Watch Jeff Beck play a ferocious set of Yardbirds classics with the White Stripes in 2002

(from left) Meg White, Jeff Beck and Jack White perform onstage at London's Royal Festival Hall on September 13, 2002
(Image credit: Tape Junkie/YouTube)

On Wednesday (January 11), Jeff Beck – one of the greatest and most influential electric guitar players of all time – passed away at the age of 78.

Beck's death prompted an outpouring of tributes from across the guitar world, including one from Jack White, who cited him as a "guitar innovator extraordinaire."

As part of his salute to Beck, White also shared a clip of him jamming with the Strat-toting legend, White Stripes drummer Meg White and future Raconteurs bass guitar player Jack Lawrence at the Royal Festival Hall in London on September 13, 2002. 

Beck was the headlining act on this particular evening, and chose The White Stripes to act, as White put it (opens in new tab), as "The Yardbirds" for a rollicking set of Yardbirds tunes. You can see fan-filmed footage of all seven songs the supergroup-of-sorts played together below.

Though Beck's tenure with The Yardbirds was brief – less than two years in total – its impact on the development of rock guitar playing was incalculable. 

The snarl and bite of Beck's tone on the band's cover of Train Kept a Rollin’, in particular, was hugely formative in the development of the aggressive, distorted garage- and blues-rock guitar sounds that would dominate rock in the years to come, and – decades later – shape the driving sound of the White Stripes.

Indeed, Train Kept a Rollin’ was the first song the trio played together that September 2002 evening. Beck looks right at home on the stage, matching the young duo's intensity beat-for-beat – a testament to both his restless creative spirit and the timelessness of his sharp-edged and lyrical guitar sound.

A post shared by Jack White (@officialjackwhite) (opens in new tab)

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“Jeff Beck, guitar innovator extraordinaire has moved to the next realm," White wrote on Instagram (opens in new tab). "I wrote to him a couple of years ago to show him that I was standing where he once stood inside Sam Phillips studio in Memphis some 50 odd years before. He was amazingly kind and instructional to me over the years. 

"Many shows that I’ve played began moments after listening to his song Led Boots backstage. This bootleg clip that I’m posting is when I had one of the greatest thrills of my life – along with Meg White and Jack Lawrence of the Greenhornes, we were 'The Yardbirds' for one night backing up Jeff at the Royal Festival Hall in London. 

"In our rehearsals he plugged straight into an amp, no effects pedals," White continued. "He was changing the sound of the guitar and doing things people didn’t know were possible from his earliest days on stage. God bless you Jeff, you must already be chatting with Cliff Gallup somewhere.”

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.