Beck at Bayou Music Center, 10/9/2014
Photos by Nicholas Zalud
Beck Bayou Music Center October 9, 2014
Following a lengthy, convoluted introduction of his band mates, during which every member had a solo of some kind, Beck had a question for his fans.
"Have we alienated everyone yet?"
It was an earnest question, at least in theory. (With Beck, one never knows.) During the preceding ten minutes, the onstage ensemble had performed snippets of Van Halen's "Runnin' with the Devil" and The Rolling Stones' "Miss You" as Beck drawled on about everything and nothing simultaneously.
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Many Houston crowds would have become furious and begun screaming at the top of their lungs for the artists onstage to shut up and play the hits. But those in attendance at Bayou Music Center Thursday night couldn't have been less annoyed.
"We're just having fun," Beck continued dryly.
And the crowd at Bayou Music Center Thursday night was right there with them, laughing raucously and cheering on the group's separate and combined shenanigans all evening.
Earlier, the night almost took a disappointing turn when Beck waved to the crowd before abruptly walking offstage only 12 songs into his performance.
A collective "That's it?!" spread through the crowd as concertgoers incredulously looked around the venue, as if Beck might have been right behind them with a smirk on his face and a harmonica in hand. Given the California native's irreverent disposition, it wouldn't really have been that much of a surprise.
Instead, the front man returned to the stage just a few minutes later, emerging from the shadows to a throng of fans that was all too willing to play along when he asked, "What kind of laws do you want to defy?" before launching into his second act with "Sexx Laws."
Donning a black Quaker hat and a matching vest for much of the evening, Beck reached deep into his catalog Thursday. The set list was heavy on radio singles and cherished classics with only a few cuts off his latest release, Morning Phase, thrown into the mix. But it didn't matter what was new, old or somewhere in between; the crowd ate it all up.
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Following "Loser," the breakthrough hit that put Beck on the map 20 years ago, the night ended with "E-Pro." As the crowd chanted along, Beck ducked offstage one last time, resurfacing with yellow crime scene tape that he draped across the stage before giving his fans a final wave and disappearing into the shadows.
I'm not sure what, exactly, that meant, but if anyone were to ask, I am willing to testify.
Personal Bias: She can talk to squirrels.
The Crowd: Ladies, please...If you plan to guzzle down enough beers that you lose count and you plan to dance, please do not wear heels. Our toes thank you in advance for your compliance.
Random Notebook Dump: While Beck sang "Sexx Laws," my friend started nudging me toward the girl dancing in front of me. I gave him a glare and motioned toward my girlfriend, who was standing beside me. When he just smiled, I realized it was actually a sly reference to the lyrics. Fuckin' Bert.
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