It would be asking too much of an artist to pack all of your personal favorites of theirs into one set, but Beck managed to do so at the Hollywood Bowl Friday night. Presented by the LA Phil, celebrating it’s 100th year, perhaps it was this occasion, which marked Beck’s return to the Bowl in a decade, that he felt he could provide his sold-out crowd the full-out rock show, stadium-sized, career-spanning set that was vitalizing and energizing on a balmy September evening. He is still in support of his latest record, last year’s Colors, and the album’s aesthetically eccentric mix of geometric and liquid shapes took over the Bowl as he performed “Dear Life” and “Dreams” and the Instagrammable “Wow,” but it also lended nicely into the well-worn yet still incredible “Loser” and “Where It’s At.”
Arriving at a time of discourse throughout the country, Beck’s set was a reminder that there is still reason to frolic. His stage presence and backing band made sure you were going to have a free-flowing good time, at points covering Prince’s “Raspberry Beret,” bringing out a choir to sing “Like A Ship (Without A Sail), and letting people request songs (which I don’t know how he would have heard any one request with the thousands of people that were there, but he certainly raised my brows when he started playing “Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs (Yellow Sweat) – something I would consider a deep cut).
Beck’s twenty-five years creating some of the most ingenious music has not shown any signs of slowing down, and his Bowl performance was a reminder of how vital and necessary his music is now more than ever.
ST. VICIOUS, aka St. Vincent aka Annie Clark, performed a DJ set to intro the show, mixing together a blend of Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine and the Beastie Boys and more whilst wearing patches over her eyes that were like oversized eyeballs. It also happened to be Annie’s birthday, and Beck had the audience sing her Happy Birthday at the close of his set.
Words & Photography: David Fisch