comment - Beck in concert

a review of Beck in concert at the Horden Pavilion in Sydney - 22 March 2003

Straight up, I have to admit a couple of things - I am a huge Beck fan, and I had never been to a concert of an internationally recognised artist before. The first point some may feel will sway my comments below, but I hope not. The second is mentioned because I went along not knowing if the big-name/big-price scenario would be worth it ...

Where to start? Well those familiar with the musical stylings of Beck Hansen will know from the outset that he is a man who writes/performs music of many styles, but at the same time all uniquely in a style of his own. For those not familiar with his music, Beck could be said to be the alternative of the whole alternative music scene. Even if you don't think you've heard of him, I am sure you would recognise a few of his songs (Loser, Where it's at, Devil's Haircut, etc).

Well, when you go to a concert one of the first things you will wonder is will the live performance live up to the studio recordings? With Beck, you also have to ask will he be able to recreate much of the sound that you would expect could only be done in a studio?

In short, yes and yes. Starting off solo with a few suitable tracks, and having the four-piece band join him at exactly (and for me I mean exactly) the right moment. With such a range of songs and styles to choose from, he mixed up the selection nicely, although there was a lot of emphasis on showcasing his latest creation (Sea Change). From the rock beats of Mellow Gold and Odelay, through the easy sounding (meant as a compliment) Mutations, then the psuedo-techno Midnite Vultures, on to the smooth as cabernet Sea Change, there was certainly something in there for almost everyone.

How true to the orginal tracks were the older songs though? Well there was a good mixture there also, with some of the tracks bang on the mark, and others have evoled as his own overall style has. For those tracks that have evolved with him, I feel I would need to get as familiar with the newer versions, as I am with those on the albums, to be able to make a comparision and to decide which I preferred - by then they may well have evolved again ...

Certainly full credit must be given to Beck and his four-piece band - for all of them to be able to cover such a range, and reproduce so loyally the sounds that make Beck's music Beck, it is certainly an achievement.

I was a little disappointed in a couple of things though - Beck's performance was only two hours long, and with the selection he has to play with there is so much more he could have performed (but I guess even if it had been 5 hours I still wouldn't have wanted it to end). The other thing was that some tracks that are personal favourites (Beercan, Satan gave me a taco, Debra, Static, Yellow Sweat) were not to be heard. In fact aside from Loser, I don't recall any tracks being played from prior to the album Odelay. Don't get me wrong here because I loved everything I heard, and was singing along to much of it, but I guess I just wanted more, More, MORE !!!!

So in the end, was it worth the money? Well whilst I can't say I'm really into the whole concert thing, and especially at those prices, if there is one artist I had to see live on stage then I know Beck was the right choice - his performance was spot on.

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Posted: 24 March 2003

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