Japan Osaka Castle Hall

You are invited again to ponder what is cool and what is leg-pull...

It takes more than a dash of diamante evangelism, a burst of stage aerobics and a little local dialect to charm the crowd. Despite the glittery illuminations, the rotating keyboard wizard and a bass player who looked like an extra from Boogie Nights, it just isn’t quite right.

It is clear that [a]Beck[/a]’s exuberance is more forced than infectious. The lips are saying, “I feel like making love”, but the pheromones just aren’t flowing. It takes a minor revelation with ‘Debra’ midway through the set to turn up the heat – the ultimate track from ‘Midnite Vultures’, it’s a lascivious, falsetto wonder.

Where other songs from the album are awkwardly arranged for the madcap stage show, ‘Debra’ is allowed to run free. Where he’d been over-anxious to please, [a]Beck[/a] suddenly becomes suave and seductive, emphasising the song’s sensuality on that big, red bed that descends from above the stage.

Tonight’s set list might sound like a car radio being tuned by a speeding drunk, but instead it seems somehow natural that the ingenuous acoustic interlude should be wedged between the brassy sunshine of ‘Tropicalia’ and the white boy rap of ‘Where It’s At’.

Tired and subdued, ‘Devil’s Haircut’ dissolves into an odd piece of paramedic-meets-road worker theatre piece that serves as the final curtain.

Watching [a]Beck[/a] unfurl a roll of bright yellow ‘do not cross’ tape, you are invited again to ponder what is cool and what is leg-pull. But that’s how it’s always is with [a]Beck[/a].