Why This Gig?
Beck is one of those singers who I’ve known about for a long and never really paid much attention to. So when I saw that he was playing at the Union Chapel I thought that it would be a good opportunity to see what I was missing out on.
Not having a support is becoming quite a trend. I think I’ve seen about two support acts in the last month or so. No sign of one here.
This was advertised as an acoustic set. That’s not quite how it worked out. Beck was playing acoustic guitar, but he was accompanied by people playing piano and bass. And there were also a few songs that used a drum machine (“Our drummer is from Japan – his name is Korg”).
I know two Beck songs – “Loser” and “Devil’s Haircut”. He didn’t play either of these. To be honest, I think it’s a bit weird to not play your two biggest hits. The first song I recognised was a cover of The Korgis’ “Everyone’s Gotta Learn Sometime”. Later on another song became an extended jam around “Billy Jean” and “Get It On”.
But although I didn’t know the songs, it was clear that the rest of the audience knew and loved them. Songs were often greeted with huge cheers of recognition after just a few bars. Even when he announced songs from Song Reader (last years album that was only released in book form – so no-one has really heard the song) they were greeted like old friends.
The ticket promised special guests. As the set finished there was no sign of them. But as Beck returned for his encore he introduced Bobby Gillespie who joined him for a couple of songs. Then there was one final song (something about two turnables and a microphone – I thought I recognised it) before it was all over. He played for about two hours.
I enjoyed the evening. I’ll be listening to some more Beck music. But I don’t really understand the fanatical devotion that the audience showed to him. He’s good, sure – but he’s not that good.
The setlist is on Setlist.fm.
Haven’t found any reviews yet. Which surprises me. I would have thought this would be exactly the kind of show that the broadsheets would have covered.