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author MN date 10/08/15 venue Glassalen i Tivoli, Copenhagen, DEN

By some unexpected turn of events, I managed to secure myself entrance to Beck's exclusive show in Tivoli, Glassalen, a show in which all 900 tickets managed to sell out within 4 minutes of the sales date. After having performed a critically acclaimed show at the Danish festival Smukfest, Beck pulled a surprise card by announcing a surprise show a mere 48 hours before the actual concert, a show which was set in the most intimate and unique surroundings to be found in the Danish capital. Who and what is Beck? To the unwary listener, it is a 90's band known for their 94' hit "Loser", to the more enlightened, Beck is deservedly one of the most respected musicians of the 20th and 21st century. He is a man who masters an astounding number of instruments and dabbles with an endless amount of genres in the most clever and intriguing way possible. Last time I saw Beck was at Roskilde Festival, in which he performed the massive orange stage. And admittedly, the thought to revisit the charmer Beck Hansen in the romantic Tivoli gardens starts to enthrall me as the lights start to dim. No photographer was present, so one will have to make do with my shady phone-images:


Glassalen, which was rebuilt to its current standing in 1945, is known for its cabaret shows and its amphitheatrical acoustics. Built almost entirely of wood and glass, the venue exudes tradition and a fairy-tale like atmosphere, not surprising considering it is settled in the most dreamy of amusement parks. Above the stage in the centre shines a massive vintage chandelier, adding even more theatricality to the venue. Tonight is a seated show and as the crowd shifts in to their respective seats, I start to feel a bit concerned at the idea of watching a rockstar from a sedentary position. As the chandelier dims the lights, an infectious energy is felt among the crowd whilst the band members enter the stage. Beck himself eventually emerges with a broad smile and a mischievous attitude. The first couple of songs are all performed in an acoustic manner, probably meant to showcase some of the material more apt for venues such as this.


The sound falters a bit in the beginning but is eventually cleared up upon the onset of "Devil's Haircut", a song that clearly showcases Beck's ability to intricately blend 90's alt-rock with British dub- traditions. Beck seems to be the only one wanting to really blend with the crowd, but my prejudice seems to slowly be proven wrong as the show progresses. Beck remains his charming self, even dance popping along to "Think I'm In Love", a skill attributed to his ventures in breakdancing as a young teen. Eventually, like a massive eruption, "Loser" is queued and the crowd cannot hold their places, everyone decides to turn the show into a standing venture. "Loser" brings out the very best of sing-a-longs, where the venue truly starts to show its charm. The sound calibration is so condensed that it immerses you to every detail performed. "Dreams" is performed to the delight of newer fans and for the fans of Beck's hip-hop productions, "Ghettochip Malfunction" is played where Beck runs around the stage with arms swinging. I did not realize that Beck had such a good flow, which is one of the bigger surprises of the show to me. Halfway through the show, Beck performs a solo vocal performance that sends chills down the spines of many, to the point of borderline uneasiness.

Luckily, Beck returns to his usual character by joking about the biking culture of Copenhagen and the fact that he never wants to leave. During "Lost Cause" Beck brings out his funky harmonica skills to the delight of the crowd. Bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen starts off with a rather lukewarm attitude but eventually morphs into the most energetic of them all, even supplying some metal vocals, probably developed through his work with Nine Inch Nails. What is most astounding at Beck's show is the virtuosity of the musicians on stage as they bounce from instrument to instrument in a jam-band manner. At the closing of the initial set, Beck brings out a robot that supplies some weird synths through the microphone. As the crowd watches curiously, Beck begins to seal the stage with a police banner and eventually disappears. As the audience begins to roar and clap to signal Beck's return, he instead reemerges on a smaller announcement stage flanked on the right of the stage, dressed in all white, he serenades us with a couple of more songs before returning to main stage. As tradition dictates, he introduces all band members and bows gracefully with them at the end of the show.

Despite not having that many direct radio hits, Beck's discography is astounding in variety and that should be attributed to his motivation to never repeat something he has done before. Seeing Beck in this venue was a unique experience that I doubt I'll get the chance to see again. The hour and a half long setlist was strong and the entertainment value was at an ultimate high. Definitely one of the most memorable performances of 2015.

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