Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)

Live in TokyoEagle Vision EV306989
Format: DVD

Musical Performance ****
Sound Quality ****
Picture Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ****


Jeff Beck probably has not sold as many records as Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, the other two players in the Yardbirds’ guitar triumvirate, but he places nearly as high on lists of great guitarists and is arguably the most technically proficient of the three. His command of the instrument rivals Jimi Hendrix’s, and when he played jazz/rock fusion in the ’70s his rock sensibility kept his music accessible. Blow by Blow (1975) and Wired (1976), both produced by George Martin, hold up better than many fusion records because, even at his most experimental, Beck did not descend into mindless riffing.

Beck has continued to make mostly instrumental recordings that defy genre and show a willingness to try new things -- or even to return to his blues and rock roots, as he did on 2010’s Emotion & Commotion. Beck’s appearance at Tokyo’s Dome City Hall in April 2014 focused on his instrumental side, covering his forays into fusion, electronica, and straight rock. The resulting DVD is beautifully shot, with directors Chikara Tanaka and Joss Crowley providing enough close-ups of Beck to keep guitar players watching intently to figure out his secrets.

“Loaded” brings Beck and his band to the stage with a big, heavy sound anchored by Rhonda Smith’s thumping bass and Jonathan Joseph’s muscular, fluid drumming. The tune is a good example of Beck’s ability to combine the power of heavy metal with his sharp melodic sense and strong blues foundation. His interpretation of Hendrix’s “Little Wing” is both aggressive and delicate, a tribute to his only true peer. Beck gives a nod to another guitar great, John McLaughlin, in “You Know, You Know,” a rhythmically challenging Mahavishnu Orchestra tune that lets him show his own chops while highlighting his band’s skills.

Live in Tokyo

Guitarist Nicolas Meier is the utility player in the band, at times using a guitar synthesizer to provide the sounds of keyboard washes for some selections, such as “Angel (Footsteps),” and playing solid rhythm guitar throughout. Smith and Joseph bring more funk to Beck than his other bands displayed, and that rhythmic base gives the music a looser, more flowing feel, especially on heavy songs like “Led Boots.” Beck and Meier trade solos on that selection, and Beck gives the other players a few chances to show off. Smith’s feature on “You Know, You Know” is a highlight of the DVD, and Joseph handles the complexities of Billy Cobham’s “Stratus” with ease.

The set list on Live in Tokyo displays the guitarist’s versatility, from the vigorous workouts on “Led Boots” and “Stratus” to the sensitive lyricism of “Danny Boy” and a return to his blues roots on “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” The Dolby Digital 5.1 is somewhat bland, but the Dolby Stereo is energetic and up front. The DTS option is best, however. Each of the instruments is presented clearly with plenty of space around them and it gives a better sense of the acoustics in the hall.

Live in Tokyo is also available on Blu-ray. Beck will be touring the US beginning in April 2015. Don’t miss the chance to see him with one of his best bands.

. . . Joseph Taylor