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"I was Changed By Rock and Roll"

Musings on shows and introspective resolution. Yeah right.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Beck at the Bowl


Photo from The Echo

Yeah, so I didn't get my thoughts down immediately after the show and now I'm trying to get them together, but let me get this out of the way: though this was far from the best Beck show I've ever seen (I can think of 3 off the top of my head that beat it), the experience was absolutely amazing; M. and I ended up with Pool Circle tickets through some circuitous circumstances. Watching the entire Bowl sing "Loser" was extraordinary, but my memories are cloudy thanks to, well, entirely too much wine, and maybe...medicine. Yeah.

First thing's first -- Beck, like me, grew up in LA; it's only fitting to think that he spent some of his little-kid days watching the orchestra and wondering what it'd be like to take the stage himself. What would he do once he was there?

What I do remember: his band, unimpressive and tentative at the Echo, has made some big-stage strides; I could see him playing with them for a while, especially his very cute guitarist, who balances Beck's now-seriousness with a dose of old-school wacky. The front-of-stage, everyone-strapped-with-an-808 segment was pure Beck: no one else could get as off-the-cuff as successfully.

I don't remember the Dylan cover. Where the f was I?

Beck's dad, David Campell, conducted a massive, underused string section for the latter portion of the show. I've always been underimpressed with the way Beck presents his slower material, and this was no exception; where he could have used the strings for high-impact stuff alongside the "Paper Tigers" and "Chemtrails," instead it was kind of a let down -- surprising, since if anyone could pull it off, it would be mr. hanson.

My biggest dissapointment -- on a night where I was blown away by the bowl's majesty -- was that, in his biggest-ever headlining hometown show, that he didn't roam around at all, no coming out onto the circular shelf, no being among his people; for a man who I once saw interview a guy taking a leak as part of his performance art, it seemed almost disingenuous. But maybe it was just nerves: after all, it's one thing to look at the Bowl from the pool circle after spending your formative years spending your youth in the seats in back, but it's got to be another thing altogether to look at it from the stage itself.

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