Beck literally sparkled in a black sequin blazer (that lent itself to some pretty spectacular blazer flap throwin') at last night's dizzying reinterpretation of David Bowie's classic 1977 track "Sound and Vision" to a lucky audience of 300.
After arriving on the FOX Studios lot, attendees entered a sound stage through the facade of Al's Record Shop—Al has some good taste, by the way—and were escorted to the first "event" of the night: the staging area. With finger foods and cocktails in hand, we gawked at the walls that were draped in 360-degree projections of mountainous landscape. Tweets with the hashtag #HelloAgain bounced from left to right, appearing, disappearing, then reappearing again on the other side of the room.
And really—some of us just wanted to see our names on the wall:
Soon after, we were seated in a separate, circular room for the main attraction. The floor had colorful southwestern-type patterned rugs strategically placed among floor pillows (complete with convenient back support!) that surrounded the stage. Encircling the stage was a multi-faceted camera contraption (with a multi-eared, multi-mouthed human head that Beck described as "Bowie-esque": "Soon, there will be one of these in every home," he said) on a track that made silent revolutions as the event started.
The first two rows sat on a revolving, turntable that slowly moved as Beck performed on a stationary stage. On the outermost rim of the set-up were over 150 top-tier musicians—including a string section, several choirs, the Dap-Kings, a yodeler, a Swedish cow horn, a CalArts gamelan ensemble, a Peruvian charango group, an array of gongs, members of the USC marching band . . . an eclectic and impressive array all conducted by Beck's father, David Campbell.
Beck took the stage with some sweeping Sorcerer's Apprentice movements: He carefully circled the outer rim of the stage with an outstretched arm. His band of 150-plus released a gorgeous cacophony of sound as he passed. Beck answered the noise with his own noise from an acoustic guitar and it all spiraled into an entrancing eight-minute cover of "Sound and Vision."
The all-encompassing band, complete with rotating floor, outer walls drenched in LED lights, and, you know, Beck, was disorienting, enveloping the audience in a full-scale sight- and soundbath.
Next up was a Chris Bell cover, the gloomy "I Am the Cosmos" ("Every night I tell myself/I am the cosmos, I am the wind/But that don't get you back again"). To cheers, Beck performed a track off Sea Change after that: the haunting "Paper Tiger," which was pretty ideal for the setting with its prominent string section and moody feel. Guero's "Girl" was up next, reinterpreted by the very awesome Dap-Kings. "I'm going to try to keep up," Beck explained. It all finished off with hit "Where It's At," peppered with Beck's signature dance moves (no more splits and breakdancing, sadly).
The spectacle was the kick-off to Lincoln Motor Company's launch of “Hello, Again,” a yearlong series featuring "multiplatform program that supports reinterpretations of noteworthy artistic material to create fresh and distinctive bodies of work."
Video of the performance of "Sound and Vision" will be released on February 10. Until then, you can check out a preview of the event below.