This would be my first time seeing Jeff Beck live. While I have not been a follower of his music, I wanted to take my son to see him and in all honesty, to say "I've seen Jeff Beck in concert". Being a long time Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page fan, I've been familiar with Jeff's work with Jimmy alongside the Yardbirds, and on rare stage appearances. I thought this would make a nice outing for my son and I to see a "Legend".
Introducing, Tyler Bryant
I found out that he was going to have an opener as well and it was going to be Tyler Bryant. I had never heard of him before, nor knew what type of music he played. So before going to the show, I decided to "google" Tyler Bryant and see who this opener was. I was imagining some middle aged guitarist..but what I found was a 20 year old guitar prodigy born in Honey Grove, Texas. He was featured with Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and Slash in the movie 'Rock Prophecies". At age 15, he began writing his own songs and formed his first band. In 2006 he was awarded the Robert Johnson Gibson New Generation Award for young inspiring players. Eric Clapton invited him in 2007 to play at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago. So, as you can see, this young man has brushed shoulders with greatness at a young age. But wait - it gets better ... He moved to Nashville when he was 17, and met drummer Caleb Crosby and bassist Calvin Webster. Guitarist Graham Whitford joined Tyler's band as well. Graham is the son of Aerosmith's Brad Whitford. He tours both solo and with the band as Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown.
Since 2008, Tyler has toured supporting such acts as Jeff Beck, Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa, BB King, Heart, Styx, Vince Gill, REO Speedwagon, just to name a few. Tyler has also recorded with once Led Zeppelin producer Kevin Shirley. His song "Who I Am" is featured in Guitar Hero 5. In March 2011, he released his EP "My Radio" On Tyler's website you can download, for free his latest album "From the Sandcastle", which also includes the songs from the EP. http://www.tylerbryantmusic.com/music/
So, with that background information, and after listening to his music, I was really excited to see him live last night. Also on his website, it says that after each set, you can purchase the live set on a USB stick and he is available to meet people after his set for pictures and autographs.
I was taking my 11year old son to the show, who was equally excited to see Jeff Beck, another legend, and after seeing Robert Plant in January, he was looking forward to the excitement of a live show. We arrived at the venue, Centre in the Square. A small theatre in Kitchener, which holds just over 2000 people, the Centre is a great place to see artists perform, and a great view no matter where you sit. The acoustics of the building are brilliant as well.
While sitting in the lobby waiting for the doors to open, the buzz around us was growing as people were talking about Jeff and the Yardbirds. I didn't hear any mention of Eric or Jimmy, but the older crowd was talking excitedly about seeing the show and they were equally impressed to see my son sitting there, taking it all in with a big smile on his face.
Once the doors opened, we made our way to the merchandise table. They were selling t shirts, hats, posters, tour books, CD's and DVDs of various Jeff Beck concerts. Including the 2010 CD "Live and Exclusive from the Grammy Museum," which seemed to be the biggest seller from what we could see people purchasing. My son wanted a t shirt, so I obliged and he wore his shirt proudly before, during and after the concert...even the next day to school.
We then proceeded upstairs to where our seats where, in a balcony box in front of the stage. The box had 4 seats, and we shared them with a young man and his father. We were pleasantly surprised how close to the stage we were, and was glad that waiting for hours before the tickets went on sale, paid off. I began talking to the man next to us, and found out that his father had received a press photo pass from Jeff's manager. I asked him what were the chances that someone could meet Jeff after the show. He told me, how his dad took pictures for a Jeff Beck website, and despite having connections through Jeff's manager, he has never met him. He said his friend was friends with the bass player and he has never met Jeff either, so it wasn't looking too good that we would have that chance. But we already knew that we were going to have a chance to meet Tyler, so that itself was exciting.
While sitting and looking down from our perch, the theatre was filling up quickly. We were scanning the audience and noticed there were many different generations of fans. We noticed that my son was the youngest, at 11yrs old..and all the way up to fans the same age as Jeff. It was also nice to see it filling up for Tyler's set as well. Most concerts I have been to, the openers usually play to pretty empty venues. At approximately 7:20 a DJ from the local radio station DaveFM, who was sponsoring the show came walking onto the stage. He welcomed us and then proceeded to give Jeff a great introduction. He stated how Jeff has been ranked #14 on the greatest guitarists ever list, which had people yelling out that he should be number one. He mentioned how Jeff had been inducted into the Hall of Fame, not once but twice. He then gave a brief introduction for Tyler. Saying a young man from Texas and who has toured with Jeff previously and that he was going to be playing solo, but did mention his band and EP releases, that were available out in the lobby.
Tyler Bryant Solo Live
With that, he introduced Tyler Bryant. Tyler came walking onto the stage, and at first glance he almost appeared childlike. He walked up to the microphone, said hello and began playing "Like it's the Last Time". I was amazed that only half way through the song, people were enjoying it, yelling out to him, and clapping. Even my son said he knew the song, from the radio. In between songs, Tyler would tell stories of his childhood, growing up in Texas, and picking up a guitar when he was 6 yrs old. He then took a seat, and began playing 'Shackles', which my son said he really liked due to the "sliding" sound. At one point, while telling a story about how he used to work at a guitar repair shop tuning guitars, someone from the audience yelled out asking him what year his guitar was. He happily replied "56", and said how he was having a great time here tonight and thanked everyone. He said he was thankful to Jeff for bringing him out on the road, and told us that after the set, we could all come by and say hi, and that he was "hoping to make some great friends from a great city." He performed "Kickin" and then said goodnight and that we were all in for a great time with Jeff and that he hoped to be back again with "The Shakedown". It was approximately 8pm and the crowd gave him a great applause before he walked off the stage. At this time, my son said he really wanted to meet Tyler and I told him he would after Jeff's set.
