Some nights, living in L.A. has its perks - and Tuesday was one of those nights.

Beck played a special, intimate warm-up gig at the El Rey in preparation for his Santa Barbara Bowl show tonight, and I was sure to snatch up tickets as quickly as they were put on sale - there was just NO WAY I'd miss a shot to see him in such a tiny venue.

It was his first headlining gig in roughly four years, he said, and for it he was reconnected with the same backing musicians that helped write 2002's Sea Change and 1998's Mutations, two of the best records he's made in his lengthy, visionary career.

As such, they played many songs from Sea Change, which was a nice treat - Paper Tiger, The Golden Age, Lost Cause, Guess I'm Doing Fine, End of the Day, Sunday Sun, and Already Dead were all played, as was Dead Melodies (from Mutations).

Beyond the more introspective, quieter songs, Beck & his band - Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Smokey Hormel, Roger Manning and Joey Waronker - traveled up and down Beck's illustrious career, touching on songs from Odelay, Modern Guilt, Guero, and The Information.

In all, it was an excellent gig - Beck showed no rust in his first live performance in a while, sounding refreshed, energized and a true master of the stage.

It was a treat, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity.

As an added bonus, comedian Demitri Martin opened the gig with a surprise set, offering up some of his trademark Mitch Hedberg-ian observational humor.

Below, enjoy some photos from the gig and videos of Beck's performances of Where It's At and Sissyneck (played by request, for the first time in 10 years).

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