Before we caught a glimpse of Beck we heard the familiar opening chords of "Loser". And in the time he emerged on the rotating KROQ stage gringo-rapping "In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey " the whole Forum arena erupted. It was electric and palpable. The consummate performer with a dervish whirlwind of energy encouraged full-scale sing-alongs, pulled out the funky slides and other smooth moves, and treated fans to a tour de force of his impressive back catalogue.
Another crowd pleaser "Devil's Haircut" followed swiftly. Then "Black Tambourine" and "Que Onda Guero". He was obviously pleased to be performing in his hometown for such a large arena crowd. Beck peppered his set with anecdotes of growing up in East LA which must account for the eclectic and expansive nature of his musical output over the last 20 years. He also gave creds to KROQ for being the radio station that was a lifeline to alternative music, LA punk and bands from England, when he was a teen.
Beck also took the time to introduce his band but it was no ordinary intro. Each member got to do an extended solo and a song of their choice. Guitarist Jason Falkner picked David Bowie's "China Girl" riff and Beck joined in to sing - replacing lyrics 'little China girl' with 'Jason Faulkner'.
Most exciting however was the kaleidoscope and hip-hop infused "Wow" - a single released earlier this Summer - if only for the anticipation it brought of a new Beck album on the horizon with a vibe so fresh and jubilant.
Beck's performance on the second night of the annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2016 was followed by headliners, Green Day who brought the festivities to a close in spectacular fashion.