Review: Jack Foley
BECK has often been hailed as a musical genius - on the strength
of his performance at London's Hammersmith Apollo on Thursday,
June 2, 2005, it was easy to see why.
The gig marked the second of two dates in the capital and was
an energetic romp through Guero, his latest album, and
the back catalogue which served to underline the individuality
of the artist and the diversity of his music.
From the early moments of Devil's Haircut through to
the pre-encore finale that was E-Pro, the crowd at the
Apollo was held in awe of the performer, as he danced, sang, played
guitar, scratched, mixed and performed on his keyboards for a
little under two hours.
Joining him on-stage were a similarly talented bunch of musicians;
all eccentric in their own way, from the bass player, to the drummer,
right down to the Bez-like dancer who frequently had the crowd
baying for more as he strut his stuff across the stage.
There were many times when you simply didn't know where to look,
given that so much was taking place, yet far from appearing gimmicky
or detracting from the music, it simply enhanced the spirit of
the show and the sell-out crowd loved every minute.
Highlights included blistering versions of his biggest hits,
Devil's Haircut, Loser, Where It's At and New Pollution,
but almost every track reverberated with a brilliance reserved
for only the most talented artists.
Girl, for instance, is one
of the most feel-good tracks on Beck's CV (and a forthcoming single),
and effortlessly succeeded in radiating its sunshine vibe to the
While Jack-Ass (from Odelay) provided a nice
contrast, slowing things down a little to provide Beck with a
platform for his acoustic guitar, mingled with some more West
Coast melodies torn right from the Seventies.
Black Tambourine (from Guero) did, as its title
suggests, bring out the tambourine, as well as placing Beck's
own Bez firmly in the dancing spotlight.
And Get Real Paid (from Midnite Vultures) brought
the whole show to an end in spectacularly grandiose fashion, showcasing
Beck's ability to blend hip-hop beats with electronic blips, as
well as elements of pop and the usual quirky lyrics.
Perhaps most remarkable, however, was the acoustic set, during
which Beck took centre stage with just his acoustic guitar while
his band members sat around a table, eating salad and drinking
rose wine ('with a hint of walnut').
During this time, Beck delivered classics such as Guess I'm
Doing Fine and Lost Cause, from the melancholy Sea
Change album, as well as a brilliant cover version of The
Flaming Lips' Do You Realize?
He rounded it off, however, by venturing over to the table and
joining in as each band member transformed their cutlery, wine
glasses and plates into an impromptu percussion and provided an
amazing beat to the lyrics of Clap Hands.
It was one of those rare concert moments when you knew you had
witnessed something special and deservedly drew a riot of applause.
It provided the outstanding moment
of a concert designed to bring out the superlatives.