In theory, a balcony seat is much to be prized at the Rialto Theatre, and is priced accordingly. On Wednesday, April 23, Beck showed seat-holders the limitations of that benefit, as dozens of balcony denizens responded to the star's magnetism by flooding the already packed floor.
The plus side of balcony seats, it turns out, is that when you stand up and dance, you're more visible. Beck and his irrepressibly entertaining bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (also of NIN) called out the upstairs dancers for a round of applause. The response from the floor was among about a hundred deafening cheers of the evening.
Beck's own signature quirky dance moves had me longing for a gif series of them to watch at home. Fragments of what could be killer '90s hip-hop stylings are sort of a visual equivalent of guitar fills. They emerged in the latter part of the show, following the obligatory, but not at all perfunctorily performed, songs from his new album, Morning Phase.
The selections were decidedly pre-coffee, although they reflected all the complexity and innovation we expect of Beck's music. He made a point of mentioning that the Rialto show was only the second live performance for many of them.
Fireworks started with the video and light show shortly after Beck donned his hat, a sort of mangled fedora alleged in The Village Voice
to have been stolen from the set of the TV mini-series Witness
. That's when he began digging into his back catalog with his well-seasoned band, who not only recorded Morning Phase
with him, but also toured his world-dominating 1996 blockbuster, Odelay
The encore included a crowd singalong of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Don't hate.
Tucson's own Salvador Duran opened solo. He was wildly applauded throughout his set and the crowd demanded an encore, likely an extremely rare event among crowds waiting for Beck as a headliner.
nationally recognized rock photographer par excellence C. Elliott was on the scene.