Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beck played (Le) Poisson Rouge



Before heading off to headline the Newport Folk Festival and return for dates at Prospect Park and Jones Beach, Beck took to the intimate (Le) Poisson Rouge for an acoustic set of career highlights and rarities.  Bursting in with the incendiary "Golden Age" from the brilliant Sea Change, the show definitely kept to the mellow side of Beck's illustrious discography, but there were plenty of surprises along the way.  After ushering in the evening with some familiar songs, he announced "I don't normally like to play songs you don't know, but this is the only way to hear them".  Last year, Beck released an album called "Song Reader" which was only available in sheet music format, making it only possible to hear if one could learn to play the songs themselves.  The songs were apparently influenced by Americana and Beatles melodies and gave a jolt to the softer sounds of the evening. "This is our first acoustic show in seven years" Hansen announced at one point in the evening, but the group showed no signs of rust. The night powered along with classics favorites like "Lost Cause" and "Already Dead" with a cover of the Everly Brothers' "Sleepless Nights". The intimacy also allowed for a lot of banter from Beck as he told the crowd of his early days trying to make it in New York when he was playing street corners on St. Marks and Avenue A was a ghost town. The evening continued on a high with a solo harmonica rendition of "One Foot in the Grave" the bouncing "Gamma Ray" and "Modern Guilt" from his distant, but most recent record.  The highlight of the night however came with Odelay's "Sissyneck".  Suddenly, the band cut out leaving a simple drum beat that Beck claimed "struck a chord in everyone's DNA".  "What could it be?" he asked before the band kicked into the King of Pop's "Billie Jean".  Moonwalk and hat flips included, the crowd went wild and the night erupted as Beck claimed "there are squares lighting up on floor".  A slight inclusion of T. Rex's "Get it On" sealed the deal before he synced back into "Sissyneck" to close out the main set.  The evening concluded with "Loser", the landmark song that put Beck on the map and probably received the most sing-a-long feedback (next to "Billie Jean") of the evening and cemented the evening's stellar performance.  In the '90s, Beck was the guy who hit the bong and set the party in motion, but tonight he showcased his mature growth into a beautiful songwriter.  The beautiful and sedated Sea Change saw the most recognition of the evening leaving many of the hits for another time.  Everything was immediate and on point with absolute attention to detail. It can hard to watch aging rock stars perform their mega-hits twenty years after the fact as they to relive the glory of the past, but Beck is no such case. He declared long ago that he was "a loser baby" but no one wants to kill him yet.

Setlist:

Golden Age
Jack-Ass
Lazy Files
All in Your Mind
Dead Melodies
Sorry
Heaven's Ladder
Just Noise
Heart Isn't Hard
Lost Cause
I Am the Cosmos
Country Time
Hollow Log
One Foot in the Grave
Modern Guilt
Gamma Ray
Already Dead
Sleepless Nights
Sunday Sun
Sissyneck / Bille Jean / Get it On
--
Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods
Dollar Bills
Loser

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