block.” Jeff and Rosie took center stage to perform the touching “Scared for the Children” with Jeff playing beautiful gentle fills as Rosie sang the delicate song on the floor. He got the crowd going again with the blues standard “Rollin’ and Tumblin” and then breaking into the opening riff to the Stevie Wonder cover “Superstition” which got people to their feet once again. He left the stage only to come back and play an amazing version of The Beatles “A Day in the Life” as his encore. To borrow a phrase from a good friend on Jeff Beck’s performance at Ravinia tonight “mind blowing.” Yes that about covers it.
Buddy Guy came out playing his guitar, also a Stratocaster, like he was processed. He was in top form as he played “Damn Right I Got the Blues.” Buddy loves to tell the stories behind the songs and we love to hear the master tell them. One story in particular was how English bands and guitarist like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck introduced young Americans to the Blues by making them curious about the original artist who wrote the songs. Buddy invited Mr. Beck out to trade licks on a couple songs. Both were very happy and in great spirits to play together. Celebrating his 80th birthday this year we were treated to “Happy Birthday” performed by Jeff Beck. He seems to get better with age. Buddy played many classic blues songs like “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Buddy left the stage and went into the crowd playing a screaming solo up close and personal to his legion of fans. He wrapped up his performance by tossing out guitar picks. I almost had one but the guy behind me was too quick.
Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck, a great match for a nice summer’s night at Ravinia. These two legends are living proof that like fine wine they can only get better with age.
Reviewed by Terry Giardina
For more information visit www.ravinia.org