Visibly worn down and physically exhausted from everything we had experienced so far in New York, Dar and I treated ourselves to a short nap before heading out to the second night of incredible music.
The walk to Madison Square Garden seemed shorter this time our tired feet almost seemed to know the way. Perhaps tonight’s performance would be shorter than the marathon 6 hours of music we had rocked to the night before.
The event started out in familiar fashion, Tom Hanks addressing the crowd bringing out the still incredible Jerry Lee Lewis to open the show once again. The elderly rascal belted out Great Balls of Fire in classic form. Even going so far as to kick over his piano bench in a display of youthful enthusiasm.
Next up a red clad Aretha Franklin, took the stage with polished precision.
She rolled though a series of show tunes and a tribute to Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, before bringing out her first guest of the evening. Annie Lennox, bravely showing her support for Aids research wearing a black Tee emblazoned with the slogan “HIV Positive”.
Together they battled through Chain of Fools, each trying to out sing the other in classic diva style. New York, New York followed before she introduced Lennie Kravitz who joined her on Think. Closing out her short set she finally brought out the big guns and gave the crowd some Respect.
Originally Eric Clapton was to be the guitar god featured on the second night. But a bout of trouble with his gal bladder ended up in surgery, scratching Eric from the bill. Jeff Beck who was already in attendance was cajoled into becoming a headliner.
His mostly instrumental style suited his homage to Ray Charles Drown in My Own Tears, then launching into a Curtis Mayfield standard People Get Ready, with Sting.
Beck’s unreal control of the guitar shone through in Freeway Jam and Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers. So what do you do to top one guitar god??
Well you bring out another one, blues legend Buddy Guy teamed up with Jeff on Let Me Love You. Leaving Beck on his knees worshiping the blues master.
ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, took a quick break from his bands tour in England when he got the call, flying in special for the event. The pair teamed up on Rough Boy and a tribute to Jimmy Hendrix in Foxy Lady.
But the highlight of the first half of the night came when, the lights went down and Jeff started with the first strains of a Beatles classic. A Day in the Life. I stood transfixed, mouth agape as his ethereal guitar breathed vocals into the song. Word for word I followed along. I still get goose pimples just thinking of that amazing performance.
Once again, as the night before, the show was just getting started.