Beck Performs In St. Louis For the First Time In Fourteen Years: Review and Photos

Categories: Last Night

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Jason Stoff
Beck
The Pageant
7/16/2014

As Beck stepped on stage in front of a capacity crowd at the Pageant last night, he looked younger than he should. His hair was cropped short, a leather jacket stylishly complimenting his black jeans and Hawaiian-ish button-up. Here he was, his first show in St. Louis in fourteen years, and alongside him were guitarist Smokey Hormel and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen -- two musicians that have been with Beck during his best moments but who have been absent for most of the last decade. As the three ripped into opener "Devil's Haircut," it felt like the band was back together. The evening proved to be a career-spanning whirlwind with no shortage of nostalgic hits.

See also: Beck Rediscovers St. Louis Fans at the Pageant: Slideshow

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Jason Stoff
It was interesting to see Beck pull from his old catalog as a means to reclaim the days when he was America's favorite sandwich bread. The show had many moments that felt like you were in bed with an old lover who was fumbling under the sheets, trying to remember what it was that really got you going. When things hit right it was indeed orgasmic, but the few lulls of the evening left me making a face as if I were trying to remember how to do long division while not crushing an egg held between my buttocks.

This trip back to the good ol' days worked well, truth be told. Having Odelay bangers like "Novocain" and "Minus" in the setlist would have been enough for most fans, but perhaps the most exciting moment came during a guitar change when Beck started making references to things like attache cases and "808 buttons", implying that we were about to get Midnight Vultures' "Hollywood Freaks" or "Arabian Nights", a rarity from the same era. Now, that would've been a huge coup for Becks' first show in St. Louis since the end of Friends, but we instead got tour staple "Get Real Paid," a Black Nasty-meets-Kraftwerk jam that almost epitomizes Beck's lyrical prowess. This is a man who can combine bohemian thought with seemingly random bits of slang and just a dash of Hugo Ball's sound poetry to create a whole new ethereal plane of weirdness.

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Jason Stoff
It's awkward -- but my duty to acknowledge -- that the album that Mr. Hansen is touring behind didn't really fit with the rest of the performance. Sure, "Blue Moon" and "Blackbird Chain" are great songs and have the musical hooks akin to Beck's work on Sea Change, but other cuts from Morning View all but killed the vibe. It's a shame because the album is great, but they were hard to sit through knowing the extent of Beck's work. Plus all of those long, sustained vowels at pitch makes one on edge with the thought that things are about to slowly transition into "Goodbye Horses."

Before the encore, Beck cordoned off the front of the stage with a line of police tape. It was the sort of gesture that may have made a headline ten years ago, but in a world with viral marketing and social media it created more questions and skepticism than anything else. The world, in some ways, has moved past Beck and his melting pot approach to music and performance. However, last night at the Pageant he proved his greatness and originality. And I like to think that maybe, in some small way, it was an apology for working with Danger Mouse.

Notebook Dump:

Sean Lennon? Sean Lennon was there with the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger to provide the evening's middle-of-the-road entertainment. Near the end of the set I thought to myself, "A fair and loving god would not subject so many innocent folks to this much Sean Lennon," and a few moments later his pedal board lost power, cutting off his guitar. I'll be at church this Sunday.

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24 comments
em.palmier
em.palmier

The album is actually titled Morning PHASE - RFT just lost all credibility.  GOASTT was really great!!!  Terrible review.

Moynonet
Moynonet

Bryan, I like you as a photographer. Just quit putting words together. You, like me, always sounds like a dick. JV

jp4256
jp4256

When the reviewer of the Beck show doesn't know that the new album is called "Morning Phase" they shouldn't really be able to comment on it. But whatever...I had some problems with the show myself, but all and all it was a lot of fun and very good.

Lin Staum
Lin Staum

Beck put on a great show. I have adored his music for 20 yrs and it did not disappoint. His new album is more light but it was interspersed with all of his top hits during the concert.

Marian Kammerer
Marian Kammerer

"Morning View"??? Seriously? Beck's latest record is Morning Phase.

Ken Messmer
Ken Messmer

Beck is amazing! Said people in the nineties.

Jessica Wuller
Jessica Wuller

Such a great, great show! I hope he comes back around soon.

Christo Bachmann
Christo Bachmann

The whole show, from GOASST to Beck was fuckin' righteous!

Lisa Corley Davis
Lisa Corley Davis

It was *incredible*. Been waiting to see that for 20 years and was well worth the wait.

Drew Patterson
Drew Patterson

You're full of shit on the Sean Lennon comments. His band was solid.

David B Fowler
David B Fowler

No. Accept no substitute. The real Beck. Jeff Beck. Will be here in august.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Leave it to the fucknugget rft music staff to put a negative spin on what was arguably the best show put on in this town in years. You guys suck some serious ass in every way imaginable. Look out! Killjoy was here! Fuck off you hipster loads.

anonymous.hominid
anonymous.hominid

@jaco1175 I'm going to assume your comment ishyperbole. It was definitely one of the best shows of 2014 but you need to get out more if you think it's the best show in "years". So many great shows have come through StL (at least for my tastes) in the past few years.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@eric.farlow I get it, because they came before they are inferior. What a load of shit. Someday when you grow up you are going to look back and realize you weren't near as cutting edge as you think you are now. As far as this review shit is shit and here is another steaming pile courtesy of rft, the only thing that would have had it more asinine would be andrew ailes commenting that beck sucked because he wasn't type o negative.

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