Beck @ United Palace Theater

October 16, 2008

Many of the reviews I’ve read of Beck’s series of performances last week at the United Palace Theater revolved around a few common themes: that the show was notably subdued, that it was short and even that Beck seemed bored. I would agree with the first two claims, but would hesitate to say that Beck was bored or apathetic on stage.

I admit, Beck’s set last Thursday night was more somber than I imagined. There was no breakdancing, no dancing marionettes and no ridiculous stage props. Yet it’s not hard to imagine that after 15 years of endless touring that the dude might want to scale things back a bit. In a way, the show allowed the music to speak for itself. For arguably the most creative artist of the last decade, that’s never a bad thing. Beck did rifle through hits, from “Loser,” “Where It’s At” and “Devil’s Haircut” to “Nausea,” “Nicotine and Gravy” and “Black Tamborine,” but none of the songs ever felt rushed. Each was performed to perfection, including trippy-ass “Chemtrails” and “Walls” my favorites off Modern Guilt. There was little dialogue, aside from a few understated thank you’s, but even the lack of chit-chat added to the mystique of Beck’s performance. By the time he closed with “E-Pro” and had the entire crowd chanting “NA NA NANANANANA,” I was convinced I had just seen my favorite show of the last few years.

To add to the experience, United Palace Theater is a beautiful venue. I spent the majority of MGMT’s set scanning the gilded walls and ceiling. Not that their set was boring, just that the theater was so impressive. I’d recommend seeing a show there whenever you have a chance.

I’m now trying to work up the balls to let my hair grow as long as Beck’s. It’s the coolest.

Here’s “Devil’s Haircut” from the night we went.

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