Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I've never seen Beck live before, so maybe this is his performance style, but his show at NHK Hall on Tuesday night seemed a bit subdued. Maybe it was the crowd. There was applause at the end of each song, but it wasn't what you'd call raucous, and often the clapping would stop completely before the next number started. (There was actual silence! Only for a few moments, but still!) And forget dancing or arm waving. Except for the folks up front, most people I saw were just sitting stony-faced in their cushy theater seats (the venue is also an opera hall). Is this how most foreign artists are received? Is quiet attentiveness the ultimate show of respect? Let's just say I wasn't feeling the love, and I can't imagine that Beck was either, and maybe that's why he barely spoke to us (though he did mention that he was happy to be in "Shi-BOO-yah").
In any case, I thought it was a great show, and I was psyched to hear so many songs from Modern Guilt (including Orphans, Gamma Ray, Soul of a Man and the highlight of the night, Chemtrails) plus old faves like Devil's Haircut and Loser and Where It's At. He did Sexx Laws as an encore -- apparently we as an audience managed to sustain enough applause and cheers to earn one, though I think just barely -- and that made me very happy, though he did seem to forget some of his own lyrics.
I think the locals are more animated at J-pop concerts. Should I test that theory? Maybe there's a Smap tour coming up...