Here’s what happened at Beck’s intimate show in Sydney tonight (full setlist included)

Remember when V Festival (RIP) used to have those last minute intimate shows? Pixies at the Big Top comes immediately to mind. It feel like it’s been a long time since we have enjoyed major artists setting fans hearts racing by announcing a special show. Thankfully, the presence of Sydney City Limits filled the void tonight as legendary musician Beck kicked the week off announcing an intimate SCL eve show at the Factory Theatre for 500 of his luckiest fans, who secured $50 tickets via a ballot less than 48 hours out from the event. So what went down at the show?

Greeting the crowd with a brief solo rendition of “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” before inviting his seven piece band to join him, Beck promised an “extra long” set that would “start out slowly” before getting “chaotic in a friendly way”. With songs like “Devil’s Haircut” fufilling the latter, he didn’t disappoint across a jam packed a 100 minute (or so) set that leant heavily on songs from his last two records (as he acknowledged he hadn’t toured either), Colors and Morning Phase. The latter of which dominated the first part of his set. But of course this featured alongside favourites from his back catalogue.

The sound in the intimate Sydney venue has rarely sounded better as the well seasoned band delivered a world class performance; it was after all a rare headline set in harbour city. Naturally Beck – who seemingly changed guitars with every new song – complimented said location, remarking, “Every time I come back I get reminded you have one of the best cities in the world. We don’t want to leave. We can stay. We’ll do this every week!”

I for one would be very down for this.

Here’s the full setlist:
Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime (Solo)
Blue Moon
Lost Cause
Say Goodbye
Heart is a Drum
Blackbird Chain
Devil’s Haircut
Black Tambourine
Think I’m in Love > I Feel Love (Donna Summer)
The New Pollution
Qué Onda Guero
I’m So Free
Mixed Bizness
Go It Alone
Soul of a Man
Paper Tiger
Where It’s At (with Strawberry Fields intro and introductory interlude jams feat. Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Talking Heads, Gary Numan and more)

Beck will play the first ever Sydney City Limits tomorrow with Phoenix, Justice and more. Limited tickets available on the door. He’s also playing in Canberra and Melbourne with Meg Mac before he leaves the country for Auckland City Limits. Check out this website for all the details.

Photo by Britt Andrews for Music Insight. Full gallery HERE.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.