Recorded during various stops along Jeff Beck's 2014 US tour (August 7-31), Live+ features 14 live cuts culled from those shows, plus 2 new studio tracks, the first since 2010s Emotion & Commotion. With a selection of songs from throughout his career plus some inspiring covers, this is a stunning set from the legendary guitarist and his red hot band, which includes vocalist Jimmy Hall (of Wet Willie fame, who also sang on Beck's Flash album from 1985), bassist Rhonda Smith, drummer Jonathan Joseph, and guitarist Nicolas Meier.
Kicking off with the hard rocking instrumental "Loaded", things get started in furious fashion, as Beck tosses out some molten riffs and solos before the band settles into the bluesy tones of "Morning Dew", a song the Jeff Beck Group made famous back in the late '60s, here with Hall putting in a powerful vocal performance. This guy still has those vocal chops, and it's great to hear him paired with the guitarist once again. "You Know You Know" is a classic Mahavishnu Orchestra song, and these guys do it justice, with Joseph & Smith delivering rumbling drum & bass solos towards the back end of this jazz-fusion gem. "Why Give It Away" and "A Change Is Gonna Come" are two blues numbers again featuring the emotional talents of Hall, while the showstopper in the set is the bands cover of The Beatles tune "A Day in the Life", given royal treatment and featuring some lovely guitar work courtesy of Beck. The ultra-funky "Superstition" has grooves a-plenty, Hall delivering a charged vocal over stomping rhythms and loads of white guitar firepower from Beck & Meier for a completely wild ride. Speaking of wild, "Hammerhead" kicks major ass, a fiery instrumental that sees the legendary axe-slinger spewing out shards of molten guitar venom. The Jimi Hendrix staple "Little Wing" is wonderful, another album highlight, with a poignant performance from Beck and strong vocals by Hall, while the mandatory "Big Block", a classic from the Beck/Bozzio/Hymas line-up, rocks quite hard and delivers killer guitar explorations. Speaking of explorations, "Where Were You" (also from the same Guitar Shop album as its predecessor) sees the guitarist soaring to the heavens with his yearning melodies. "Danny Boy" is equally as lovely, but the full band roars back in to close the set with two raucous blues rockers, "Rollin' and Tumblin' " and "Going Down", each one chock full of tasty blues licks and shuffling rhythms, with Hall sizzling on lead vocals.
The two new studio tracks are quite different, and somewhat puzzling, featuring Beck alongside drummer/vocalist Veronica Bellino, bassist Rhonda Smith, and vocalist Ruth Lorenzo. "Tribal" combines aggressive, almost heavy metal guitars with hip-hop rhythms, and "My Tiled White Floor" has an almost electronic/ambient/industrial feel, with a dark undercurrent of fuzzed out guitar, funky beats, and Lorenzo's strong vocals. Neither is what you would normally expect from Beck, and probably more in line with what he was doing on his previous solo album, but then again, the guitarist never makes the same album twice, so who knows what we might be in store for on his next studio platter. Till then, this is an exciting live release that might not quite top the amazing Live at Ronnie Scott's CD, but it's still very good in its own right.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
2) Morning Dew
3) You Know You Know
4) Why Give It Away
5) A Change is Gonna Come
6) A Day in the Life
9) Little Wing
10) Big Block
11) Where Were You
12) Danny Boy
13) Rollin' and Tumblin'
14) Going Down
15) Tribal (new studio recording)
16) My Tiled White Floor (new studio recording)