If there was a prize for most audacious and unpredictable musician in the field of popular music, I think Beck might clean up in this category. Sadly awards are more often driven by record sales and industry considerations. It is a shame, but so it goes.
In the last year, Mr. Beck has not only released his Song Reader, an album composed of sheet music for fans/musicians to perform and play with in their own way, but also curated and composed a track on a compilation devoted to Philip Glass (see Rework_Philip Glass Remixed). Now, he is at it again this time covering and reconceptualizing the work of another great innovator and firebrand: David Bowie. In this 9 minute video, Beck gathers a rather diverse set of musicians (from Gospel Choir to classical string section to yoddler) to put together a rather impressive display of showmanship and spectacle. It is definitely worth spending the time to watch Beck strutting around looking like folky Dylan but with a purple sequin jacket that recalls a mid-80s Michael Jackson. It’s a cooky over-the-top performance all on the dime of the Lincoln Car Company and some rather nonplussed, yet hip-ly attired audience members (except for a couple of folks who are grooving from the get go, like the dude in the baby blue sports jacket). I can’t help but also think that on top of their musical proficiency, someone from central casting came in to do the wardrobe for these musicians because they are so precisely eclectic.
All my slightly snide comments aside, this is quite cool and really impressive. I suggest expanding the picture to full-size to get a sense of the whole performance.