ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Oct. 3, 2008
Saturday, Sept. 27, Zilker Park
As the UT Tower glowed orange in the distance, Beck delivered a solid, if not spectacular, set Saturday night with all the well-paced underpinnings of a Vegas showroom revue. Armed with a chameleon's lair of hits, he took the unorthodox step of opening with "Loser." The tombstone inscription curried energy that carried forward into the tribal groove of "Nausea" and the New Wave vibe of "Timebomb." Reimagined versions of "Nicotine & Gravy" and "Mixed Bizness" from 1999's Midnite Vultures were intriguing but lacked the left-handed, party-up flavor of their studio predecessors. By contrast, the title track from this year's Modern Guilt packed nervous urgency buried on the album. At midset, Beck and his fourpiece band grabbed handheld synth implements to deconstruct "Black Tambourine" and "Hell Yes" house-party style. Following elegiac readings of "The Golden Age" and "Lost Cause" from 2002's Sea Change, Beck headed for the garage with Bob Dylan's "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat." "Where It's At" and "E-Pro" ended the 70-minute set strong but left the torqued-up audience wanting for an encore that never came.