Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Beck @ Hammerstein Ballroom NYC June 30

Fans filled the gracious space of NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom June 30th for Beck's first Manhattan show since 2008, where they were treated to the artist cranking out new songs and old hits with the same musical intensity.  Just a year ago, Beck appeared content presenting an acoustic folky vibe and I thought I might never see some of my favorite songs ever in a concert setting. For decades he has composed whatever interested him at the time, without any preconceived notions not to mix and match genres. But there he was on stage, leading his band through a deep catalogue of alt music hits. Beck chose to begin with the sweet tune "Golden Age" from  Sea Change (2002). This, along with "Lost Cause" from the same collection, mixed in well with the songs off the new release, Morning Phase, as Beck has described these are companion albums in concept.

He explained that since it had been so long since a "proper concert" in Manhattan, they needed take extra time to "catch up." Beck disclosed how things would start off a bit slow before getting rowdy, and he was right.  After the shimmering acoustics of "Wave," "Waking Light" and "Blue Moon" the stage lit up with the churning intro for "Devil's Haircut" (the video for this song off 1996's Odelay shows Beck walking around NYC carrying a boombox).  Standing on the side in front of a speaker, I could feel the sound waves pulse in time. Beck has always had a knack for pulling off crazy movement while performing in an endearing and slightly geeky way -- he obviously enjoys pulling off these complicated songs with a fresh intensity. The dance party continued as more classic Beck tunes followed: "Black Tambourine,""New Pollution" and "Think I'm in Love" (where he broke into Donna Summer's "I'm in Love" just like Franz Ferdinand did at last fall's ACL Music Festival!)  He brilliantly broke out "Loser" mid set, saving "Where It's At" for an epic closer.  Sean Lennon even joined in on tambourine after serving as a solid warm up presence with his psych rock band, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. Check out the full set list below, along with some videos from the night.

Early birds line w/Empire State building in view
My collection - remember CDs?