LIVE: Beck & Cage the Elephant @ SPAC 8/12/2019
Beck and Cage The Elephant arrived in Saratoga on Monday night, as it was the next stop in their Night Running Tour, which will conclude at the end of August. The night was kicked off with a bang, as the New York City based Sunflower Beans brought an energetic indie-rock sound, bringing the early-arriving crowd to their feet. Their set was followed up by Spoon, who kept the same pace and energy as the Sunflower Beans, despite being two decades older.
Cage The Elephant took the stage shortly after the Spoon’s set. The lights all fell, and the Bowling Green native band was silhouetted by the surrounding pyrotechnics. Eventually, Matt Shultz, the band’s lead singer, emerged wearing an outfit you’d only imagine from a Cage The Elephant frontman— a grey trench coat, a masquerade mask, a straw sunhat and an assortment of accessories on various satchels donned by the singer. This was the outermost of many (and I mean many) layers that Shultz was wearing. Throughout the set he unpeeled each layer, revealing strange outfit after strange outfit until he was left in a nude leotard and red short-shorts. These layers of clothing didn’t impede Shultz’s mobility in the slightest, however, as there wasn’t a single minute in the 19-song-set that he wasn’t running, dancing, jumping, or leaning hard into each and every lyric.
Cage just released their fifth studio album, Social Cues, this past April, so naturally, they played many tracks from the new record, including; “Broken Boy,” “Social Cues,” “Ready To Let Go” and various others. As the set went on the energy of the band never slowed, keeping the thousands in attendance dancing right along. Playing hits such as “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Come A Little Closer” and “Cigarette Daydream,” before finally finishing their set with “Teeth.” However, just because the band was done didn’t mean Matt Shultz was. Midway through the last song the singer left the stage and began to make his way through the crowd, and didn’t stop when the song concluded and his bandmates left the stage. Shultz continued on, making his way through the amphitheater, eventually reaching the lawn, where he crowd-surfed all the way up to the concourse and eventually made his way to the balcony, embracing and entertaining fans the whole way. It was almost 20 minutes after the set that Matt Shultz made his backstage, however, we hadn’t seen the last of him yet…
After Cage The Elephant’s long and exhilarating set it was hard to believe we still hadn’t seen the main act. But, sure enough, there was another entire set to be seen, and it did not disappoint. Beck opened his portion of the night with an acoustic slide guitar solo, such as one you may hear in an Old Western, that solo transitioned into arguably his most recognized song, “Loser.” Beck’s set was filled with his signature indie-rock-rap music, impressive solos from him and his band, bright lasers and lights, and fans who had not stopped dancing since the night began. The night did slow down for a few minutes, when Beck gave a touching speech, talking about his mother who was in the crowd, the importance of savoring what you have and not taking anything for granted – this did not disappoint the fans though, as they continued to cheer and show their support. Beck then covered the Korgis “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime,” then played his own “E-Pro,” before exiting the stage in preparation for the encore that was sure to follow.
Beck began his encore with the sound of the iconic guitar intro of “Where It’s At,” leaving no one unsure of what song was being played. Once that was over Beck gave an unexpected but riveting harmonica solo, beginning his 1994 song “One Foot in the Grave.” Following this, Beck invited the Spoon singer, Britt Daniel, to come back on stage and asked him what he song he wanted to play, Britt replied, “Pump It Up” by Elvis Costello, and so that became the third song of the encore.
Next Beck invited yet another singer back on stage, this time Cage The Elephant frontman Matt Shultz (who came out wearing yet another exotic outfit, this time complete with a yellow rain jacket and hat). Beck and Shultz sang their recent single together, “Night Running” (of which the tour was named after), followed by a reprise of “Where It’s At,” during which confetti rained from the amphitheater before the night finally came to an end.