Back on the streets in support of his latest release, The Information, a funk, folk, hip-hop heavy effort that revisits the genius of Odelay, Beck arrived at Nashville's City Hall with his grown up circus and delivered a supercharged set of crowd pleasing hits while showcasing his new bag of tricks.
Strolling on stage in a black suit and flowing red bow-tie, Beck, the always fashionable showman, set the mood for the night as the infectious, heavy, bass/drum intro of The Information's title track pounded through the 1200 capacity, standing room only venue. No warm up needed tonight. It was Friday the 13th, the crowd was feeling lucky, and Beck was here to get down, get weird, and get the crowd movin'.
Never one to deliver an average show, Beck dug deep into his catalog early, tearing through favorites such as "Loser," "Paper Tiger," "Girl," and a tripped-out version of "Hell Yes" that was mashed together with teases of "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Fame."
Mid-way through the show, a new guitarist was introduced by Beck as "Randy. A guy the band met outside a pawnshop in Arizona. He says he can play music. We hope so." In truth, "Randy" was Beck's brother-in-law Giovanni Ribisi who sat in for the entirety of the show.
Beck continued to please, dropping more gems that included "One Foot in the Grave," "The Golden Age," Rowboat," a roaring version of "Rental Car," and even his take on The Korgis' "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes," which Beck recorded for the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack.
While the puppets had the night off ("they're too small for the stage" Beck joked), there were boom boxes, a dinner table, and crowd surfing bears (aka: Giovanni Ribisi) for visual accompaniment...as if the arsenal on the ears needed the company of another sense. The crowd was all energy and locked in from start to finish...spastic joy from all - no one was too cool to smile like a clown or dance like a dork. Beck is cooler than you and that's not going to change.
As the band retreated to the dinner table, Beck kicked into "Clap Hands" to end the set, but the excitement was far from over. The energy in the room peaked when the band (and bears) returned to the stage to close out the night with "1000 Beats Per Minute," "Where It's At," and "E-pro."
No matter how tricked-out and technically advanced Beck's studio recordings are, he seamlessly delivers live. Beck plays the shit out of his guitar, his band is dead on, and on this lucky night in Nashville, he seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
By Ryan Harrington