2023 Jeff Beck Tribute Concert Led By Clapton, Stewart, Wood

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Gary Clark Jr., Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Nathan East during “People Get Ready” during A Tribute to Jeff Beck at London’s Royal Albert Hall, May 22, 2023

Jeff Beck was honored on May 22, 2023 by many of his musical peers and acolytes at the first of two tribute concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The pair of shows were announced on March 10 by his wife, Sandra Beck, and Eric Clapton, to honor the memory and artistry of the trailblazing rock guitarist who died on Jan. 10 at age 78 after a sudden illness. The first of two shows, on a Monday night, featured significant wattage in its all-star lineup with Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Billy Gibbons, and Johnny Depp—who toured with Beck in 2022 during the legend’s final tour—among the many artists joining Clapton. Tickets for the shows quickly sold-out.

The first thing the audience saw was Beck’s guitar on a pedestal on stage, under a spotlight. While other touches were far more subtle—Depp, for instance, wore a Beck bracelet on his left arm—others were there for all to see: Clapton and Stewart hugged when they performed “People Get Ready” towards the emotional evening’s end.

The all-star lineup at A Tribute to Jeff Beck, Royal Albert Hall, May 22, 2023

The career-spanning concert featured a broad assortment of songs associated with the guitar legend. Early on were a pair of Yardbirds hits, “Shapes of Things” (with Clapton singing lead) and “Heart Full of Soul.” Clapton then welcomed Derek Trucks, and soon thereafter, Susan Tedeschi to the stage.

Watch Clapton with Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks

Watch Ronnie Wood, with Clapton and Derek Trucks perform “Beck’s Bolero,” which dates back to 1966

Other career-spanning repertoire included “Freeway Jam,” so closely associated with Beck‘s 1977 live album with the Jan Hammer Group. Beck was a frequent touring partner of ZZ Top. On this night, the band’s Billy Gibbons performed “Rough Boy,” which they had played together many times.

Irish singer Imelda May joined the lineup, which now included Johnny Depp, to sing “Remember (Walking in the Sand),” a song popularized by the Shangri-Las in 1964. She and Beck had performed it many times.

John McLaughlin, 81 years old, who led the jazz fusion band, Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a song that Beck often played: “You Know You Know” from the band’s 1971 debut.

When Beck passed, his peers shared their grief, many describing him as their “hero” and “inspiration.” “You were the greatest, my man,” wrote Stewart, when Beck passed. During Rod’s set at the May 22 tribute concert, he said, “I never thought I’d be here playing a concert in tribute to my dear old pal, Jeff Beck.” He kicked off his mini-set with “Infatuation,” his 1984 hit that featured Beck on guitar. Here, he was joined by Clapton and Wood, with Slowhand taking Beck’s solo.

After introducing Gary Clark Jr., Stewart joked, “I’ve never seen so many guitars in my life!” He then introduced “the greatest civil rights song ever written,” as the band began the unmistakable introduction to “People Get Ready,” the 1965 song by the Impressions that Beck and Stewart recorded in 1985. During Clark Jr.’s solo, Clapton and Stewart hugged, earning more crowd applause.

Clapton then sang “Going Down,” recorded by the Jeff Beck Group in 1972, as the evening’s finale.

Related: Our 2016 review of Jeff Beck live at the Hollywood Bowl

Other performers included Doyle Bramhall, Robert Randolph, Olivia Safe, Joss Stone, and from the Jeff Beck Band, Rhonda Smith, Anika Nilles and Robert Stevenson. Surplus income from the concerts will be donated to the Folly Wildlife Rescue based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Thanks to Matt Lee and Albrecht Peltzer for the videos.

“One of my band of brothers has left this world, and I’m going to dearly miss him,” said Wood when Beck passed.

Related: Links to 100s of current classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. Joan Bryant
    #1 Joan Bryant 23 May, 2023, 03:45

    I Personally knew Jeff Beck. We met in 1977. Jeff was a friend who helped guide me. He knew I was in love with music, so he tryed me out. I was 18. I used to sit with him working on songs he was trying to write. He was a perfectionist. He worked on my look, had photos taken of me, and put me in things to give me the experience. I used to assist him at home, reading him his fan mail. He was trying to get his Band The Jeff Beck Group back together. He was an inspiration. And love to try new things, experiment. He even wanted to send me to school to study music. I shared many moments with Jeff. I walked around the Hollywood Bowl with him one time, sitting on the Benches looking up at the Stage, as he dreamed of one day getting to play there. I am so glad this dream came true, as 40 years later, I would be back to see him play there many times. I was at one of the last concerts he did at the Orpheum Theatre here in LA. I will never forget this. He loved his fans.

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  2. Brian
    #2 Brian 23 May, 2023, 08:25

    There will never be another Jeff beck

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    • L.Bosi
      L.Bosi 28 May, 2023, 08:35

      Jeff Beck. The “guitarist guitar.” I was lucky enough to be at the Jeff Beck Tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall, on the 23 of May. What a night. Thanks Eric, to organising such a unique concert! A night to remember. Jeff will be missed by everyone.

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  3. James Raiser
    #3 James Raiser 24 May, 2023, 03:03

    I saw jeff beck in 1989 at msg he was opening for Stevie ray. He smoked Stevie. I saw some big name guitarists he was BEST guitarist I’ve ever seen ever!!!!!

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  4. tedman
    #4 tedman 24 May, 2023, 05:32

    I know Anita Neville’s played drums at the JB tribute concerts, but who was the other drummer please?

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  5. Linda
    #5 Linda 24 May, 2023, 21:52

    What a beautiful tribute to the worlds greatest guitarist! Jeff Beck was my very first concert at the spectum when I was 14 I was second row on the floor and I remember how his music ripped right through me. I was a fan since. I will definitely miss him playing and with all of the other greats. But I will still be listening to his recorded songs. R.I.P. Jeff you are greatly missed

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  6. Suzy-Q
    #6 Suzy-Q 17 March, 2024, 21:56

    JUST saw this…what an incredible tribute to the beautiful, wonderful, talented, handsome Jeff Beck. Still makes me sad to know he is gone. He was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and had a good sense of humor as well. Love you always, Jeff.

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