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September 29th, 2005 @ The Bank of America Pavilion

On a raw, rainy night, Beck and his crew gave the sold out crowd at the Bank of America Pavilion a flawless performance for the ages. Beck’s style crosses many genres, and this is reflected in his drawing notably diverse crowds. Fans included both high school anti-pop hipsters and young professionals who left straight from the office. His music stirs many emotions, encouraging couples to embrace, prudish girls to writhe and gyrate in their fleece pullovers, and punk kids to jump up and down relentlessly. The bottom line is that the people are digging Beck.

Beck and the band opened with “Black Tambourine” from the new album Guero. They’ve been on this tour since January, and it was clear they came ready to play. The set list was a well-balanced mix of old and new songs. Newer tracks, such as “E-Pro,” “Que',” “Onda Guero,” “Rental Car,” and “Girl” showed Beck’s songwriting is still first rate. Although the new album is not as diverse as previous ones, he kept old fans happy by playing most of the Odelay album. Performing highlights from his vast discography. “Devil’s Haircut” and “Loser” electrified the crowd in the mosh pit. Dueling banjos during “Satan Gave Me a Taco,” pipe organ during “Lonesome Tears,” and an occasional harmonica all displayed Beck’s musical gifts. Consider his rapping during “Novocain,” his country drawl in “Sissyneck,” his hypnotic voice during “New Pollution” and the beautiful melodies of “Jack-ass,” and “Tropicalia” showcase his amazing vocal range. Dan Rothchild led the electrified crowd with an inspired funk bass line during “Where It's At,” as they repeated the refrain, “Two tables and a microphone.” Brian LeBarton on keyboard and Matt Sherod on drums did not miss a beat.

In the middle of the evening, Beck played his guitar while the rest of his bandmates sat onstage and had dinner. They pulled out a table, set it, served food to each other while playing percussion with their utensils as Beck played several ballads like “Debra” from the Midnight Vultures. Improvising during this song, he riffed on a thought about R. Kelly’s affairs, giving the crowd a good laugh. His delicate acoustical guitar picking during “Ramshackle,” and “Lost,” made the girls melt.

This band’s philosophy seems to be that one can not have enough percussion. They swapped instruments freely on the cluttered stage packed with guitars, two drum sets, bongos, mixing board, keyboard, maracas, and tambourines. Images projected over the band resembled a Berlin nightclub and kept the crowd energized. During the encore, the band came on stage with stormtrooper hats, and fans were allowed to jump on stage to dance and play percussion. The audience begged for more as the band walked off stage to hypnotic beats.

Many recognize Beck as a one of the premiere songwriters and recording artists of our day, but fewer are aware that his live shows are some of the best in the business. He provides a complete experience: the music, the performance, the visuals, the stage presence, it’s all there. Not a man to miss when he’s in town.

- Pratik R. Patel


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