Enter Jeff Beck
The stage crew, hurriedly began getting Jeff's stage ready, moving some equipment and setting up keyboards. The people were still pouring in, and the excitement in the air was growing. While we sat there, looking around it soon became apparent that this was going to be a full house. Just shortly before 8:20, the lights went down and the same DJ came out on stage. He introduced Jeff and the show was off to a kicking start.
His band came out first, Jason Rebello on keyboards, Rhonda Smith on bass and Narada Michael Whalden on drums. Then wearing a white tshirt, black vest, black dress pants and sunglasses, Jeff strolled onto the stage. He bowed to the audience and waved and then his tech brought him his familiar white guitar.
Unfortunately, seeing this was the first time I have seen Jeff, I was not familiar with his music, so I can not name the songs, but I can say this...from the first note till the very end, I was left impressed and very pleased that I had decided to get tickets to see him. The crowd was eating it up instantly, and the occasional fan would yell out something praising Jeff. Jeff's interaction with his band was very touching to see. Many times he would encourage the fans to cheer on the drums or the bass. He would even clap himself at the end of the songs and many times you could see them all exchanging smiles.
It was a few songs in before Jeff walked to the mic and said "thank you". A man of few words while he's live. At one point, he walked over to his pedal and after kicking it a few times, his tech came out, fiddled with it and Jeff pretended to hit him on the head. The tech finally got the pedal working and Jeff clapped. He was very playful and happy during the show.
When he started playing "People Get Ready", the crowd burst into applause. This was one song I did recognize. Throughout the set, my son was clapping and kept saying it was "cool". He really enjoyed watching Narada on the drums, and kept saying that now he wanted to play drums even more.
Song after song, Jeff did not disappoint and he proved over and over why he is one of the best in the world. Jeff stepped aside a couple times to let his bassist Rhonda take center stage. She was brilliant. He would stand off to the side, out of the spotlight and just smile. The crowd enjoyed it. We could see his opener Tyler Bryant sitting off to the side of the stage, clapping and having a great time watching Jeff. I had seen in some previous dates performances that Tyler joins Jeff on stage during "Let Me Take You Higher". Jeff once again approached the mic and said that he was really grateful and thanked everyone for coming out.
They did start into "Higher". By this time, most of the people in the first few rows on the floor below us in front of the stage all left their seats, and went up front and were resting in front of the stage clapping and cheering on Jeff. Eventually Jeff walked over to the mic and welcomed Tyler on stage. The two were dueling guitar solos and both of them had big smiles on their faces. The crowd loved it.
At the end of the song, they took to the front of the stage, bowed and waved and walked off. The crowd kept cheering and clapping and then a few seconds later, they came back on the stage. Jeff did a short little solo, and then they broke into Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'. It was an excellent version and everyone around us got up and started dancing. At the very end, they all locked arms and bowed and waved and then once again walked off stage.
The house lights came on, and we all started piling out of the seating area.
Jeff Beck Set List/Kitchener Ontario, October 19, 2011
(as posted by Setlist fm on October 21, 2011)
Plan B Bass Solo People Get Ready @Cover[The Impressions] Rollin & Tumblin Over the Rainbow @Cover[Judy Garland] Little Wing @Cover[The Jimi Hendrix Experience] Cause We've Ended as Lovers @Cover[Syreeta] A Day in the Life @Cover[The Beatles]
Higher @Cover[Sly & The Family Stone] Bad Romance @Cover[Lady Gaga]
Meet and Greet with Tyler
When we got down to the lobby again, my son asked if we could go meet Tyler. We saw him sitting over by the merchandise table. There were a lot of people still standing around, but not many around him, so I started heading in that direction. While waiting our turn, my son said he was too shy to ask Tyler to sign his concert ticket, and to ask him for a picture. I waited till a couple gentlemen were gone and then asked Tyler if he could sign Devin's ticket. He was very nice, smiled and came over closer to us. He reached for the ticket and said to Devin "Hey, little buddy, do you play guitar?". At this point, Devin was smiling and said in a really quiet voice "No, I want to play drums". Tyler laughed and so did a couple people around us. He finished signing the ticket and then put his arm around Devin's shoulder and said "Come on Bud, let's get a nice pic for your mom". I took the picture, and he thanked both of us and wished us a good night. An older couple behind us, saw the picture and commented on good it was. Devin was very happy and we walked back through the crowd to start to head outdoors. As we were walking by, I could hear people commenting on Devin, saying how cute he was, and that he got his ticket signed. He just loved the attention.
When we got home, I went through the pictures and videos, and was amazed again at what an enjoyable evening it was, and how special it was to share it with my son. I am really looking forward to the possibility of seeing Tyler Bryant again live, with his band if he ever passes through this way in the future.
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