Beck gave his Detroit fans more than they expected over the weekend, and a very different show than what he’s been doing during his current tour — and rest assured no one was complaining.
After opener The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger dropped out of the Fox Theatre concert (no explanation has been given, though theater personnel told patrons that there were border crossing issues after the previous night’s show in Toronto), Beck and his band decided to “open for ourselves,” reconfiguring their regular show into two parts.
The first, which weighed in at 10 songs and 40 minutes, focused on quieter and more melodic material drawn primarily from this year’s “Morning Phase” and 2002’s “Sea Change,” albeit with more muscular, full-band arrangements. Beck also used the opportunity to “dig deep” with “Dead Melodies,” a song he’d been commissioned to write for Johnny Cash but was “too intimidated” to actually submit.
Following an intermission, Beck and company — including studio mainstays Smokey Hormel (guitar), Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (keyboards) and Joey Waronker (drums) — rocked out for another 80 minutes with a 16-song de facto greatest hits set that started with “Devil’s Haircut” and rolled through an extended final encore of “Where It’s At,” which included a bit of the title track from Beck’s 1994 album, “One Foot in the Grave.”
Beck dug into his catalog here as well, noting that “we never get to play” “Get Real Paid,” which was nevertheless delivered in the same tight fashion as the rest of the night’s songs.
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is expected to be back with Beck when the tour hits the Hammerstein Ballroom on June 30. Beck’s North American tour continues through Aug. 23, with stop’s at New York’s Central Park Summerstage, the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and the Forecastle Festival in Louisville. The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger slated to open one more date in Providence, R.I., on July 26.