It might be overstating the case to say the present Jim McCarty/Chris Dreja-led incarnation of The Yardbirds is only two fifths genuine Yardbirds. Still, three of the five current members weren't even born when the original band helped pioneer the evolving sounds of the 1960s.
Back in the day, way, way back in the day, The Yardbirds were legendary for being the launching pad for guitar gods Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. While less celebrated, the other members too went on to distinguished careers in various creative fields. Drummer McCarty, among other endeavors, helped found the classical rock quintet Renaissance. Rhythm guitarist/bassist Dreja had a successful stint as a photographer. Bassist Paul Samwell-Smith became a noted musical producer. Had he not been electrocuted in May 1976, original frontman Keith Relf would no doubt have continued on with his musical experiments, probably with the solo projects he was working on at the time of his death.
As the decades went by, various partial reunions took place. The high point certainly was the mid-'80s ensemble called Box of Frogs featuring McCarty, Dreja, and Samwell-Smith with guest appearances from Beck and Page. Then came 1992 when Dreja and McCarty were talked into forming a new Yardbirds. They've been on the road off and on ever since. With the exception of Birdland, the 2003 album partially made up of new material, the two gray-headed elder statesmen of rock have been joined by a number of changing younger musicians playing pretty much the same songs recorded when the fuzz-tone sound was new.
Now, The Yardbirds captured on the two-DVD set, Making Tracks, include guitarist Ben King, a member since 2005, lead singer Andy Mitchell, and bassist Dave Smale—the latter two having been with the band since 2009. The concert footage on Making Tracks was shot at multiple venues throughout 2011-2012 using 32-track audio recordings and six HD cameras. The resulting set on disc one demonstrates, if nothing else, that the real stars of The new Yardbirds aren't so much the players, but rather the songs.
As Clapton's stint with the group only spanned one live album, Five Live Yardbirds (1964), and all but three tracks on 1965's For Your Love, only a few songs associated with Slowhand were performed by the reconstituted group. These are "For Your Love," "I’m A Man," and, as a bonus track on the second disc, "Smokestack Lightning." Since Beck had the longest tenure with the group, there are more songs associated with him. These include "I’m Not Talking," one of the first three 1965 songs he worked on for For Your Love, "Heart Full of Soul," and "Train Kept A-Rollin’." In addition, we get four performances from the Yardbirds' best and most underrated album of the '60s era, Yardbirds (1966), also known as Roger the Engineer. The choice numbers are "The Nazz Are Blue," "Over Under Sideways Down," and "Shapes Of Things."