Concert Review: Beck
Baby-faced Beck performed on The Outdoor LC’s stage Friday night, rounding up every bit of energy the 43 year-old possibly could. The man, a legend and 90s icon, drew from just about every influence, including: hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll, folk, pop and rap. The LC was a melting pot.
The set began with “Devil’s Haircut,” and Beck, with his band of seven, were backdropped against a series of black, red and white interchanging numbers. Initially, I was disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm from the band. Beck walked on stage, greeted by thunderous applause, and began his set immediately, lacking audience engagement. Without much hype or rambunctious energy from Beck or the band, Beck then segwayed into “Novocane,” and there was no looking back. Energy was pumping through Beck’s veins as he aggressively beat out hip-hop riffs on his harmonica. The single off his 1996 album, Odelay, reminded us all why we were here, and the rest of the night solidified this belief. Beck brought two decades of musical history back for one night and crammed it into an hour and a half set.
After playing three “slow” tracks consecutively, graced with classical piano melodies and harmonies of milk and honey, there was a restlessness that lied within the audience. I was feeling fidgety with my sisters, itching to get a really good dance in, waiting for that one track that would break the audience. Beck restored all faith in every attendee, as he said, “Let’s have a little fun, shall we…” the next riff gradually exposing “Loser,” his eighth song in the set. It was 1994 again, and I felt as if I was strutting down a blacktop with my grade school besties, sporting a chunky, cheap boom box on our shoulders, thick socks peaking out from their sneakers. While the crowd was a motionless blur, Beck and his band were dancing right next to us, creating the sounds that were once a soundtrack to our memories. As the track continued to get louder and louder with the audiences assistance, Beck cut out all vocals and instrumentation, challenging the audience to belt the entire chorus-line on our own.
The crowd was drenched in sweat from head-to-toe and Beck continued to reach new heights with his versatile genre placements in each song. From one track to the next, Beck would dive into heavy rock ‘n’ roll guitar jams, to jazz-pop fusion melodies, and his newest album, Morning Phase, resembling alternative folk-rock. There was never a dull moments as Beck and his mates clearly showcased their mastery of performance. Halfway through the set, Beck slips off his jet-black suit jacket, and says, “Columbus, you’re too much fun. I’m canceling our show tomorrow so we can come back here.” You bet that got quite the reaction out of the audience.
An impromptu cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” heavily laced with jazz and hip-hop, wrapped the crowd around Beck’s finger tighter than I could’ve fathomes. His sarcastic banter with the audience and his bandmates created a playful atmosphere for the show, nearly providing the audience with comedic entertainment as well as a musical performance. After comments about Justin Bieber and My Little Pony, the eight men walked off stage, preparing for the two song encore, featuring: “I Wanna Get With You,” and lastly, “Where It’s At.” After the eighteen song set, the two song encore seemed harshly short. “Where It’s At” extended to more than eight minutes, Beck introducing each of the bandmates, each member played a brief, light-hearted solo. Within the last minutes of the show, Beck shouted, “I wanna take you in my arms Columbus, will you let me?” Beck counted down from four, encouraging the crowd to jump and finish off the track strong– the crowd resembling a thousand Mexican jumping beans.
A show with as much energy as spending an entire day at a festival, Beck is a legend for this exact reason. A man who skims the surface of every musical genre is going to have devout fans from all over the place, and Columbus was a watering hole waiting for Beck to show up. Blasphemous amounts of energy, sweat and drinks later, the show of the summer has come and gone, overall pleased to have given Beck a memorable time in Columbus, Ohio.