Car horn sound effects not only set up “Freeway Jam”, but recur throughout—a novelty when guitars and synths didn’t commonly make those noises with ease, but mostly annoying today. “Earth (Still Our Only Home)” is funky, but Hammer’s not a vocalist, and the lyrics are unintelligible. Beck takes over the vocoder for “She’s A Woman”, and soon ends up parroting some of Peter Frampton’s clichés from his own live album from the year before. He even exhorts the crowd to “put those hands together” for “Full Moon Boogie”, sung well by Tony Smith with lots of electric violin from Steve Kindler.
Side two has no vocals, thankfully. Crazy space noises open “Darkness/Earth In Search Of A Sun”, moving into a more ambitious groove. “Scatterbrain” translates well to the stage, with the orchestral parts covered by Hammer and Kindler, while the rhythm section travels at the speed of light. “Blue Wind” is an excellent display of precision, and takes a surprising yet apt detour into “Train Kept A-Rollin’”, proving he still had rock in him. And with a “God bless, ya,” they’re gone.
Assuming they’re authentic from the performances, the crowd dug the show, as will anyone into jazz fusion. Therefore it’s recommended, but you’ve been warned.
Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live (1977)—3