Lately, Beck has taken to playing sudden pop-up performance with all-star backup bands at LA-area benefits. That’s a fun hobby! And last night, Beck took the classiest possible version of it to network television, serving as musical guest on James Corden’s Late Late Show with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a few big stars backing him up.
In a few days, we’ll get to hear the compilation Music Inspired By The Film Roma, which doesn’t actually have anything to do with the great Alfonso Cuarón movie but which is now part of its Oscar-time promo blitz anyway. Beck’s contribution to the album is his cover of “Tarantula,” a lovely 1983 new wave single from the UK group Colourbox. Beck’s sweeping, orchestral version of the song doesn’t sound much like the original, though, as plenty of people have pointed out, it does sound a lot like This Mortal Coil’s 1986 take on the same song. So it’s a cover of a cover, but it’s an expertly realized one.
Beck’s version of the song featured both Leslie Feist and LA singer-songwriter Alex Lilly on backup vocals. And performing on Corden, Beck had a hell of a backing band: The LA Philharmonic, conducted by Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel. And as backup singers, Beck had Feist, Lilly, Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan, and the Bird And The Bee’s Inara George. Pretty good lineup! I don’t quite understand why Corden made a big deal out of Gustavo Dudamel but not Feist or Natasha Khan. Feist and Bat For Lashes are a bigger deal that Dudamel, right? Or is this my anti-classical music bias showing? Anyway, Cuarón introduced the performance himself, and you can watch it below.
Music Inspired By The Film Roma is out 2/8 on Sony Music Masterworks. It would be nice to get some new Bat For Lashes music sometime soon!