Beck Performs Bowie Classic With 167-Piece Ensemble for Lincoln Project
Beck recorded an eight-minute version of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision" with an 167-piece ensemble Tuesday night that will launch the Lincoln motor company's online "Hello, Again" series.
Beck performed the track from Bowie's 1977 album "Low" in the round on a soundstage on the 20th Century Fox lot.
Wearing a fedora and bejeweled black jacket, the artist performed with an acoustic guitar on a circular center stage surrounded by the 300-member audience. Musicians formed the outer ring and they came from all corners: a string orchestra of first-call studio musicians, the Dap-Kings, members of the USC marching band, a CalArts gamelan ensemble, a Peruvian charango group, Fred Martin's choir from Colorado and L.A.'s Millennium Choir plus an unnamed nine-guitarist group and a Theremin player.
Beck's father David Campbell conducted the ensemble.
The performance will be posted at Lincoln.com starting Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST. Watch rehearsal footage:
"Hello, Again" is a yearlong, multi-platform program that supports reinterpretations of noteworthy artistic material.
To set the mood, the outside of the soundstage was remodeled as Al's Record Shop, a hip, old-school store with LPs in the window by Television, Can, Fela Kuti, Alton Ellis and others plus 45s from Nirvana, Unrest, the Germs, Big Boys and other punk acts.
Matt VanDyke, director of Global Lincoln Brand, said in a statement that the program is intended to be a metaphor of Lincoln's differences in product and client experience. The company had four models of the car on display for the audience plus an exquisitely restored 1940 Zephyr.
Director Chris Milk created the show, which found Beck working with the ensemble on a few other songs -- Chris Bell's dreamy "I am the Cosmos," plus his own "Paper Tiger," "Where It's At" and "Girl," to which the Dap-Kings were instrumental in providing a Motown flavor.
Famous for his immersive music and fine art projects, Milk, in collaboration with Beck, fully re-imagined the concert concept by creating a 360-degree, interactive experience where the music and the musicians surrounded the audience.
Beck referred to the experience as "an impossible endeavor" that had required a week and a half of preparations. Lincoln says the performance will be converted into an online, high-fidelity event that elevates the viewers' visual and audio experience.
Future "Hello, Again" programs will include re-imaginings in design, music, film, architecture and other areas of the arts.