Concert Review: Beck, Cage the Elephant and Spoon at Coral Sky Amphitheater
Beck, Cage the Elephant and Spoon made a stop on the final date of the co-headlined The Night Running Summer Tour at Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach on an exceptionally hot and steamy Friday night. Indie rock band Spoon opened the night, followed by theatrical performers Cage the Elephant, and an epic performance by longtime alternative rocker Beck, who had his fans on their feet dancing and gyrating to his every move.
For those who attended the concert, it was nice relief from mentally draining days of anxiety coupled with long lines for gas, food and water in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian that had been forecast to strike South Florida as early as Monday. This concert is what people needed, and it happened.
Things got off to a rapid-fire pace as Spoon, the quartet from Austin, got the shirt-soaked crowd movin’ and groovin’ through a series of the band’s early work. Initially formed in 1993, Spoon has released nine studio albums, with “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” becoming one of the bands biggest hit in 2007. On the set list was fan-favorite “The Underdog,” highlighted with both Alex Fischel and Gerardo Larios going at it in a dueling-keyboard session at the end of the song.
There are many who argue that rock is dead and new bands don’t convey the magnetic power of the bands that preceded them. However, they need to see Cage the Elephant to dispel those thoughts.
An incredible force, Matt Shultz, lead singer of Cage the Elephant is the charismatic leader who commands the stage and draws you in, rocks you hard, and moves like Jagger. One thing you can count on from Cage the Elephant and their eccentric frontman; is a limitless, high-energy performer who has the endurance to keep him bouncing and gyrating across every inch of stage from the very first note to the final bow. Shultz simply can’t stand still; dressed in a beekeeper’s costume, he looked the part of half-beekeeper, half-scarecrow. His bizarre gyrations on stage were more of a theatrical performance that captivated the audience as they watched his every move. Is there a message? Perhaps. But one thing is clear: Shultz the idiosyncratic singer doesn’t talk to the crowd; instead he sings, screams and uses his body contortions to convey his message through his purgative expressions. His ability to engage his fans and give them an up-close and personal experience came when Shultz left the stage and ran into the crowd where he danced, crawled and engaged anyone who happened to be in his path.
In the meantime, Brad Shultz, brother of Matt and lead guitarist for Cage, was equally energetic and matched his brother’s fire on stage; his backing vocals were deep and rich, penetrating the crowd in fine fashion. He engaged the audience during one of the band’s most popular and guitar-heavy songs, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” delighting the crowd that was shouting every word right back to them.
Cage the Elephant ripped though 19 of their very best, giving the crowd exactly what they came for; this is a band that consistently delivers and has been since they released their self-titled first album in 2008. If you haven’t seen Cage live, add them to your bucket list of rock bands to see; you won’t be disappointed.
Next, there was tremendous anticipation for headliner Beck. The buzz in the crowd was apparent, and everyone stood in place screaming for the longtime artist to start the show. The hat-wearing singer came dressed for the occasion in a grey suit and fire-engine-red shirt. Beck didn’t waste any time as he stood on a riser, acoustic guitar in hand, and opened with perhaps his biggest hit, “Loser.” Beck is known for his unique style of free-flowing hip hop funk music that has yet to be replicated. Clearly, the tone was set; this was going to be an epic night of music from the alternative rocker. The charismatic singer bounced around the stage from end to end, engaging his audience as if he was singing to each person. Playing for a full 90-minutes, Beck’s set included plenty of songs to dance and sing out loud to, along with delivering some of his most notable songs. Clearly, the crowd had fun, his set was lively and Beck had given his audience his very best and finished up with “E-pro” off his 2005 album “Guero.” With his set finished, Beck waved to his most faithful fans and said his final goodbyes.
However, it was clear to both him and the audience that there was some unfinished business. The lights came alive once again, and Beck rewarded those who came to see him with a six-song encore featuring several covers for those who hung around despite the impending hurricane that was to arrive in a day or so (fortunately, of course, the hurricane turned north). The Rolling Stones were playing that same night just 30 miles south in Miami, moving up their concert by a day to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Dorian. Knowing this full well, Beck added two Stones’ covers to his set list when he brought out the members of Spoon to sing “Miss You.” Following up the next cover song, he was joined by the eccentric Shultz, who came out wearing a Gilligan hat and motocross outfit to sing a short version of the Stones mega-hit “Satisfaction.” Without a break they continued into their collaboration of Cage the Elephant’s newest hit “Night Running.” The reggae-infused song was sung by the crowd nearly word for word, as both Beck and Shultz seemed to be having fun on stage.
Closing out the night was “Where It’s At?,” the final song of both the encore and the summer tour. Beck with Cage the Elephant already on stage brought out the members of Spoon for a freestyle funkadelic rock and roll dance party that included jumping jacks, tumbling and whatever other shenanigans the bands wanted to get into. To make the party complete, the crowd was showered with a never-ending stream of confetti and balloons. That night there was nothing left to prove; everyone who came for a show got exactly what they wanted and left with an overwhelming feeling of emotions that included ringing ears and exhausted bodies. It was time for everyone to come back to reality and prepare for the impending hurricane that might soon become their reality. But in the end, it was all well worth it.
Cage the Elephant
Broken Boy, Cry Baby, Spiderhead, Too Late to Say Goodbye, Cold Cold Cold, Ready to Let Go, Social Cues, Tokyo Smoke, Mess Around, Trouble, Skin and Bones, Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked, It’s Just Forever, Telescope, House of Glass, Come a Little Closer, Shake Me Down, Cigarette Daydreams, Teeth
Loser, Up All Night, Girl, Qué Onda Güero, Mixed Bizness, Debra, Wow, Saw Lightning, Dreams, Devils Haircut, Dear Life, Gamma Ray, Lost Cause, New Pollution, E-Pro, Encore: Where It’s At, Pump It Up (Elvis Costello cover), Miss You (The Rolling Stones cover), (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones cover), Night Running (Cage the Elephant cover), Where It’s At (Reprise)