On Sunday night, Austin City Limits welcomed Beck back to their stage for his second appearance. His performance is in support of his newest release Morning Phase. He kicked off the set with “Devil’s Haircut,” a heavy track from his fifth album Odelay. The next two tracks “Black Tambourine” and the always funky “Think I’m in Love” kept the crowd going.
As he donned his acosutic guitar, the mood changed and Beck said, “now that we’ve worked you up into a pseudo-frenzy, we’re going to take it way down.” He proceeded with “Golden Age,” a track that captivated the crowd with its gorgeous sounds. Beck and his band continued their string of acoustic songs with a few from Morning Phase, Beck’s latest release. “Blackbird Chain,” “Don’t Let it Go” and “Country Down” brought the audience back to more of a melancholy feel. After playing a few more of his slower songs, Beck made a point that he was getting the quiet stuff “out of the way.” While he might have been apologizing for the slowness, the crowd did not seem to mind at all considering all eyes were glued to the front.
“Sissyneck’s” whistle intro ushered in the upbeat segment of the set which did not let up for the rest of the show. It was as if the crowd was rejuvenated from the long spell of somber songs. Considering it has been about 20 years since he released “Loser,” it’s safe to say that most of the crowd did not expect to hear Beck perform his first hit single. Proving its timelessness, everyone lost it as the band knocked out the anthemic “Loser.” He finished with “E-Pro,” his performance ending with overwhelming feedback and the entire band crawling off stage in an incredible, if not slightly bizarre, finale.
What we thought was an epic ending wasn’t the last of Beck. After what seemed like forever, they all came back to redo a few of the acoustic songs which turned out even better the second time around. The encore was capped by an explosive performance of one of Beck’s classics, “Where It’s At,” which included crowd participation and Beck’s rendition of the electric slide. A harmonica laden performance of “One Foot In The Grave” sent the crowd home happy. Stay tuned for the episode to air in the fall on PBS and you can also catch him this October at both weekends of the ACL Music Festival.
* Live photos by Scott Newton, courtesy of KLRU.