September 29th, 2005 @ The Bank of America Pavilion
On a raw, rainy night, Beck and his crew gave the sold out crowd at the
Bank of America Pavilion a flawless performance for the ages. Beck’s
style crosses many genres, and this is reflected in his drawing notably
diverse crowds. Fans included both high school anti-pop hipsters and
young professionals who left straight from the office. His music stirs
many emotions, encouraging couples to embrace, prudish girls to writhe
and gyrate in their fleece pullovers, and punk kids to jump up and down
relentlessly. The bottom line is that the people are digging Beck.
Beck and the band opened with “Black Tambourine” from the new album
Guero. They’ve been on this tour since January, and it was clear they
came ready to play. The set list was a well-balanced mix of old and new
songs. Newer tracks, such as “E-Pro,” “Que',” “Onda Guero,” “Rental
Car,” and “Girl” showed Beck’s songwriting is still first rate. Although
the new album is not as diverse as previous ones, he kept old fans happy
by playing most of the Odelay album. Performing highlights from his vast
discography. “Devil’s Haircut” and “Loser” electrified the crowd in the
mosh pit. Dueling banjos during “Satan Gave Me a Taco,” pipe organ
during “Lonesome Tears,” and an occasional harmonica all displayed
Beck’s musical gifts. Consider his rapping during “Novocain,” his
country drawl in “Sissyneck,” his hypnotic voice during “New Pollution”
and the beautiful melodies of “Jack-ass,” and “Tropicalia” showcase his
amazing vocal range. Dan Rothchild led the electrified crowd with an
inspired funk bass line during “Where It's At,” as they repeated the
refrain, “Two tables and a microphone.” Brian LeBarton on keyboard and
Matt Sherod on drums did not miss a beat.
In the middle of the evening, Beck played his guitar while the rest of
his bandmates sat onstage and had dinner. They pulled out a table, set
it, served food to each other while playing percussion with their
utensils as Beck played several ballads like “Debra” from the Midnight
Vultures. Improvising during this song, he riffed on a thought about R.
Kelly’s affairs, giving the crowd a good laugh. His delicate acoustical
guitar picking during “Ramshackle,” and “Lost,” made the girls melt.
This band’s philosophy seems to be that one can not have enough
percussion. They swapped instruments freely on the cluttered stage
packed with guitars, two drum sets, bongos, mixing board, keyboard,
maracas, and tambourines. Images projected over the band resembled a
Berlin nightclub and kept the crowd energized. During the encore, the
band came on stage with stormtrooper hats, and fans were allowed to jump
on stage to dance and play percussion. The audience begged for more as
the band walked off stage to hypnotic beats.
Many recognize Beck as a one of the premiere songwriters and recording
artists of our day, but fewer are aware that his live shows are some of
the best in the business. He provides a complete experience: the music,
the performance, the visuals, the stage presence, it’s all there. Not a
man to miss when he’s in town.
- Pratik R. Patel