Beck Deer Lake Park, Vancouver BC, August 19

Beck Deer Lake Park, Vancouver BC, August 19
Photo: Steve Louie
Jenny Lewis was the opening act on Beck's Morning Phase tour, promoting her third solo album The Voyageur. Launching right into Rilo Kiley's "Silver Lining," Lewis' vocals rang out as crystal clear as the skies above; unheard of, for an outdoor Vancouver show. Jenny and Beck could have easily co-headlined the tour — the crowd wanted that much more from her — but after a handful of tunes from her new album, including the femme-positive lady-without-a-baby anthem "Just One Of The Guys," Lewis threw out a heartfelt "RIP Richards on Richards" before making room for Beck. Glad to know somebody out there still recognizes the iconic Vancouver venue.

As his band filed out and he brought up the rear, dusk began to settle. Beck's been known to be rather aloof towards his audience — especially during his Modern Guilt phase — but the Beck that showed up for this Vancouver crowd was anything but detached. It's safe to say that Beck is a musical legend at this point in his career, with over 20 years of music to his name, but he seemed excited as ever to play, quipping, "Who cares if it's a Tuesday?"

Whipping out "Devil's Haircut" as the first song, the audience knew right away that this was going to be a night filled with hit after hit from the brimmed hat-wearing, leather jacket-suited performer. His latest LP is in the same mode as 2002's ambient-folk Sea Change, which was perhaps Beck's most drastic change in sound, and that's coming from a guy who's had many of them. Therefore, it was difficult to tell what way the show was going to go: would Beck play the melancholic Morning Phase front-to-back, with a smattering of upbeat crowd-pleasers?

Beck gave Vancouver exactly what they wanted that night. From the sharp, jangled rendition of "Black Tambourine" to "Think I'm In Love" that transitioned into Donna Summer's disco banger "I Feel Love" to the merry sing-along of his massive teenage-angst-fuelled "Loser," Beck didn't miss a beat. And that's to be taken literally: the man is light on his feet.

When he wasn't toting a guitar for the slower jams, like on Sea Change's "Lost Cause," Beck merrily hopped about the stage and made friendly banter with his fans. He also completely tore it up on the harmonica for "Novacane" and "Hell Yes," which turned the Deer Lake Park stage into a Sunday morning gospel church, with Beck as pastor. Stepping out for his encore with "Sexx Laws" and "Debra" — the opening and closing tracks to his masterful funk record, 1999's Midnite Vultures — Beck finished his nearly two-hour set with "Where It's At," and judging by the amount of love he was giving the adoring crowd, Vancouver was truly the place to be at for this solid night of music.