“He was a musician that I always loved. He was the best. Jeff Beck just passed away… I couldn’t let the night go by without doing something by Jeff,” Joel told the audience. “This is a recording he did with Rod Stewart, called ‘People Get Ready.'”
Joel and his band then launched into a rendition of the Curtis Mayfield-penned classic, which Beck and Stewart recorded for the guitarist’s 1985 LP Flash, and one of Beck’s greatest songs; Joel’s saxophonist Mark Rivera handled lead vocals for the performance.
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Later in the gig, following Joel’s usual concert closer “You May Be Right,” the Piano Man and his band continued playing around onstage, an impromptu jam sessions that eventually turned into “Going Down,” a Don Nix-penned track that the Jeff Beck Group covered on their 1972 self-titled third album. “We should have rehearsed this today,” Joel quipped of the performance.
Beck died Tuesday, Jan. 10, following a short bout with bacterial meningitis. Upon news of his death, Joel tweeted, “I just heard the sad news that the great virtuoso guitarist, Jeff Beck, has died. He was one of my heroes. I was fortunate to meet him recently and I’m very grateful now that I was able to tell him how much I admired his musical skill. This is the end of an era.”