Review: Beck, Bournemouth International Centre
Words and pictures by David Chinery (Chinners) – with thanks to Rockregeneration.co.uk
Tonight the Bournemouth International Centre has the privilege of hosting Los Angeles born Beck’s only UK headline show of 2018. After supporting U2 last year at massive stadium shows on the Joshua Tree tour in America he released his 13th studio album “Colors”. Beck returns for this special “one off” Bank Holiday Monday show with two hand-picked and diverse support bands, that have got people travelling far and wide for what is expected to be an exceptional night of music. This weekend Beck and his 6-piece band have been busy performing a televised set at the Biggest Weekend in Belfast and at the “All Point’s East Festival” in Victoria Park, London. They arrive here on the south coast sufficiently warmed up for the night ahead.
With the temperature topping 28 degrees outside, the inside of the Solent Hall is a welcome respite from the scorching sun. At 7pm sharp South London band “Shame” stroll onto the stage with a youthful bravado and a whirlwind of nervous energy. These guys don’t look comfortable; and as they gesture to the road crew that things aren’t working quite as well as they should, they don’t need to worry as the crowd begins to be drawn in by their post/punk sound. Just a couple of weeks after their ground-breaking appearance on the Jools Holland show people are beginning to really take notice of these guys. The five-piece guitar ensemble feature all the best bits of your favourite bands put together. You cannot take your eyes of the explosive frontman Charlie Steen who dances like Ian Curtis and stalks every inch of the stage.
The band perform songs from their debut album “Songs of Praise” which include the powerful opener “Concrete” and melodic two guitar gem “One Rizla”, which is apparently the first song the band wrote together. Their 7 song set ends with a now shirtless Charlie diving into the crowd during the intense “Gold Hole” and surfing across the heads of the delighted audience. The band leave the stage with wry smiles on their faces, somehow knowing they have got under the skin of many music fans in the audience who are bound to seek them out again when they return to the South Coast in November for their own headline UK tour.
It is quite hard to comprehend that Sparks were formed back in 1972 before much of tonight’s audience were even born. American born brothers Ron and Russel Mael have been creating music together for just over 46 years and during that time have released 23 studio albums, including the latest release of last years “Hippopotamus”.
They arrive on stage to a huge welcome from the ecstatic Bournemouth audience and the band launch into one of their newer numbers “What the Hell Is It This Time?”. With Russell’s unmistakable and unique vocal sounds, coupled with Ron’s keyboards the seven-piece band sound in fine form.
As I look around the great hall there are many faces filled with delight as the band deliver numbers like the vertical “Missionary Position” and the awesome “When Do I Get to Sing My Way” with the audience singing along word for word. The band look great all decked out in their salmon pink attire and all produce a really well-polished set full of highlights.
One of these is when Ron gets up from his stationary seated position; he removes his tie throwing it into the crowd and dances energetically for 30 seconds, before gracefully returning back to his previous static seated position. The best crowd reaction is saved for the band’s best-known tune “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” which still sounds epic, with the band recreating the tune brilliantly on the live stage. You cant help but be drawn in by this band who have shown that their music is timeless and ably delivered in all areas.
Over the years Beck has shown himself to be somewhat of a musical chameleon with the multi-instrumentalist always keeping fans guessing over what diverse route he is going to take next. At this stage of his career the latest album “Colors” has brought him back to the forefront once again.
The band arrive among the big multi-screen stage production to the sounds of the ever popular “Devil’s Haircut”. The sound is big and bold with an immediate positive crowd reaction the moment Beck steps up to the microphone to sing his first lyrics. Beck’s band produce an infectious energy that really injects into the crowd and as each number is played they create a joyous momentum with a great sense of fun. This only slows for a short period when the band leave the stage to give Beck a few moments to deliver an acoustic tribute to the present film director Edgar Wright (Shaun of The Dead/Baby Driver & Beck’s Video for “Colors”). A delightful version of ‘Debra’ gets a lyrical makeover and Prince’s legacy is remembered with a great crowd sing-a-long of “Raspberry Beret”.
The band soon return for some collective acoustic goodness with “Blue Moon”. Mellow Gold’s big hit “Loser” brings back the full band momentum with some brilliantly put together accompanying graphics delivered on the huge screens, with a cascade of colour filling the hall.
The encore of “Colors” along with an extended version of “Where it’s At” certainly did not disappoint. Beck introduced the band and they each played a small select piece of their favourite music which included short cuts from the likes of Gary Numan, The Rolling Stones and more.
I can honestly say I have never seen such a diverse gig, it had everything to keep even the most experienced concert junkie happy. Beck is an artist that is clever at reinvention and someone that never stands still.
I feel very privileged to be in tonight’s audience at a concert with such a diverse and interesting line-up that will be very hard to beat.
Up All Night
Que Onda G¸ero
l’m So Free
Think I’m in Love / I Feel Love (Donna Summer cover)
Go It Alone
Raspberry Beret (Prince Cover)
Where It’s At / One Foot In The Grave (w/ Harmonica) / Where It’s At (Reprise)
What the Hell is it This Time?
At Home, At Work, At Play
Tryouts for the Human Race
Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
My Way (Claude FranÁois cover)
When Do I Get to Sing ‘My Way’
The Number One Song in Heaven
This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us
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