Eric Clapton led the Jeff Beck Royal Albert Hall tribute shows in London last night and Monday (May 22nd and 23rd). The concerts featured performances by the Jeff Beck Band, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Gary Clark, Jr., Billy Gibbons, Imelda May, John McLaughlin, Doyle Bramhall, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Joss Stone, Robert Randolph, Olivia Safe, and Johnny Depp, among others.
Jeff Beck died on January 10th after contracting bacterial meningitis at age 78.
Among the highlights on the first night were Rod Stewart and Ron Wood reprising their late-'60s stint in the Jeff Beck Group with the standards “I Ain't Superstitious” and “Rock My Plimsoul.” Ron Wood led the charge through “Beck's Bolero” and Clapton took the lead on the Beck-era Yardbirds classic “Shapes Of Things.” Rod and the band tackled his and Jeff Beck's Top 10 hit remake of Curtis Mayfield's “People Get Ready” — as well as the '80s hit “Infatuation,” which had also featured Beck on guitar.
Kirk Hammett joined Billy Gibbons and Johnny Depp to perform John Lennon's “Isolation,” which Depp and Beck had recently recorded.
During a recent chat with The Real Music Observer, Eric Clapton revealed that after handing in his notice to the Yardbirds in 1965, he went to check out his probable replacement Jeff Beck, who was gigging with his then-band the Tridents: “What I saw when I saw him that night. . . it was the first time I ever heard anyone use pedals, effects, and a rack — a kind of mini-rack. And I thought that, 'If I change my mind (about leaving the band), I'm not going to be able to go back (laughs), 'cause this guy has got what it takes.'”