New Music for Old Rockers – Special Edition of Best Concert Ever?

The opportunity while on a business trip to see Spoon, Cage the Elephant, and Beck in one concert on their Night Running Tour was too tempting for me to resist. This is arguably the best concert tour of the summer. I paid more than I like to usually pay for my concerts, which is zero. But the opportunity to see 4 excellent acts in one concert was like going to a mini-music festival. That’s right, 4 acts. Wild Belle opened the show. I passed on Wild Belle and took a nap and swim at my La Quinta hotel within walking distance of the concert venue. By the way, La Quinta is Spanish for The Quinta. You’re welcome for the translation.

As I walked to the outdoor venue, I could hear Spoon starting their set. I could have pulled up a chair outside and heard the show for free. This blog feature is about new music, and Spoon was playing their new single “No Bullets Spent” from their Greatest Hits album just released. Ugh. Why do bands insist on adding bad songs to their greatest hit compilations? I refuse to include a link to this sub-standard new Spoon song. Instead, if you are unfamiliar with Spoon, enjoy “The Underdog” which got me hooked on Spooning.

Spoon’s stage was spartan and looked like it was missing a knife and fork.

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I did feel like a bad guy when seeing this made me happy.Spoon 2

That’s right, the woman in front of me would not be standing. I could sit all I wanted during the show and still see the stage. Am I a bad guy? I am so ashamed.

Between the Spoon and Cage the Elephant sets, I wandered a bit. I noticed that the venue’s Impossible Burger was priced at over twice as much as the Impossible Whopper from Burger King I downed as I walked to the concert. Score some savings for me! But why is a vegetarian burger not marked with the vegetarian logo? Hmmm.

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I had a brush with greatness as I wandered. I was wearing a Red Hot Chili Peppers tee shirt and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap. I was stopped by a young couple who wanted to know if I was from Michigan because of my apparel. Michiganians are cute. They think everyone is nice and will talk to them. I sucked back and contained my normal animus as I chatted with them, and I am glad I did. It turns out that the woman’s neighbor in Michigan is the mother of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. My brush with greatness. Chills.

I’m going to skip over the Cage the Elephant set and take on the Beck set. It was excellent and visually stunning.


OK, so that just looks like an ad for CBS, but this one looks better.


I should make you some gifs, but am simply too damn lazy. You’re just going to have to go against your best instincts and trust me that it was visually scintillating.

Beck has a new album coming out soon featuring “Saw Lightning” on it that he just crushed last night.

However, I felt a little let down by Beck’s outstanding set. It wasn’t fair. In the set before, Cage the Elephant put together the best concert set I have ever seen. Period. They came out smoking, literally.

Cage 1

Cage 2

Fortunately, the fireball somehow did not engulf them. “Broken Boy” is from their new album and was their first song in their set that they just exploded all over the stage. Their live version in this video from months ago is better than their album version. Their live version last night was at least twice as good as that live video. Maybe it was the fireball? Matt Schultz, Cage’s frontman, commanded the stage as he strutted, pranced, and danced as well as Mick Jagger in his prime. There were times he even writhed across the stage floor like Iggy Pop, sans the broken glass though. And he came out to the crowd numerous times to sing along with their fans.

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The Cage set was simply incredible. They are much better live than recorded.

Now, back to Beck, who is almost as good live as his exquisite studio recordings. Certainly the awesome visuals make up for a lack of layered track production quality. After a somewhat shortish set, Beck came back on stage with Matt from Cage for a long encore. It was musically outstanding and visually entrancing, unlike any encore I have ever seen. Lasers, video, giant balloons, confetti cannons, great music, dancing, hungry tigers released into the crowd. OK, no hungry tigers released. The show closed with a “Where It’s At” reprise. It made me glad that the concert was where I was at.

After this concert, I need to take a break from concerts for just a bit. I know summer is fleeting as is outdoor concert season. Tick tock. But I want to savor this Spoon/Cage/Beck show just a bit. It was delicious.

On my schedule in late August is a concert by old school 80’s rockers The Smithereens with a new lead singer due to the death of their original lead singer. Surprise! It’s … 80’s power-popper Marshall Crenshaw? Really? Hmmm, well, we’ll see how that goes. I better buy my ticket. Oh, not necessary. It’s free!!!