Beck paid a warm tribute to Taylor Hawkins at an intimate London show last night, while delivering a masterclass, digging out deep cuts from his three-decade-long career.
In the U.K. to watch the Taylor Hawkins tribute show at Wembley, Beck appeared relaxed having decided to play a last minute acoustic show. Playing on rented guitars (“I hadn’t intended to play a show”) at the packed out Lafayette in Kings Cross, a new 600-capacity venue, Beck described his first encounter with Hawkins in the mid-nineties as he was recording his Odelay album.
“It was very monotone in the nineties. You couldn’t show any enthusiasm for anything, even your best friends. And then in came Taylor with his big hair and huge grin…”
Playing with a pick donated to him by Rush’s Alex Lifeson at the tribute show (“It has 2112 written on it”), Beck also apologised for his hair, which he wears slightly longer these days for reasons he didn’t go into…
“I look like a cross between Dumb and Dumber post-scooter…and Phil Spector in court!”
The show itself was a joy, as Beck constantly picked out surprises from his extensive and sparkling back catalogue. We learned the story behind Mellow Gold’s “Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs”, where the dialogue at the start of the song was recorded by Beck as two neighbours violently squabbled.
Beck is an engaging and funny story-teller, whether describing the above events, or how, when his house number was 2,112, he just pinned a copy of Rush’s LP of the same name to the outside of his house, this having the downside of also attracting the occasional Rush fan.
We also heard songs from early Bong Load LPs such as Stereopathic Soul Manure and One Foot In The Grave, and “pretty” songs (Beck’s description) from Sea Change and Morning Phase, the latter of which won the 2012 Grammy award for best album.
“Scott Pilgrim” producer Edgar Wright was there to hear Beck play his first ever live acoustic version of the song he wrote for the soundtrack, “Ramona”, Even film directors get their phones out to record songs sometimes, it seems, which shows how much Wright must have enjoyed that moment (on a night, it must be said, when most people kept them in their pockets, all seemingly wanting to drink in the event rather than record it).
Even Beck’s latest 2020 remix LP, the excellent Hyperspace, was represented, with his cover of Big Star member Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmos”.
And to top it all, there was an acoustic “Debra”, a highlight from the Midnite Vultures LP, and a bucket-list version for a very special evening.
The Golden Age
Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime
Pay No Mind (Snoozer)
End of the Day, Cyanide Breath Mint, Nitemare Hippy Girl, Hollow Log, Ramona, Guess I’m Doing Fine, Heart Is a Drum, Bottle of Blues, Girl Dreams, Lost Cause
I am the Cosmos
Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs
Thinking About You
One Foot in the Grave
True Love Will Find You in the End