Zombie Politics

I drank your milkshake.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beck @ Theater @ MSG

Last night Beck rocked ‘The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.’ I didn’t really know what this even meant before showing up to the event; turns out there’s a smaller theatre adjacent to the main terrordome (where a Rangers game was being held same night, which caused security guards to call out “Rangers to the right, Beck to the left…”) This being Madison Square Garden, it was still Really Fucking Huge (bigger than Nokia probably). Our seats, as it turned out, were downright HORRIBLE. And cost almost $200.

[Zombie Politics’ professional photographer didn’t bring their telephoto lens, so there’ll be no awful pictures today. Apologies to my one reader.]

The show itself was a mixed bag. The jaded hipster audience, down on the floor, was barely conscious throughout the whole show. When Baltimore booty bass rappers Spankrock opened with a wonderfully energetic set people just kind of swayed. There was NO REACTION from the floor. NONE. This was a band that Conspiracy Carl usually does STRETCHES for in preparation for all the dancing. As the Rapture song goes: “People don’t dance no more, they just stand there like this, they cross their arms and stare you down and drink and moan and diss.” TRUE DAT. Spankrock sang a hilariously filthy song called “Shake It Till My Dick Turns Racist.” No reaction whatsoever.

Who were these people?

When Beck took the stage things didn’t get much livelier. Backed by a talented band (and then that band backed by miniature puppet replicas of the band), Beck whizzed through the hits, focusing mostly on last year’s “Guero” and this month’s “The Information” but pausing momentarily for the odd “Sea Change” or “Odelay” track. Beck is a consummate performer, one of wit and unbridled talent. This is the third time I’ve seen him, the second time in two years, and he never ceases to impress. That said, this was my most disappointing experience with him to date, for the following reasons:

1.) He didn’t dance. What the fuck? He’s such a good dancer. And I distinctly remember last year’s show being heavy with the dance. Just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating I called Jordan right after and asked if he had. “Yeah, I remember him dancing,” was all Jordan would give me. Still, he’s got the moves. It was sad we didn’t see any (that said MC Spankrock got down like a motherfucker).

2.) The puppets. Yes, this is clever and funny and weird in an ‘Only Beck could get away with it’ kind of way, but it also kind of sucked. The main screen behind the band was broadcasting the puppets movements so those us in the ASS section of the theater (it actually says that on my ticket – section ASS, Row FU), who desperately needed a blown-up version of what was going on on stage, got puppets instead. Also, it was kind of a one note joke. But pretty meta.

3.) The crowd uniformly sucked. Drunk, stupid people everywhere. As we were leaving I saw these two guys get into a fight – one guy was a talker (he was bald, bespeckled and walked like a circus clown) and the other guy was a fighter (big, fat, belligerently intoxicated). The fighter grabbed the talker by the neck and while he was turning purple, another, completely unrelated drunk guy picked up the talker and tried to throw him over the banister. It was insanely stupid. UGH.

So, that’s it. This review is probably tempered by my soul-draining depression about the location and cost of our seats. He’s playing a charity acoustic thing on Sunday. Maybe I can go to that. Or not. One by one I’ll knock you out…


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