Beck thrills intimate, nostalgic crowd Sunday at House of Blues

Alec Schwartzman, Print Arcade Editor

A Sunday night show may not always seem like the right call for busy college students preparing for the looming work load of a full set of classes, but this past week proved differently. With tickets originally retailed around a hundred dollars before quickly selling out, and scalpers charging far more afterward, Beck’s early evening performance Sunday at the House of Blues proved to spectators that it was, in fact, the place to be.

Expectedly, groups of older looking hipsters past their prime filled the anticipatory crowd. With large sets of faded, questionable tattoos and closed gauge piercings, you could tell these were the true fans, the ones who rocked tied flannels around their waists and used the Beck of mid-90s as fuel to get through dragging high school days.

Beck, clearly aware of the crowd he caters to, announced that he and his accompanying band would be opening for themselves, also making note that this would be the first show he has played in New Orleans in about 20 years. The singer/songwriter opened the show with a harmonica around his neck and acoustic guitar in tow. He performed with thirty minutes of his newest album, “Morning Phase,” which features rock ballads steeped in blues tradition. After the somewhat down-tempo opening, however, Beck unleashed guitar fury for the next hour and a half, playing hits spanning his entire discography. For a musician used to playing stadium showings, the rather small setting of the House of Blues granted the alt-rocker with energized sense of refreshment.

“He seemed genuinely grateful to play in New Orleans again,” senior Sammy Rosenberg said. “I think he wanted to say thank you to the audience for coming out by playing all the songs he knew they would enjoy the most- the songs that made him famous in the first place. This made for an unbelievable set of straight throwbacks the entire time.”

The rocker changed guitars after nearly every track, the universal sign of “making it” as a musician. After what appeared to be his last song, Beck thanked the crowd for attending and their support before walking of stage. His absence only lasted momentarily as chants for more songs quickly overpowered the smallish venue. Returning onstage with his two guitarists, banjo player, bassist, drummer and keyboardist, Beck finished with a half-hour encore featuring solos from each band member, a harmonica solo from the man himself, and performances of the songs “Sexx Laws,” “Debra,” “Where It’s At” and “Loser.” The set ended in a burst of smoke and Beck drawing a classic yellow “CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS” tape across the front of the stage with a childish grin. Even after more than 20 years of touring, everyone at the House of Blues could sense the rock legend having fun.