Beck and Clapton Trade Epic Licks as Co-Headlining Tour Launches

February 19th, 2010 by Andy Greene Leave a reply »

Photo: Mazur/WireImage

As the final notes of “Cocaine” rang through Madison Square Garden last night, Jeff Beck quietly walked onto the stage next to Eric Clapton, sarcastically saluted his fellow guitar legend and launched into a jaw-dropping cover of Elmore James’ “Shake Your Money Maker.” For the next 40 minutes the former Yardbirds guitarists traded licks on songs by everyone from Willie Dixon to Sly Stone to Henry Mancini as the sold-out crowd reached a state of air guitar nirvana never before witnessed by man. At the end of the night they bowed to each other, as if they had just completed a karate match.

Forty years ago these two men — who are currently sharing the cover of Rolling Stone — were widely regarded as the two greatest guitarists of their time. After brief back-to-back stints in the Yardbirds (Beck replaced Clapton) they went on to the Jeff Beck Group and Cream, laying the groundwork for Led Zeppelin and all blues rock that followed. Since the early 1970s, however, the two men took radically different paths as Clapton made highly commercial rock and pop while Beck churned out highly un-commercial jazz-fusion and other instrumental projects. Beck went far off the pop grid, but his reputation survived fully intact and when he announced a co-headlining show with Clapton in Japan last year it created a frenzy that lead to a brief international tour.

Check out all of Rolling Stone’s guitar coverage and join the debate: who’s the best of all time?

Beck took the stage first, opening with “Eternity’s Breath” by the 1970s jazz-fusion group the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It’s hard to keep the attention of massive arena with a 40-minute instrumental set of largely unknown songs, but Beck pulled it off — aided by his killer band and a large string section. Some members...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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