Concert Review: Ben Folds, Live

This is the fourth concert I’ve been to in less than two weeks, and I’m happy to say that it’s been four for four in terms of excellent performances. Well, at least in terms of main acts.

Duncan Sheik opened, and while he was not bad per se, he picked a totally wrong set. He started off with three slow songs in a row for 1800 standing college students, which was kind of dumb, then tried to cover Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees.”


His set was relatively brief though, so that was nice.

Ben Folds is fucking awesome with a band, and although I had heard his “just me and a piano” stuff was rockin’ too, I still wasn’t really sure what to expect. I am happy to report that he’s still damn good without a band.

I’m still partial to his performances with either his solo band or with Ben Folds Five, but he’s quite good solo. Most of the songs he played were BFF era songs, which I’m not nearly as familiar with as I should be, but he threw in a few from his solo album.

However, he played “Song For The Dumped (In A Minor Key)”, and I got to sing “Give me my money back, you bitch!” right along with the rest of the crowd, so I was happy.

He also did a number of covers I liked, including Liz Phair’s “Chopsticks,” (which I give him serious props for not changing the lyrics to, especially with all the crazy frat boys in the crowd), an Elliott Smith song I didn’t recognize, and a song I think was a George Michael song…

The show was billed as “Ben Folds and A Piano.” To be a bit more accurate, it was Ben Folds, A Piano, A Drum Kit, and The Audience.

He did a little drum solo on a kit that got built on the fly. He’s actually a really damn good drummer, which one should certainly expect given the ferocity with which he whales on his piano.

He also had a bunch of songs where he got the audience to participate by singing harmonies (and it was a remarkably on-key audience, which was nice). Ben definitely has a future being a music teacher or a choir director if the whole rock star thing gets old.

The one weird thing was that my friend Jon and his boyfriend Jon came, and then they met up with another friend of theirs, whose name is also Jon. We ran into Adam, my roommate, and I was like, “Adam, these are my friends, Jon.”

And of course, Adam eventually came home from the Daily with two of his friends, both named Matt.

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