Yesterday (January 11), representatives of Jeff Beck announced that the influential guitar icon had passed away at the age of 78.
The news came as a shock given Beck remained an active touring musician and formidable songwriter, having recently released his joint album with Johnny Depp, 18, which was followed by an extensive tour of the US.
The tour came to its conclusion only two months ago today, with Beck taking to the stage for the last time on November 12, 2022 to dazzle attendees at Reno's Grand Sierra Resort with a 20-song setlist that featured originals and classic covers.
Footage from that evening can be found online, with a particularly stirring performance of This is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr – a track from 18 – serving to show how Beck remained at the top of his game right until the end of his performing career.
In fan-filmed clips, Beck and his white Fender Stratocaster prop up Depp’s vocals and acoustic strumming with a collection of ultra-dynamic, thumb-picked lead lines, before putting on a veritable Beck masterclass in an extended solo section.
Few, if any, can make the pentatonic scale sound as expressive as Beck did, and his last time soloing on This Is a Song For Miss Hedy Lamarr showcased some of his most celebrated techniques.
With his thumb locked into its usual position and his fingers poised over the whammy bar, Beck rakes off and reels through a bounty of delicious licks, complete with some chordal flourishes and bends that absolutely sing.
Along with footage of This Is a Song For Miss Hedy Lamarr, one YouTuber spliced together eight minutes of film from across the evening, with the extended video offering greater glimpses of Beck's final outing.
Elsewhere in the setlist on the night, Beck performed a catalog of originals, such as Freeway Jam, Loose Cannon, Big Block, Star Cycle and You Never Know, interspersing his own tracks with covers of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Link Wray and The Velvet Underground.
Beck and Depp ended the night with a cover of Killing Joke’s The Death and Resurrection Show, and though footage of this track from Beck’s last gig hasn’t been uploaded to YouTube, clips from previous performances can be found.
If previous renditions are anything to go by, Beck ended the cover – and, by extension, his live career – with a furious flurry at the upper echelons of the fretboard, energetically making his way through wailing double-note bends and twangy pentatonic runs.
News of Beck’s passing was met with an outpouring of heartfelt tributes and memorials from peers and fans, with the likes of Jimmy Page and Joe Satriani all paying tribute to the iconic guitar star.