Lampshade [Version (a)]:
I don't want no crying all upon my sleeve
I just want somebody who got no place to be
You call me up on Tuesday, I'll be stuck on Sunday night
Looking for some good things to make me feel alright
When I snap my fingers, when I walk the line
When I get my money, I'll be killin' time
Time is killin' something, it's just too small to care
Running through the jungle, looking for your hair (hare?)
Someone's talking backwards, looking for a fight
Puttin' on a lampshade 'cause you're shining way too bright
I don't want no crying, I don't want no pain
I don't want no lonesome life on a broken train
"Lampshade" stands easily among all of the fine songs Beck has ever written, one of his early classics. That it remains rare is a bit of a shame, though Beck has performed it live a few times over the years.
Beck's mournful harmonica playing and weary voice make the song, sounding very much like it's 5am and he just woke up, and the previous night still haunts him.
One night Beck introduced the song before playing it live by saying, "when you find those certain evenings where you're going around the bend a little too far, shining a little too bright, you got to put the lampshade on."
Played live 7 times:
Earliest known live version: June 28, 1994
Latest known live version: May 2, 2000
"Lampshade" has popped up in live sets very sporadically in Beck's career (and not at all since 2000). I sort of figure it must have had a few other airings pre-Mellow Gold
but those aren't readily documented.
1994 Mellow Gold tour
The only time this shows up on the Mellow Gold
tour was on June 28 in Milwaukee. A taper sent me the setlist, though I have not heard the show specifically. There MUST have been more "Lampshade"s if this one happened.
1997 post-Odelay gigs
Beck had to decide on some low-key acoustic folk songs to play during his set opening for Bob Dylan on December 16 1997. "Lampshade" was a perfect fit, and fortunately Beck remembered it. Beck's voice, a bit tentative after an illness, nonetheless fit the song. His sharp harmonica playing also helped make this one of the highlights of the evening.
1999 Mutations shows
Beck did not play a lot of Mutations
shows, but did throw "Lampshade" into an acoustic set on one of the gigs in Japan. Then when he came back home and played two low-key shows in Los Angeles, he included "Lampshade" at both. The first night, he preceded it with a long story about the song.
2000 Midnite Vultures shows
We have "Lampshade" down for two of Beck's Vultures
shows; both times he just tossed it into his short acoustic sets (once in New York; once in San Francisco).
It has not been played since.