16 June 2006

Who knew that I love puppets?

So, how was Beck last night? In a word: phenomenal. In many words: cool, groovy, fun, fantastic, trippy.

If my sleep-deprived mind remembers correctly, Beck kicked off the show with "Black Tambourine." He performed songs from every album, including “Loser,” “Devil’s Haircut,” and “Girl.” The band was tight, but I found it hard at times to hear Beck’s voice, especially if he was talking (the Tabernacle isn’t the greatest acoustically). He didn’t perform my favorite — his cover of “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes,” from the Eternal Sunshine soundtrack — I read that he started it at the Athens show the night before, but the crowd was too drunk and rowdy, so he stopped.

The best part of the show was the puppets. The puppeteers behind Team America: World Police were on stage the entire time, doing a real-time puppet performance of the show, which was broadcast on the screen (the Puppetron) behind the band. I know — it sounds goofy — but it was so damn cool, so much fun. Each puppet was dressed just like his band’s counterpart — down to the bassist’s fabulously huge ‘fro and loud striped suit — and did exactly what its human counterpart was doing on stage at that moment. Beck’s puppet was adorable, with Beck’s longer, shaggy hair, white shirt and vest, and hat. It was very Being John Malkovich. Here are some photos I got from "Beck"*:

The Puppeteered Beck and Band

One guy in Beck’s band has the best job in the world: He dances. That’s it — well, he did bang a tambourine once or twice, and did hit the drums once. He’s dressed like a science teacher and he dances around the stage (you can see him in the YouTube video I included in yesterday’s post). And it’s not choreographed Justin Timberlake-like dancing; it’s fun dancing. [This could be the job for you, Professor Bastard.]

Beck and His Puppet

Beck did a great acoustic set mid-show, starting with the heartbreakingly beautiful “Lost Cause” and ending with the amazing “The Golden Age.” As he played this set, the rest of the band set up a table on stage and had supper; so did the puppets … except for the acoustic-strumming Beck puppet, of course.

Before the encore, they played a video of the puppets cruising around Atlanta — even hitting The Varsity. [Grant: There was a robot puppet in the video; maybe your daughter knows more than she’s telling us.]

He ended the show with “Where It’s At,” sliding into “E-Pro.” The entire place was dancing and gyrating and singing … except for the three guys standing behind me, who carried on some inane conversation.

Just one complaint: No dancing from Beck. He’s a great dancer, and I was really looking forward to seeing him cut a rug, but he played guitar and sang the entire time. I guess his footwork may have taken away from the puppets.

The show ended at 11 p.m. on the dot; I guess the puppets are unionized.

So I was 19 again for a couple of hours ... but I turned back into the older pumpkin-with-a-job-and-responsibilities at midnight, as the young ones bolted from my Beetle for post-show partying.

BTW, check out Beck’s site; one of the best I’ve seen in a while.

*Have you stumbled across these Live Journal blogs where people pretend to be Beck, or Michael Stipe, or some other famous person, and they write daily posts as if they’re Beck, or Michael Stipe, or some famous person? These folks need lives, people — their own damn lives.

* * * * * *

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At 6/16/2006 01:32:00 PM, Blogger nicole said...

before golden age beck did a quick rolling stones into to the song... my mind is drawing a blank....
nice blog

At 6/16/2006 02:11:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

glad you had fun!
how inventive were those puppets? amazing!

oh, and you had my coffee coming out my nose with that unionized puppets line.

At 6/16/2006 02:25:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

NICOLE: I can't remember which one, either. Did you catch Beck working in a bit of Wiseguy's "Ooh La La" toward the end (got too little sleep last night, so I can't remember what went with what)? I bookmarked your blog; looks interesting.

BRAT: Always glad to make you snort that coffee. He's coming to L.A. in a couple of weeks ...

At 6/16/2006 05:38:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

I'll tell you, the best behind the band video I've ever seen was two years ago during the Primus Tour d' Fromage. It was a trippy, twisted look into what could only be the nightmares of Les Claypool. Quick Flashes of pig faced men in tuxedos, old war footage and the like. And the kicker was that it was broadcast on 2 huge spheres hanging above the stage. Quite strange.

At 6/16/2006 05:40:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

That's not as cool as puppets, Jeremy. I forgot to mention the kaleidopuppets, in which their heads swirled like a kaleidoscope.

At 6/16/2006 05:54:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Sounds like an awesome show and a great enthusiastic review. Now who's pulling the strings?

At 6/16/2006 06:38:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

I'm quite jealous. My wife likes when Beck does what she calls the "hot dog dance." She's less impressed when I do it.

At 6/16/2006 11:40:00 PM, Blogger Benny said...

The puppets look great! Beck is a human Muppet, himself.

You have the best camera. Thank goodness you got some shots that don't look like you were clapping your hands with your cell phone above your head the whole time!

At 6/17/2006 08:19:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: It was a great show!

GRANT: You should be jealous! But the hotdog dance? I think your readers need to see this ...

B: I can't claim credit for the photos; I got them from the fake-Beck site.

At 6/18/2006 03:03:00 PM, Blogger Scrivener said...

My wife and I were talking about this show, wondering how it would be. Now I'm unhappy that we didn't go, it sounds fantastic!

At 6/19/2006 08:01:00 AM, Blogger Marni said...

That is my deleted comment! (I, too, found a spelling error! Shock!)

Puppets freak me out! I'm glad you enjoyed the show, but I would have been frozen in place staring in horror at the larger-than-life puppets. I don't think I could have stayed the whole time! Just looking at the photos are giving me the heebie jeebies...

Pathetic, I know...

At 6/19/2006 05:41:00 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Just found your site because of the link from Stereogum's Beck article....


Nice pix of Mr. Hansen.


At 6/26/2007 09:54:00 PM, Anonymous Ithacan said...

Thanks! I'm going to link to this info, for a post on the Beck/puppet thing (really I'm just collecting a list of videos, but this is a good story to go with). Great post!

Videos of Puppets

At 3/07/2009 06:51:00 AM, Blogger sexy said...



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