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Concert: Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Some Famous Friends Blast the Hollywood Bowl

Jeff Beck with his band at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

By Jenny Peters and Andy J. Gordon

It was a night that celebrated two titans of blues and rock guitar on August 10, 2016, as some of the greatest ever descended on the iconic Hollywood Bowl. Buddy Guy, the last of the legendary blues gunslingers, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, showed that he still has the chops to stun a large crowd. Later, Jeff Beck celebrated 50 years of innovative guitar performances and brought out a diverse group of talented guest musicians to support the musical journey through his storied career.

Guy has been amazing crowds since he moved to Chicago in 1957 from his native Louisiana. As a bridge between blues and rock ‘n roll, he is a historic link from Chicago blues pioneers like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf to rock superstars like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix – and yes, Jeff Beck, too – musicians who followed his lead to greatness.

Buddy Guy playing the blues at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

Buddy Guy playing the blues at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

The large Bowl audience cheered and roared as Guy joked about women in his life and messing up the lyrics to his songs in between delivering scorching guitar solos. He played a few of his classics like “Have You Ever Been Mistreated” and “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In).” As he often does during shows, Guy left the massive Bowl stage and meandered happily through the awestruck box-seated crowd while playing his guitar.

He closed his set with “Hoochie Coochie Man,” a virtuoso performance that afforded Guy the opportunity to explain how the now-gone legends of guitar did different interpretations of that Willie Dixon blues standard. He played it in the style of “Sonny Boy” Williamson, John Lee Hooker and Jimi Hendrix. The crowd went wild and the all-too-short set came to an end.

Jeff Beck rips it up on guitar at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

Jeff Beck rips it up on guitar at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

After the intermission, Jeff Beck hit the stage, backed by his stellar band. Beck, 72, is an eight-time Grammy Award winner and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – first with the Yardbirds in 1992 and again as a solo artist in 2009. His career started in England in the early 1960s and he gained initial fame as the replacement for Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds in 1965. Over the years since, his group and solo projects have built his reputation as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

The Bowl audience heard a breathtaking retrospective of his illustrious career. Starting with Yardbirds’ classics like “Heart Full of Soul” and “For Your Love,” Beck wailed electrifying solos. During the mini-set of Jeff Beck Group songs, he invited Jan Hammer out to play keyboards. Hammer and Beck traded psychedelic riffs on 1970s fusion classics like “Freeway Jam,” “Star Cycle” and “Blue Wind.”

Dynamic blues vocalist Beth Hart came out to perform a booming version of “I’d Rather Go Blind,” the widely covered blues standard written by Ellington Jordan in 1957. As Hart took her bows, Beck asked Buddy Guy to come back out and join him onstage. The two legends traded licks during “Let Me Love You Baby” a song written by Willie Dixon that Guy recorded in 1970.

Jeff Beck with Jonathan Joseph on drums at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

Jeff Beck with Jonathan Joseph on drums at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

Beck recently said that he wants to keep things fresh, so he collaborated with the young British band Bones – singer Rosie Bones and rhythm guitarist Carmen Vandenberg – on his 2016 album release “Loud Hailer.” The politically and socially charged new tunes wowed the audience when Rosie Bones came out for yet another guest appearance during the set. Her strong, emotional vocals added forcefully to Beck’s sizzling guitar.

Rosie Bones chanting and marching through the crowd while Jeff Beck and the band play at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

Rosie Bones chanting and marching through the crowd while Jeff Beck and the band play at the Hollywood Bowl on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Andy J. Gordon 2016©.

Unannounced special guest Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top was the next guitar legend to light up the Hollywood Bowl stage. He and Beck traded solos on ZZ Top’s “Rough Boy” and the folk classic “16 Tons.” The parade of superstars continued as Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler danced his way to the mic. Tyler was a whirlwind of twirling energy and screeching vocals on “Train Kept Rolling” and the Yardbirds’ “Shape of Things.”

The amazing show concluded with Beck doing a hypnotic solo version of the Beatles’ “Day in the Life,” followed by a stirring rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain” featuring many of the guest artists. As the show ended and the full assembly of world-class musicians took bows with Beck, the crowd roared in reverence. The incredible “50 years of Jeff Beck” Hollywood Bowl show celebrated not only his brilliance, but also the musical staying power of the blues and rock ‘n roll. It was truly a night to remember in the annals of live shows.

About Andy J. Gordon (188 Articles)
<p>Andy J. Gordon, a Los Angeles-based marketing and strategy consultant, made his writing debut in “Brentwood” magazine in 2007. His interests include music, sports, consumer electronics, premium libations, fine dining, travel, fast cars, and enjoying life.</p>