“Bottles and cans, just clap your hands.”
It’s hard for me to admit how many years that I’ve been singing that those lyrics without feeling every year of my age. But last night sharing them with multiple generations at the AMP, I belted them just as loudly as the children sitting on the lawn and the nice, gray-haired couple seated in front of me.
While the AMP in Rogers will no doubt be full of children tonight for Kidz Bop, there were a couple of generations present for the Summer Odyssey Tour last night with headliners Beck and Phoenix bringing bright lights and elaborate sets with indie openers Weyes Blood and Sir Chloe.
Last night’s concert offered a festival-type experience, which was perfect for the tour’s theme. Opener Sir Chloe has been burning up the indie and college radio waves with their nostalgic, 90s-tinged guitar rock. Dressed in all white and beige, the five-piece ensemble, including Dana Foote, Teddy O’Mara, Palmer Foote, Emma Welch and Austin Holmes, sweated through their 30-minute set with the sun giving them a steady spotlight in the 96-degree afternoon.
Young and full of fortitude, they rocked through their hits like “Michelle,”https://music.einnews.com/article/650871191/”Too Close” and “Should I” and managed to get the half-melted crowd bobbing and swaying. After their set, the lead singer sat down with the crowd to enjoy Weyes Blood’s set and was flanked by members of the audience who wanted selfies and to tell the young singer what an amazing set they put on.
I’m firmly convinced that you could pluck Sir Chloe from 2023 and put them on stage at Lollapalooza sometime in the ’90s, their sound would seamlessly blend in. All that said, they are a solid rock band that I will be adding to my playlist. I think the best is yet to come from Sir Chloe.
Speaking of the best, Natalie Laura Mering, aka Weyes Blood, certainly earned the title of best dressed last night when she came out in a flowing white dress and cape to share her sweeping vocals and varied catalog. She’s been described as a cross between Enya and John Denver. However, the more I listen to her sing, I can’t help but think of Karen Carpenter.
With the sun unrelenting, Mering and her well-dressed band, promised to bring some cool energy from the stage. Mering stood in front and twirled between vocals, strummed her acoustic guitar and played keys for her song, “Everyday”. About three songs into her set, she dedicated “God Turned Me into a Flower” to “all those who had a sketchy day or drank too much last night” and joked that her more ethereal songs were their “rave songs.”
Mering has stated in previous interviews that she’s mostly influenced by church music. A few of her faithful were in attendance last night, but no one held it down quite like her lone fan, clad in a faded Lana Del Rey shirt, who was standing and swaying in section eight. She could have put the entire concert on for that one fellow who was singing along with every word.
Following Weyes Blood the stage was reconfigured with giant black frames that created two tiers for Phoenix and Beck, but also served as backdrop for one of the most incredible video displays. When Phoenix came out with opener “Lisztomania,” it was like being visually immersed into the song. That carried on throughout their very energetic set.
I daresay that they upstaged Beck. There wasn’t a moment were it was possible to look away. With the videos on the backdrop, there were moments were we were in a lightning storm or a surreal dining room or part of the cosmos. The band even played into those theatrical moments. At one point bringing out an actor dressed like the Phantom of the Opera who “beheaded” lead singer Thomas Mars and then fled.
Later Mars had a pair of binoculars that were tricked out with a camera that projected what he saw on to the screen behind him as he looked into the audience for the masked actor. As people cheered with their faces lighting up the screen behind the band, the actor appeared in the crowd next to one of the giant white towers in the seating section.
Mars also took several moments to bring the house lights up so that he could talk to the crowd. He reminisced about their performance at FORMAT last year and talked about how much they enjoy the area during a rare lull in the set. Then at the end of the show, he jumped into the crowd, ran up the aisles then back to the lawn, and then crowd-surfed his way back up to the stage.
My dear Beck had to follow that. Luckily, he has a very powerful well of songs to pull from.
In my excitement I can’t remember if he opened with “New Pollution” or “Devil’s Haircut,” it was definitely from his album “Odelay.” Then there was “Mixed Bizness” and “Sexx Laws” from “Midnite Vultures,” complete with a light and video installation happening around him that hearkened back to the album’s artwork.
He also shared later favorites such as “Dreams” and “Wow” but stuck to his biggest hits for most of his set. One of the things that I’ve always enjoyed about his concerts, aside from his James Brown-style dance moves, is that he always seems excited to share those songs even though he’s been playing them so long. Take his first hit, “Loser” which came out in 1994. I’ve seen him and his same band perform that song so many times, and every time they have a blast.
Beck has been a genre-shapeshifter. He’s sings like a folk singer and composes music with elements of hip, rock, jazz and blues, but for the last decade he’s skewed more toward pop music. His plethora of hits makes for a nonstop show with plenty to sing along with.
In fact, he straight up teased some folks with his B-side “Debra,” and I heard many complaints. I suppose he was trying to pay tribute to all of his albums and couldn’t squeeze in one more tune from “Midnight Vultures.” Personally, I would have liked to hear more from “Modern Guilt,” which is my favorite, but it doesn’t matter. He played so many bangers — “Que Onda Guero,”https://music.einnews.com/article/650871191/”Nicotine and Gravy” (which he pulled out a saxophone for), “Go It Alone,”https://music.einnews.com/article/650871191/”E-Pro,”https://music.einnews.com/article/650871191/”One Foot in the Grave,”https://music.einnews.com/article/650871191/”Girl,”https://music.einnews.com/article/650871191/”Chemtrails.” He brought out Phoenix to share a song that was written specifically for this tour, “Odyssey.” The song has a breezy feeling and puts me in mind the Talking Head’s tune “Once in a Lifetime.”
The concert closed with lights, balloons, and all of the bands on stage for Beck’s optimal closer, “Where It’s At.” Again, everyone on stage seemed to be having as much fun as the audience, singing with arms around one another — at one point Mering and Beck waltzed across the stage, giving us one more view of that gorgeous dress.
Then it was time to trek back to the car, but the night was cooler, and breezes cooled the crowd. I heard one guy yell, “There was no Debra!” on the way out, but he didn’t seem mad. Lots of people were carrying out records, I met two small guys taking home “Odelay” and “Guero.” Those two are in for a treat.