I was predisposed not to like the show. I should have sold the ticket. One guy offered me $70. But curiosity got the better of me.
I shoulda known better. Buncha herdspeople clapping and cheering - one obnoxious boomer bitch beside me even dancing - through a too-fast, unconvincingly soulless Vegas rip through Beck's greatest hits, beginning, bizarrely, with "Loser." I could not shake the feeling that I was consuming something that comes essentially down the same chute as Tom Cruise; that I was part of some transaction even more suspect and malign than that documented in Privilege. I wonder if the band members were all Scientologists? They sure didn't seem like a real band - rather like hired guns. There were a couple of moments of near-intimacy (like when the band put down their instruments and joined Beck up front for a rappish number or two, with Beck tossing in a reference to R. Kelly, whom I assume, from South Park, is also a Scientologist); but generally it felt like a professionally executed spectacle-by-numbers with no real human emotion or values crossing the chasm between the characterless but well-dressed robots onstage and the confused, whooping, cheering, salivating horde. It's hard to believe, and harder to embrace the fact that this is the same dude who recorded One Foot in the Grave, or instructed us all to "give the finger/ to the rock'n'roll singer/ as he's dancing upon your paycheque..." now selling tickets for $60+ to tasteless, soulless clueless middleclass consumers eager to bask in the glow of celebrity and cheer their own reflections. The giant dildo has crushed the sun and is now teasing about my nether regions: I felt bored, irritated, unclean, and generally embarrassed to be there, marked by my presence as just another consumer, sucker, sap. I left before the big rousing finale of "Where It's At" - bitching at friend Michael from a payphone in the Orpheum lobby, hearing the cheers and not understanding. No idea what the encores were. Fucking sucker. They got me.
Of course, I doubtlessly would have enjoyed it all a lot more if a certain couple of provocateurs (because it was Robert Dayton as well as Mack who I had this convo with) hadn't pointed out Beck's ties to the CoS, but I don't think I would have enjoyed it enough to be a satisfied pig at the trough. And it didn't help that I then had to walk home through the obscene spectacle of plastic young assholes getting drunk and parading their tits, muscle, money and utter lack of culture or restraint all over Granville Street... I feel so alien, so alone on a night like this. Where are the real people? Why is the world turning this way? Why am I participating in it? Where's my log cabin? Where's my escape hatch? How do I find my way home?
"Chemtrails," oddly, does a pretty good job of describing how I feel tonight: drowned. Like so many others. Ah, well.