Monday, October 13, 2008

Live Review: Beck 10/10/08 NYC

I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at the United Palace Theater on Friday night. I had seen Beck two previous times and both shows were spectacular. This night was a different sort of show. The United Palace Theater is an beautiful and towering presence. The intricate architecture inside is amazing. It was originally a Loew's Wonder Theater built in 1930 and claims to be the third biggest venue in NYC behind MSG and Radio City. It is a great place to see a show. Reminds me of the Beacon Theater with the same sort of seating & perspective from the upper lodge. It has that old New York sort of feel. They just do not make places like this anymore. Compared to the last time I saw Beck his stage setup was very minimal. Several spot lights and a video screen replaced the dinner table and giant boom-box from the October 2006 performance at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Beck & his 4 person backing band strolled out around 9:30 and played pretty much non-stop until 11. Overall it was an uneven performance. At times he seemed disinterested and other times he lit up the room. Some highlights for me were 'Profanity Prayers' (especially the instrumental intro), 'Minus', 'Chemtrails', & 'The Golden Age'. Spotty sound, a lame ass crowd (biggest ovations were for 'Loser' & 'Where it's At') and Beck's lackluster performance made this show good, but not great in my opinion. I don't know if he is in some sort of "Dylan-ish" phase where he is annoyed at playing his hits and just wants to be a folkie and wear strange hats and strum his Danelectro guitar? I don't know if this is sad or not, but a so so Beck show is still better than 85% of the music that is out there now. Should I be happy with that? You forget how many great songs he truly has and it is easy to expect great things from a great artist. But should I care when it seems like he didn't care?

1 comment:

~P~ said...

Sounds like he would rather be playing his personal favorite songs, in an intimate setting, for those fans that would truly dig it.

However, you're right; Beck watered down is still a strong, heady drink.

Nice write-up.