Ten years after their last performance together, former Jeff Beck Group bandmates Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck reunited at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles for a five-song reunion set that included “I Ain’t Superstitious,” “Morning Dew,” “People Get Ready,” “Rock My Plimsoul” and “Blues Deluxe.” They did “I Ain’t Superstitious” and “People Get Ready” at their 2009 surprise reunion at the El Rey Theater, but the others they hadn’t touched in 35 years.
Stewart played a 17-song set of solo hits before retuning for an encore that began with the story of how he first met the guitarist. “In 1966, me and Ronnie Wood were at a nightclub in London,” he said, “and this fellow walked up to us and said, ‘Would you like to join our band?’ He’d just left the Yardbirds and I’d been fired from the band I was in and Ronnie was fired from the band he was in. Put your hands together for one of the greatest, Jeff Beck!”
Their full set began with “I Ain’t Superstitious,” a Willie Dixon song (first recorded by Howling’ Wolf) that they covered on the first Jeff Beck Group album in 1968. That album paved the way for Led Zeppelin in many ways, but the band broke up shortly before they were supposed to perform at Woodstock. Beck and Stewart went in two very directions in the 1970s and beyond, although they teamed up to record a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” in 1985. Their attempts to tour together around this time fell apart after just a few shows.
They’ve kept their distance from each other in recent years, with the brief 2009 reunion at the El Rey Theater being a rare exception. There was talk of a collaborative album, but it never got off the ground. Last year, however, Stewart told Rolling Stone he was willing to give a reunion another chance. “My voice and his guitar is a match made in heaven,” he said. “It would be a lovely thing to do. It’d be a complete lefthand turn. We did try it once, but we couldn’t see eye to eye — I mean, a serious clash of egos, but you know, never say never. I know it’s a cliché, but really, I’m up for it if he’s up for it. The thing is, we both want to produce. That’s the thing.”
They have no public plans beyond the Hollywood Bowl show, but let’s all hope it will lead to something more in the future. A co-headlining tour would be an amazing gift to the fans who have been waiting 50 years to see them together.