Monday, September 22, 2008

Beck @ The Hollywood Bowl 9/20/08 (Updated Again!)

Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat
Que Onda Guero
Nicotine and Gravy
Mixxed Bizness
Devil's Haircut
Gamma Ray
Soul of a Man
Hell Yes
Black Tambourine (remix)
Modern Guilt
Paper Tiger
Lonesome Tears
I Think I'm In Love
Round the Bend
Where It's At

Songs in red were accompanied by The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Strings. Songs in green were Beck rapping while his band played 808's. This list helped me remember the titles of some of the Sea Change material, but I think they got a few things wrong, so I'm posting my list anyway.

I didn't even realize until I got there that Beck would have a string section, which only reinforced my expectation that it would be a mellow set focused on the relatively low-key new material. So it took me by surprise when he kicked off with a fast, loud, guitar-heavy set beginning with "Loser." Could there be any better way to start a show than hearing the whole crowd yell in unison "In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey?" Most of the songs from the rock portion of the set were pretty close to the studio versions, but "Nicotine and Gravy" had a really nice arrangement, with the sort of mellow funk sound that sounds really good in an outdoor setting. The stuff with the strings was pretty fantastic. I was hoping they'd use the strings to bring "Earthquake Weather" to life, or to rock out "Novacaine." No dice, but some of the arrangements, especially on the Sea Change songs, were just gorgeous. There were some points where the strings seemed a bit too loud, and were overpowering the vocals, but that's preferable to not being able to hear them.

"E-Pro" is one of the few Beck songs I don't like much. I mean, it's not terrible, but it sounds a bit corny in its funk-metal sound. But in a live setting, it sounds fantastic, with the whole audience chanting the "Na, na, na na na na na" chorus. And "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat" was a nice touch.

Edit: someone uploaded video of the two songs I didn't recognize from Sea Change. Sea Change is the one Beck album I don't really like (and I do like Mutations and One Foot in the Grave quite a bit. Never heard Stereopathic Soul Manure, though.), but maybe I should give it another chance. "Lonesome Tears" was maybe my favorite song of the night, and "Paper Tiger" was the best example of how the strings worked for these songs. On "Lonesome Tears," you can hear what I mean about the strings almost overpowering the vocals (and his voice is already straining on that song, which requires him to go a bit out of his range).

Edit 2: I had no idea that the conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Strings, David Campbell, was Beck's father, but I'm reading two seperate blogs that say so. Soundboard recording of the show here, yo!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's awesome. How was the sound quality there, generally speaking? The last couple of times I've been to the Bowl (the first for Sergio Mendes and Herb Alpert, the second for something orchestral), the acoustics seemed kinda bad.

Also: TAG.

9/22/2008 6:18 PM  
Blogger Chris Oliver said...

I thought the sound was fine. The whole experience of being up there in the hills, in the open air, with the Hollywood sign visible beyond the stage is pretty amazing.

9/23/2008 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh. Maybe I just had crummy seats. But yeah, it's a pretty great venue. Plus, BYOD - Bring Your Own Drank!

9/23/2008 4:06 PM  

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