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Beck was Beckalicious

Note: I wrote part of this post the night I got back from the concert but was exhausted and had to go to bed. Then, it appears I hit “publish” instead of “save” so if you read some of this post in its unfinished form in your blog reader, well, my fault. Anyway…

Now that show was Beckalicious. Just look it up in the Becktionary (no, the rhyming Becktionary).

Keeping in mind I’m not much of a “let’s crowd in together and get sweaty” kind of concert goer, Kelly and I were pleased with our upper level seats. If you look at this seating chart, we were in the very back row (Q) of the balcony right below the box, stage center. No neck-turning necessary, and it’s a small enough venue that even from the upper level we had a great view of the stage. Not only that, the people in the front rows of the upper level were enthusiastic but displayed courtesy (another term for it may be “Minnesota Nice”) and stayed sitting in the seats we paid for instead of standing and hence making everyone behind them stand as well. Speaking of crowd enthusiasm, Kelly and I were sure “Loser” would be in the encore but it was Beck’s opening number. The crowd was definitely on his side right away and singing along from the get-go.

I’m too scared to sneak a camera into concerts so all I have to offer you are these blurry 2.0 megapixel camera phone photos, dear reader:

That skinny little stick dude wearing a hat and holding a guitar below the funky X lights? Yep, it's Beck.

You liiiiike Beeeeeck... You looooove Beeeeeck...

The stage backdrop was a bank of thousands of lights creating cool designs and abstract images, as well as the occasional display of Beck himself (when a cameraman was on stage).

City Pages and the Star Tribune appear to have the most comprehensive set lists from the show, though “The Spaghetti Incident” blog was my first hit in a Google search for “beck st. paul set list.” The Tribune’s review isn’t all that glowing and maybe the difference between the reviewer and my opinion is he’s reviewing artists over and over and knows good acoustics when he hears them, whereas me? Frankly, I was just excited to finally see Beck in concert. Perhaps that’s a willfully ignorant simplification on my part and yet, I had a fun time. In the back row. In bad acoustics. Having missed his reportedly amazing 2005 twin cities show. So take that context for what it’s worth.

If you look through the set list, you’ll find Beck went through quite a bit of material and by my count he touched on all of his major records except for Mutations. I recognized all but one song and he played a mix of songs one might expect to hear live (“Girl,” “Nicotine & Gravy,” “Nausea”) with songs I never thought were live material until I heard them (“Walls” and “Profanity Prayers”). I didn’t hear my favorite Beck song, “Rental Car,” nor classics like “The New Pollution” or “Jackass,” but it was cool to hear “Missing,” an underrated song that never quite became a single from Guero.

As I said, the crowd in the upper level was both enthusiastic and well-behaved (who am I, the audience’s mom?!). Some “older” (read: my parents’ age) crowd members got up and swayed their way through songs from Sea Change, going so far as to hold aloft tall-flamed zippos. Kelly and I had empty seats on either side of us, adding exclusivity to comfort, until Bored Girl finally showed up.

A few seats to our left, Happy Guy and Happy Girlfriend showed up at the beginning of the show with Unhappy Guy. Unhappy Guy was clearly upset that Bored Girl might stand him up. Happy Guy and Happy Girlfriend tried to include Unhappy Guy but Unhappy Guy eventually left the auditorium. It must have been to call Bored Girl because eventually the pair showed up, taking up the empty seats to our left. That means I sat next to Bored Girl for the last third of the show.

I couldn’t tell what Bored Girl was more bored with, Unhappy Guy or Beck. She didn’t exchange one word with her date. Not. One. Word. The whole show. She sat through six songs from Beck’s most-recent records with the same interest level a soapy sponge gives a kitchen counter: we’re both here, we have jobs to do, so let’s get this over with. But everything changed when Beck played “Where It’s At” as his last song before the encore. At this, Bored Girl let loose.

Bored Girl transformed into Insane Girl. Insane Girl jumped to her feet and danced her dance. Insane Girl screamed along to the chorus. Insane Girl swerved her insane butt in my face and smacked her leg and hips against me over and over as if I was a pile of Jenga blocks to be knocked over. Insane Girl could care less about anything but her insane butt dance. As for Unhappy Guy, he just stared forward at Beck, as if mentally pleading with him to stop the song early, to just stop her from making a bad situation worse. But Beck didn’t get Unhappy Guy’s vibes and all I got were the vibrations of being smacked repeatedly by Insane Girl.

For full disclosure, I should mention I gave Kelly my “Can you believe this?!” face and tried to give Insane Girl my “Pardon me, but are you serious?!” face. My “Minnesota Nice” overwhelmed me and I was left to simply endure Insane Girl’s dance. To her credit, I must say Insane Girl was much, much less insane than Homicidal Girl at the Moby Area One concert a few years back. But that’s another tale…

Long story short (too late), Insane Girl quickly morphed back into Bored Girl with the conclusion of “Where It’s At” and sat down, bored, for the encore. At the end of the show, Bored Girl got up and bolted for the exit, Unhappy Guy close behind her. Happy Guy and Happy Girlfriend shrugged and went after them.

Good times.

Kelly got a t-shirt and I did not. Someday Beck will cater to his biggest fans with some larger-sized apparel.

And that’s my first concert review.

-nm

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The Graveyard Book has arrived

Neil Gaiman writes some of my favorite stories, and his latest novel, The Graveyard Book, hits shelves and virtual shelves today. Advanced buzz on this one is good, so do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Ooh, and look at this fancy counter his publisher has made for me to imbed into my blog post (yes, it comes out today so the counter isn’t counting down anymore but still, it’s shiny):

Tonight is my first Beck concert. I’ll let you know how much rockaphernalia (look it up in the Becktionary!) there is to be had tomorrow.
-nm