Beck himself is quoted in the liner notes as saying, “Listening to my music should be like grabbing a bunch of albums from different categories Unless you saw it live you wouldn’t know it was the same band.” That effect is achieved in spades throughout Live in Tokyo. He’s definitely got the musicians to back it up. Rhonda Smith is perhaps best known for her years recording and touring with Prince as part of the NPG. Her funk and rock instincts are in full force here, powering tunes like Nicolas Meier’s “Yemin.” Meier is an accomplished guitar, fluid in seemingly any genre, who acquits himself nicely despite the daunting task of being the “other” guitarist in Jeff Beck’s band. Drummer Jonathan Joseph is also, by necessity to fulfill Beck’s vision, extremely versatile, providing seemingly endless stylistic and rhythmic variety.
Eagle Rock usually delivers a concert video presentation so it comes as no surprise to report that Live in Tokyo offers a sharp 1080i transfer. The no-frills staging allows viewers to focus on the music with a minimum of visual flourishes, but the straightforward videography is always easy on the eyes.
Audio options include DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0. Each sounds good, but the 5.1 mix is definitely preferable. This is a rock concert, after all. Eagle Rock’s lossless surround presentation is terrifically enveloping, always keeping Beck’s guitar work upfront but packing in plenty of LFE oomph for the rhythm section.
Bonus features include 15 minutes of “Setlist Commentary” and an additional five minutes of “Band on Band” discussions by the musicians. The Blu-ray is also supplemented by a booklet featuring new liner notes by music journalist Peter Makowski.