With anticipation setting in to see one of my favorite musicians since the age of 11, I entered the beautiful, architectural State Theatre in downtown Cleveland. I grabbed an overpriced cocktail, then we made our way to our seats.
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, or The GOASTT opened up for Beck, and it couldn’t have been a better choice. I saw the band 11 days earlier at Mountain Jam Festival—same set list, but it was still magical. The psychedelic sounds of the band brought a welcoming presence to the theater for an entrance to Beck. Songs from their album Midnight Sun brought the audience alive. I sat back and bobbed my head to songs like “Xanadu” and “Animals.”
After Sean Lennon blissfully pierced our hearing with the sounds of the variety of guitar pedals, it was time for a set change.
Out came the seven-piece band and there stood Beck with an electric guitar and his signature homburg hat. The theater shook as the guitar riff of “Devil’s Haircut” began. Right then and there, I knew I would be entering a journey of bliss, rock ‘n’ roll and memories. Alive came the audience and the crowd began to roar.
Throughout the set, Beck and his band jumped around from album to album, playing “Black Tambourine” from 2005’s Guero to “Gamma Ray” from 2008’s Modern Guilt.
The same band we saw on stage were all the musicians who recorded 2002’s Sea Change. Beck mentioned that we would never hear the songs like “Lost Cause” and “The Golden Age” and “Paper Tiger” played better than we did that night.
Beck threw in little jokes and phrases during the set, like saying, “you only need two things in life: a million dollars and nail clippers.” His wittiness made him more personable to the audience. “We came to Cleveland and you brought us rain. We haven’t had that in California in three years.”
When the sweet sounds of an acoustic guitar opened up “Loser,” the crowd went back to 1994. I may have only been two years old, but it’s been a favorite song of mine since middle school. He jumped around the stage with his smooth dance moves, hand waving and flexibility—he never stopped the excitement. After playing songs such as “Blackbird Chain” and “Blue Moon,” Beck said, “Ok, just one more song from our new album.” “Waking Light” was the last song to be played from this year’s Morning Phase, which Beck himself said it was a companion album to Sea Change.
The encore of the show included “Hell Yes” and “Where It’s At,” letting the audience leave with vibrations through their bodies. As Sean Lennon was showing off his moves on the side of the stage, Beck sat down in front of the drum set and told us a story. He mentioned travelling throughout Cleveland before the show. He was at a mall and saw a gospel group and thought to himself, “this is Cleveland.” He then noticed a girl and a guy beside each other, as he looked closer, the girl’s hand was in the guy’s pants and it seemed to be moving up and down then he said “no, this is Cleveland.” The crowd let out laughter and he went back into the soulful groove of “Where It’s At” with Sean Lennon dancing alongside Beck and the band members.
Whatever the mood of the songs, Beck brought out the best of it. Whether he was jumping around with this soulful swagger or playing a melancholy song on his acoustic guitar, it was one musical journey I will never forget.