BECK @Forest National, Brussels – 10 September 2014

concert review by Ioana Nica

An astrology enthusiast could tell you that people born under the sun sign of Cancer have the quality to bring along a comfortable and familiar feeling simply by their presence and right from the moment they enter a room. Whether one believes or not in astrology, Beck’s presence warmed up the (sometimes too often) hostile, large and cold Forest National venue, on 10 September.

I knew the concert was not sold out so I was surprised to see it full of people. High upper balconies were close, so were four seated sections, but the rest was fully packed.

The opening
After having listened to his latest album – Morning Phase – I thought I would witness a more melancholic setlist. But all my fears were scattered away at 21:15 when Beck and his six-members touring band filled in the stage. The opening song was Devil’s Haircut and I knew from the first riffs that the concert was gonna be awesome. And it was. Awesome in an exquisite and extremely nice way. Just like Beck is.

The setlist
Beck chose to build the first part of his setlist on known and dynamic tracks: Devil’s Haircut (although for the first minutes of the song, the awful sound in Forest National filled me up with horror, but hopefully it was fixed in due time), Tambourine, Loser (yep, Loser was not an encore, not even a setlist milestone) and The New Pollution. Special projections with colorful abstract and animated images were accompanying each song, creating a playful ambiance.

The new album was introduced a bit after, with Blue Moon, song which was acclaimed by the public as if is was already a big known hit. The projections become static and the guitars become acoustics. Matching perfectly Beck hat’s shadow reflected on one of the monitors.

After Blue Moon and contrary to any expectation, Beck does not continue promoting his new songs and changes the rhythm with a song from Modern Guilt. Then offers a true proof of the power of his voice, going back in time to a song which is a good illustration of his mixed hip-hop performance style, just like the old times – Hell Yes. He keeps this pace until the next melancholic ballad, Lost Cause, superb introduction for the Morning Phase songs set. Lost Cause touched the public a lot! I’ve seen lighters in the air, which had, surprisingly enough, real flames not phone light. Which was so ‘90s. At that moment I was never more grateful to the good clear (unexpected) sound in Forest National.

Morning Phase songs set
Although Lost Cause was indeed the perfect introduction for the following acoustic set of songs from Morning Phase, Beck felt the need to excuse himself: “Listen up, we’re gonna do a few songs from the new album and then we’re gonna get loco.” Unforgiven, Heart Is a Drum, Wave and Waking Light were very well received, people are really listening to his new work, being familiar with them.

The most special moment
Wave was very special. The kind of moment which gives you goose bumps: a killer combination of awesome vocals, purple light, and the sound of a cello… the cold message of isolation would have never been better received.

The second part or going locco
The last part of the show retakes the colorful projections, the funky rhythms and the electric guitars going crazy. Here it comes the promised “going loco” part with a happy Beck thanking and expressing his good time feelings. Everything and everybody on the stage went nuts, so a yellow “do not cross” band is necessary and consequently appears on the stage.

The conclusion
The encore brings on a surprise: a special guest, the trumpeter Jon Birdsong joins the band for Sexx Lows, Debra and the jamming on the final piece, Where It’s At, when Beck presented and sang with each of his band mates separately. In a room full of people captivated by the show and music, with a band on stage jamming and having a good time – this was the moment where all the pieces fall into place for me to realize the philosophy delivered behind the show: it was a party with friends, where everybody is invited and welcomed to enjoy it and to feel great. Something you may find at concerts held in small venues, something that big artists sometimes try to recreate on their big stadium tours, but for Beck this seems to come so easy and natural. For him, it really is.


  • Devil’s Haircut (Odelay, 1996)

  • Black Tambourine (Guero, 2005)

  • Loser (Mellow Gold, 1994)

  • The New Pollution (Odelay, 1996)

  • Blue Moon (Morning Phase, 2014)

  • Gamma Ray (Modern Guilt, 2008)

  • Hell Yes (Guero, 2005)

  • Think I’m in Love (The Information, 2006) / I Feel Love (Donna Summer cover)

  • Soul of a Man (Modern Guilt, 2008)

  • Lost Cause (Sea Change, 2002)

  • Unforgiven (Morning Phase, 2014)

  • Heart Is a Drum (Morning Phase, 2014)

  • Wave (Morning Phase, 2014)

  • Waking Light (Morning Phase, 2014)

  • Girl (Guero, 2005)

  • Timebomb (single, 2007)

  • E-Pro (Guero, 2005)


  • Sexx Laws (Midnite Vultures, 1999)

  • Debra (Midnite Vultures, 1999)

  • Where It’s At (Odelay, 1996)


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