After weeks of uncertainty about the status of the Silicon Planet tour, hip-hop folkie Beck has once again signed on for a scaled-down version of the cyber-festival, according to an event representative.
However, a source at Beck's label, Geffen Records, which has been in negotiations over the artist's appearance, offered a more cautious view. "We're still in negotiations," said the source, who preferred to remain anonymous. "No decision has been made yet." Beck balked at playing the tour after expressing concerns about how tickets were being handled and over a decision to make the shows open to the public.
While it was originally slated for a four-date jaunt through out-of-the-way venues in high-tech hotbeds, the newest incarnation of Silicon Planet calls for Beck and Devo to headline just two dates -- Oct. 10, in San Jose, Calif., and Oct. 17, in Seattle -- according to the event representative, who also did not want to be named.
Assuming this behind-the-scenes wrangling sorts itself out, Beck is set to solidify his band lineup for the tour by adding guitarist Tony Hoffer and former drummer Joey Waronker (who had left for a brief stint with Athens, Ga., superstars R.E.M.) for the two shows.
With his upcoming Mutations, an LP of self-described space-age folk-rock, set for release Nov. 3, the two dates will likely provide Beck with an opportunity to debut fresh material such as "Bottle of Blues," "Sing It Again" and "Cold Brains" before a live audience, prior to the release of the album.
Comedian David Spade will act as emcee of the shows, which will also include a Calvin Klein fashion show and a host of cyber-amusements. A portion of the proceeds from the shows will go to AIDS charities in the respective cities.
The Seattle show, initially slated to be played at Pier 48 on the Port of Seattle, has been switched to the Kingdome Pavilion because the original venue had "too low of a ceiling," according to the Silicon Planet representative. The Pavilion should maintain the same capacity of almost 5,000 people.
In a concession to Beck's desire that the shows be private, tickets will not be available through large-scale ticket agencies. "It will be private to a degree," the Silicon Planet representative said. "If you call Bass, tickets will not be available. It will be open in the sense that it's not that hard to get a ticket, if you can surf the Web, or pick up a phone and dial."
Among those left in limbo while waiting to learn if Beck would be back on the Silicon Planet tour were proto-new-wavers Devo, who jumped on board the tour largely for the chance to play with the popular platinum-selling artist, according to Devo bassist Jerry Casale.
"The opportunity to play with Beck was a large factor in saying yes," Casale said. "We really like Beck. He's one of the only artists today that's at all conceptual, that takes any chances, that's eclectic and has a sense of irony."