Thursday, 2 July 2015

Beck - Station to Station

I had the absolute pleasure of attending Beck's performance, part of the Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening at the Barbican, all conceived by the truly outstanding Doug Aitken. Having been a big fan of Beck for a long time, hearing about his concerts, that are more than performances, I knew that this was going to be an extraordinary event, but what I witness comes no short of genius!

As you entered into the Barbican, a flurry of excitement and anticipation rose as the scene was set with a small selection of the LSO seated in centre stage, 3 large film screens ready for projections and three cowboy's sat quietly on the left of the stage. Everything was draped in twilight, with a mist that rose from the ground. As the projections started, scenes and re-workings from Aitken's Station to Station film, Beck walks in, dressed as if a cowboy himself, holding his guitar. What follows can only be described as some of the most beautiful, stunning and imaginative performances I think I may have seen.  

It felt as if you had been transported into the Mid West, the sounds of trains coming into a station as cowboys point out into the audience. Interludes of lyrical poets chase the ideas introduced by Aitken and Beck as they lively perform, very different in their styles, expressive in their nature. Simon Armitage, Jeminia Foxtrot, Luke Wright are some of 6 that shaped this extraordinary evening. 

Then onto Beck and many of his friends that joined, Thurston Moore, James Sedwards, BJ Cole and Leafcutter John! Beck was unbelievable, standing on a wooden box, singing in the way he only knows how, every word poignant and beautiful sung, let alone his musicality as he plays his harmonica! Then Thurston Moore. 

The tempo changed, Moore's guitar set the Barbican into a weird and wonderful, hair raising, diesel infused abstraction. As the sounds increased, the projections quickened, until what you could hear and see can only be described as sensorial euphoria. Flashing heat spots, overlaying of train tracks, orange, yellow, white as the sounds became less known and more abstracted. The decibels increased to a point of near no return, you were being pushed to your limits, more, and more and more. Then quiet.

It was nearing the end and we all waited in anticipation, hoping that it would carry on into the night, but alas it could not and what a wonderful end to hear Beck play one of his newest works, "Wave" with the LSO as backing, with tears welling in my eyes and my heart in my throat - this is how to spend a Monday night, incredible, just incredible.     

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