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    Jeff Beck
    May 12th
    Whitney Hall at Kentucky Center for the Arts
    (photography by:  John Miller)

    By the time Jeff Beck made it to the stage at Whitney Hall last night, the audience was ready to see the legend in all of his glory.  And when he stepped out with signature strat customized with a southpaw neck, everyone knew that the man and the myth had finally arrived.

    A vast majority of the show was instrumental (which should surprise no one familiar with Beck’s catalog as a solo artist) – roughly three quarters of the set was Beck cutting loose with fellow band members bassist Rhonda Smith, guitarist Nicholas Meier, and drummer Jonathan Joseph.  Their chemistry is irrefutable.

    The set consisted mostly of covers.  The musical genius of Beck is that he isn’t a conduit of classics, but like Miles Davis before him, is the innovation through which he interprets classic songs.  It allows him to be creative with arrangements and melodies, playing with finer points of a song with his instrumental versions songs like Hendrix’s “Little Wing” or The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life.”

    Some of the more exhilarating moments was in the other quarter of the show, when singer Jimmy Hall would join the band on-stage.  With Hall on-stage the band would settle down, fall more in step with conventional interpretations of songs like “Morning Dew” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.”  But the real show stopper was when Hall and Beck took us to church with an earth shattering rendition of the Sam Cooke classic “A Change Is Gonna Come.”  The civil rights anthem has meant so much to so many for so long – that it takes confident hands to try and do a rendition of a song that’s been so engrained in the American psyche.

    Opening act Billy Raffoul was kind of a wash.  His whole set being played on an acoustic guitar (which was curiously strung upside down) was impressive but offered no real variation.  There was a lot of impish, rock star posing with his long disheveled hair that would’ve made a great cover of Tiger Beat, otherwise, if you heard his first song you heard them all.

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    About Brent Owen

    Born and raised in Louisville, I have lived here most of my life (except during a short furlough, when I, lovelorn and naive, followed a girl to Baton Rouge). My roots are here, my family, my friends, and my life are all here. I work primarily as a free-lance writer for a few local and regional publications. I have also written two books (one a memoir, the other a novel) that barring some divine intervention, will probably never see the light of day. I find myself deeply ingrained in the local bar scene, or perhaps better said, I often indulge in the local drinking culture. I love music, movies, comedy, and really just about any other live performance art.

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