Few guitarists like Jeff Beck exist in the world and even those who one would consider his peers show up to play alongside him at his shows. Such is the case with Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott’s, where artists like Eric Clapton show up to play alongside Jeff Beck in a twenty-one song set that spans Beck’s diverse career. While the concert was released on CD back in November of 2008, this is the first time that fans will get to see the concert in full video, with both DVD and Blu-ray releases planned for simultaneous release on March 31st.
Jeff Beck’s series of concerts at the renowned Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s Soho became the must have ticket of the year with a packed audience every night of the fans and the famous filling the intimate venue. With a setlist that features classic tracks from across his career, an absolutely stunning backing band and special guest appearances by Joss Stone, Imogen Heap, Eric Clapton and the Big Town Playboys this Blu-ray disc captures for the first time the unique experience of Jeff Beck live in concert.
There are few guitarists that can play quite like Jeff Beck and to see him in such an intimate setting for over twenty-one songs was nothing short of spectacular. For one thing any videos you’ve seen of Beck in concert before were massive venues, but with this concert you have fans mere inches away from him as he plays some absolutely astonishing songs with the guitar. One minute the man can be playing the most beautiful piece of music and the next he’s using the whammy bar like mad. It’s not only a diverse concert, but a very beautiful one at the same time.
The enjoyment from the concert doesn’t stop at just Beck either; the aforementioned guest stars of Stone, Heap and Clapton all make for a unique outing and the bonus “Rockabilly Set” with The Big Town Playboys that is also included on the set is an absolute blast to listen to (and watch). In all there are twenty-eight songs on this Blu-ray to take in and there isn’t a dull one in the bunch, although I will say that the pairing of Beck and Imogen Heap was a bit strange—not because of her, the songs themselves were just odd. The full set-list includes:
1) Beck’s Bolero
2) Eternity’s Breath
4) Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers
5) Behind The Veil
6) You Never Know
8) Blast From The East
9) Led Boots
10) Angel (Footsteps)
11) People Get Ready – with JOSS STONE
13) Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Brush With The Blues
14) Space Boogie
15) Blanket – with IMOGEN HEAP
16) Big Block
17) A Day In The Life
18) Little Brown Bird – with ERIC CLAPTON
19) You Need Love – with ERIC CLAPTON
20) Rollin’ And Tumblin’ – with IMOGEN HEAP
21) Where Were You
And an additional seven songs with The Big Town Playboys:
1) Race With The Devil
2) Crazy Legs
3) Train Kept A Rollin’
4) My Baby Left Me
6) Baby Blue
7) Honky Tonk
Overall it’s a solid concert with not only great guest appearances but also just an amazing concert by Beck from beginning to end. Highly Recommended.
Eagle Vision HD brings the concert to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case complete with an eight page booklet detailing not how the concerts came to be but also profiling the guests and Beck himself. Menus for the set are simple and easy to navigate, while the AVC encoded 1080i image looks quite fantastic. I’m never sure why Eagle Rock never goes full 1080p with these transfers (though as is the 50gb disc is filled up with 38gb of data—not sure how much more space the progressive transfer would eat up, but maybe there just isn’t room in some cases), but in any case the detail available for this concert is quite high, while at the same time there is a bit of softness to it, likely a culprit of the low-level mood lighting of the club. Still, there are plenty of fantastic visuals accompany the pristine array of audio options available. The DTS-HD Master Audio track is the “king” of the set, but the LPCM Stereo mix is surprisingly almost as strong (assuming you have an A/V Receiver that can matrix it out to your other speakers properly). All of the content on the disc is presented in 1080i, including the extra content.
Extras for this release include a relatively small selection, but they’re all worth checking out. The aforementioned Big Town Players set is included here and the rest of the extras are interviews with those involved with the project. Jeff Beck Interview (30:40) discusses entirely with Beck about the project, while Main Band Interview (6:44) gives a quick overview of the band backing him up (holy crap that bassist is young). Jeff Beck on The Rockabilly Set (8:26) again focuses on Beck, while Big Town Players Interview (4:41) focuses on the Players themselves.
Overall it’s a solid packaging through and through and well worth checking out, regardless if you’re a Beck fan or not. Highly Recommended.
Jeff Beck Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott’s arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on March 31st.