Bon Schmidt: There was a neighbor of mine who was always trying to get me to listen to the Yardbirds, Blue Cheer, Led Zep…all of that stuff…when we were lads. I, in turn, tried to make him understand the true genius of Stanley Clarke and Spyro Gyra. As would be expected, we had little to relate to on the music end, and focused more on our joint appreciation of rollerblading. I took him to a Gyra concert a few years ago, and he totally flipped; since he passed the bar, the guy seems to have really gotten his head together about what I have been trying to hip him to (I have no idea if there is a connection).
So he took me kicking and screaming to the Jeff Beck show at the Fox Theater in Oakland last week and OH MY JIMENY the show I witnessed took my breath away. The Fox is a beautifully restored theater for starters. When Beck hit the stage, it was obvious from the first note that something special was going on. I was expecting banal rock antics. Instead, I got a smoother Jeff Beck…instrumental with a bass player that was RIGHT UP THERE with the feel and suavity of a Sting or Nathan East….and look again: it is a GIRL by the name of Tal Wilkenfeld! The two really locked in and the sounds were oh so pleasing…think of some of Joe Sample’s recent stuff. Near the ending of the show, they both played her bass…Beck on the lower strings…forming a momentary relationship that was as unique and dare I say it ROMANTIC as any one of I have seen on a stage in a long time. Long Live Jeff Beck and welcome to the smooth side.