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Concert Reviews:
Beck's "Colors" run strong at the Fox Theatre
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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DETROIT -- The last time Beck came through these parts it was Labor Day weekend, opening for U2 in the mammoth confines of Ford Field.

But on Friday, July 6, the California rock raconteur made the much smaller Fox Theatre seem like just as big a deal.

Opening the latest leg of the world tour supporting his latest album, “Colors” and coming on a long 50 minutes after opening act Oh Wonder, Beck and his seven-member band played a dazzling hour-and-50-minutes -- literally so thanks to the visual spectacle provided by LED screens on stage, whose parade of colorful (of course) images swirled by in 3-D depth. It was the rare occasion when lasers, deployed during just a couple of the 24 songs, played second fiddle in the pecking order.

The music was equally captivating, as Beck (nee Hansen), in his dark suit and wide-brimmed hat, reveled in the acknowledged “schizophrenic” nature of a playlist that surveyed his 25-year recording career, from 1994’s still poignant and provocative “Loser” right up to his current “Colors.” The show was dominated by groove-heavy fare (Beck did declare a “Friday night dance party,” after all) such as “Devils Haircut,” “Up All Night,” “New Pollution,” “Wow,” and a rendition of “Think I’m In Love” that slipped in a bit of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” though Beck did offer a bit of effervescent pop with “Girl” and visited 80s dance-pop via “Colors’” anthemic title track.

He also dedicated the chunky rocker “Go It Alone” to Jack White, who co-wrote the 2005 track, recalling “many years of good Detroit memories with (White), sitting on the porch playing banjo.”

Beck’s band, which featured moonlighting luminaries such as guitarist Jason Faulkner and Jellyfish alumnus Roger Manning on keyboards, was tight and nimble throughout the show, fleshing out and adding more sonic dimensions to the songs. The loose part of the night was Beck’s four-song solo acoustic set mid-show, during which he honored a fan request for the rare “Lazy Flies” and goofed his way through “Country Down,” making up lyrics to replace those he seemed to purposefully forget before abandoning the song altogether.

Beck return to his own recognizance for the start of the encore, morphing “Debra,” with its own set of new lyrics, into Prince’s “Raspberry Beret,” leading the audience in a singalong of the final chorus. He and the band finished with an epic jam on “Where It’s At,” using the band member introductions to whip through snippets of Chic’s “Good Times,” the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You,” Gary Numan’s “Cars” and Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime” before Beck whipped out his harmonica for the bluesy “One Foot In The Grave.”

The troupe came back to “Where It’s At” to finish the show and left no doubt that wherever Beck’s at -- whether it’s stadium or theater -- is the right place to be.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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