UPDATE – October 23rd
Beck played the first of his two sets for the Bridge School Benefit last night. Beck was backed for the entire show by the band he recorded Sea Change with and – as is customary for the annual concert – played acoustic throughout. This show was webcast. Watch the entire webcast – including Arcade Fire, Neil Young and others – here. Watch Beck’s full set (in a single video) here, or individual songs – plus, Beck guesting on Eddie Vedder’s “Sleepless Nights” – below.
Beck Setlist – Golden Age, Dead Melodies, Pocohontas (Neil Young cover…with surprise guest, Neil Young), Guess I’m Doing Fine, Already Dead, Lost Cause, Jack-Ass, Sunday Sun
UPDATE – October 24th
Beck’s day 2 set at the Bridge School Benefit was similar to the first, though he did add “Where It’s At” (watch).
Spin comments on day two: “Performing for the first time in 10 years with the musicians that helped him record Sea Change, Beck kept the beginning of his set focused on that LP’s melancholy tunes like “Golden Age,” “End of the Day” and “Lost Cause.” But things turned celebratory when he thanked Neil Young for helping him early in his career, then handed his son Cosimo a tambourine and launched into Young’s “Pocahontas.” The sold-out Shoreline crowd was elated when Young himself came out to assist on vocals, but the party truly began when Beck and his band busted out “Where It’s At,” sans the turntables, but played with enough energy to get most of the audience clapping along…”
UPDATE – October 21st Beck played a full, two-set show at Napa, California’s Uptown Theatre on Thursday, October 20th (photos and videos below from this show)…
The first set was acoustic, essentially a dry-run for the Bridge concerts this weekend (note the cover of Neil Young’s “Pocahontas”). Click on links to watch relatively high quality YouTube videos of full songs, highlights below:
The Golden Age
End of the Day
Guess I’m Doin’ Fine
Winter Is Blue
The second set was electric
Where It’s At (great energy and audience interaction)
Think I’m In Love
New Pollution (garagey guitar)
Gamma Ray (“smokestack lightning out my window“)
Devils Haircut (15 years later, still where it’s at…)
E-Pro (wicked guitar solo and garage sludge-blues coda)
Original post – October 20th:
“My friend, Beck… is gonna play a few songs.”
-Neil Young introducing Beck, October 28, 1995
Beck plays tonight at California’s Uptown Theatre Napa – essentially his first concert since touring Modern Guilt three years ago. This weekend he plays sets at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit on both Saturday and Sunday. Best of all, the former will be webcast on Facebook and YouTube. More info on the webcast (also featuring Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Devendra Banhart, Eddie Vedder, Mumford & Sons, Dave Matthews and others) is here.
Beck has played Young’s annual benefit twice before. In 1995 he displayed his folkee side to a mass audience like never before. After opening with “Pay No Mind”, Beck continued with relatively obscure acoustic originals (i.e. “Rowboat” and “Hollow Log”), better-known gems (“One Foot in the Grave,” “Asshole”) and the folk standard “John Hardy,” before closing with an inspired version of “It’s All In Your Mind” (officially released on the Bridge School Concerts compilation in 1997). The first of two Beck sets at 2000’s Bridge School Benefit seemed designed to show off his “other” side. Getting the party started with “Loser,” he ripped through “good time” jams from Odelay and (mostly) Midnight Vultures. Watch a segment of a south-of-the-border-flavored “Jack-Ass” from that set in the highlight video below. For his very different second night set Beck played mostly songs from Mutations – his eccentric 1998 “folk” album that delivered on the promise of that ’95 Bridge acoustic set.
There’s no telling which “Beck” will show up for his two sets at Bridge this year. Although they will almost certainly be acoustic – keeping with the tradition of the Bridge concerts – will it be Americana rootsy Beck? “Where It’s At” party-mode Beck? Out-there anti-folk Beck? In-there/introspective solo acoustic Beck? Modern Guilt (unplugged) Beck?
Whatever, it’s just exciting to have Beck back (and to be able to watch his return live on YouTube)!
Fans are concerned the rumor from 2008 that the Modern Guilt tour was his last (ever) has so far held true. Aside from a handful of final Modern Guilt Japan gigs in March 2009, he’s made just three live appearances, all benefits or tribute shows:
- November 13, 2010 – The Artist’s Museum Happening (MOCA Gala) – a celebrity-filled, benefit gala for Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art (tickets were $5000 and up), Beck played “Golden Age” and a few songs with others
- May 19, 2011 – 5th Annual Tipping Point Benefit – a benefit concert for an San Francisco’s anti-poverty charity Tipping Point, Beck played his first full set since the Modern Guilt dates backed by players from his various past backing bands and the Jazz Mafia. Read more at jazzmafia.com/jazz-mafia-horns-performing-live-with-beck.
- August 28, 2011 – Serge Gainsbourg Hollywood Bowl Tribute Concert – Beck, Sean Lennon, Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear), Victoria Legrand (Beach House), Lulu Gainsbourg, LA Philharmonic and more honored the acclaimed French singer-songwriter. This show, conceived by Beck, used his backing musicians (Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Joey Waronker, and James Gadson) as the house band, and included Histoire De Melody Nelson played in full with Beck singing lead on “Ah! Melody.”
Since essentially ending the Modern Guilt tour in November 2008, Beck live appearances have been few and far between. Which is why the show in Napa and the two sets at Bridge are so exciting for Beck fans. Are these shows – as much in four days as he’s played in all of the past thirty months – signs that he’s putting his many projects to the side to again focus on his own work? Is Beck back?
Here’s to hoping the days of Googling “Beck” will return Mr. Hansen to the top search results – not Glenn…