LIVE: Beck’s LA Return Is Triumphant at The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles (9/21/2014)
September 21, 2014
The Fonda Theatre
Los Angeles, California
This weekend was something of a homecoming for Beck Hansen; the forty-four-year-old Angeleno played two back-to-back shows at downtown Los Angeles’s Orpheum Theatre, where his hometown fans were treated to a two-hour set spanning a twenty-year career as varied and unpredictable as the man himself.
“It’s good to be playing at home tonight,” he said, obviously glad to be back after an extensive European tour. “I was born in downtown, and when I was a kid it was a ghost town… I feel very at home with you all tonight. And extremely jet-lagged.” If he was suffering from exhaustion, he hid it well as he shimmied, moonwalked, and strutted with the type of renewed energy that had noticeably waned from performances in the last few years.
The night kicked off with Beck and his band “opening for themselves,” as it were, playing a handful of acoustic songs from Sea Change and Morning Phase—lush, orchestral tracks like “Paper Tiger” and “Wave,” which hadn’t been getting deserved love and attention at recent festival sets.
After a short intermission, the opening riffs of “Devils Haircut” demolished whatever sense of calm had fallen over the theater. Obvious favorites like “Loser” and “E-Pro” sounded perfectly polished by years of practice, even with the occasional scuzzed-out breakdown and lyrical improvisation. You’d think after having heard “soy un perdedor” thousands of times, people would be sick and tired of it, but you’d be wrong.
Beck fans know that the man is a myriad of creative personas packed into one surprisingly small package: the heartbroken crooner of Sea Change, the seductive lothario of Midnite Vultures, the LA wanderer of Guero—they all come together to play their part, and this weekend’s shows proved that Beck can still pull it all off, jet-lagged or not.
The Golden Age
Heart Is a Drum
The New Pollution
Think I’m in Love/ I Feel Love (Donna Summer cover)
Soul of a Man
Where It’s At/One Foot in the Grave