Published on August 22nd, 2017 | by Stacey McLaughlin2
Concert Review: Beck (Saskatoon)
With two turntables and a microphone, not to mention an excellent backing band and some classic tracks, Beck Hanson put on a stellar live show.
On the evening of August 20th 2017, at TCU Place, Beck took the stage for his first performance ever in Saskatchewan. He strode beamishly on to the stage in a black blazer and pants with a black polka dotted shirt and his iconic black wide brimmed hat. He and the band wasted no time in getting started when they launched right into a variant but not unfamiliar rendition of ‘Devil’s Haircut’ from 1996’s Odelay. This resulted in a majority of the room erupting into a jovial dance party. The mood was electrifying and energetic, and with the tempo and spirit of the first array of songs, concert goers were defied to stay in their seats and not move along to the funky, intoxicating beats.
When he played a couple of songs from 2002’s Sea Change, there was a noticeable change of aura and demeanor in the room. Many people thoughtfully sat down for a break from their dancing, choosing instead to concentrate on the more solemn and reflective lyrics of ‘Lost Cause’ and ‘Paper Tiger.’ Moving on to other songs from other albums in this acoustic section, despite having a more somber tone, still maintained the energy and an intensity of the opening dance infused section. By the time Beck had finished 2014’s Morning Phase tracks, ‘Heart is a Drum’ and ‘Blue Moon,’ it was already time to switch back into a dance party groove it seemed, as Beck and band transitioned into the 1994 mega hit ‘Loser,’ from Mellow Gold and everyone stood to their feet once more.
As mentioned earlier, during a conversational break Beck stated that this was his first time in Saskatchewan, despite requests to his PR agent for decades to come up and see us. It was then that he shared that Canadians from Winnipeg and Vancouver had raised him. He seemed genuinely pleased to have finally been given a chance to tour extensively in Canada. This show in particular was hot on the heels of a performance he did for the Interstellar Rodeo in Winnipeg, and he was still every bit as fresh and energized as if it were the first day of his tour. He is an exceptional performer.
After an entirely satisfying main set piece of his concert, Beck and the band re-emerged for the encore; although this time he donned a white blazer and white hat, almost as if to delineate the two separate sections of the show. It was during this portion of the show that he took great care to introduce each member of the band and let them have a chance to demonstrate their special skills and strengths. Each member of the band was indeed extremely talented, a veritable powerhouse of expertise and creativity was on the stage that night. The guitarist Jason Falkner and keyboardist Roger Manning are both former members of the 90’s band Jellyfish, a power pop band who were influential in their way – and if you are a fan of Beck’s music, their discography is definitely worth a listen. As Beck went around and introduced each member and let them have a chance to show off their skills, it was very interesting to watch him watch them, as you could see how much he enjoyed seeing them play as well. For the encore, the audience was treated to Beck’s exquisite falsetto on his single ‘Debra’ as well as 1994’s ‘One Foot in the Grave’ and the classic 1996 hit from Odelay, ‘Where it’s At’ so that everyone could end the night singing along, feeling good, and clapping their hands.
(Photos also by Stacey McLaughlin)