If you follow me on Twitter , you may have noticed that I coerced promised sexual favors was lucky enough to go see Ben Folds perform Saturday night with Katie and Army Boy.
I was thrilled all week, despite the drama with my stupid headaches and trying to get them under control so that I’d be assured of a good time at the concert.
Army Boy was excited, mostly because I’d showed him the Youtube video of Ben doing chat-roulette at his concerts, and he swore a lot. And swearing is funny to guys.
Both of us were excited because We? Were going on a date! A real one! With dinner! When you stay out past 10pm!
I took some extra time with hair and makeup, and wore one of my new sweaters from the Spring-related splurging of last week.
We got to the theater, and I started to have some misgivings. Mostly because I know that Ben Folds is “my thing.” I knew that Army Boy was with me because he knew it would make me happy, but I was slightly worried that he could get weirded out. As he clearly was by the overabundance of males wearing skinny jeans and indie glasses.
“How do they even fit in those?!” he questioned, wide-eyed. “I’d hate to think of what those would do to my-“
“Do you want to go to our seats?!” I interrupted brightly.
We took our seats in the gorgeous old theater, and spent some time people-watching. Someone in the general vicinity of me was wearing “Sunflowers” by Elizabeth Arden. I swear to God. Olfactory memory piped in with “Hello, Middle School!” If I could have found said person, I might have casually suggested a new scent. Just saying.
The lights went down, and a duo came out for the opening act. They started playing, and my anxiety level increased. They were Quirky! And Funny! And my man, who loves Three Doors Down and Breaking Benjamin, and other bands that macho men like was sure to either a: not understand or b: not be a fan.
As the singer started busting out into operatic runs, I looked with concern at AB… and he was enthralled. His eyes were wide and he laughed along with the rest of the audience at the witty lyrics and clever musicality.
By the end of the set, after a particularly hilarious song about Facebook, he agreed that we needed to get their cd.
The singer was Kate Miller-Heidke . She’s Australian, and remarkable. I love it when you get a kickass opening act, and have two great concert experiences in one. I’ve been listening to her album “Curiouser,” all day, and Army Boy burned a copy for his drive to work.
He likes “my music.” I’m… stunned. In a good way.
At around 9pm, the lights dimmed again and the audience started cheering. Ben Folds came out and took his place behind the piano. And that was it. Two hours of just Ben and a Piano.
(Side Note: The concert was called “Ben Folds and a Piano.” And for some reason I was… surprised? Didn’t believe them? I’m an ass.)
I saw him perform at a college concert about two years ago. It was a great time, but it was hot and crowded and wicked loud… I insisted on watching the show from the bleachers lining the gym where it was held. Claustrophobia and I are dear friends.
This time, the room was almost totally silent, with everyone transfixed by the music and lyrics, and on the edge of their seats waiting to see what he would play next. He didn’t disappoint- he varied from songs off Ben Folds Five albums, to “Rockin the Suburbs” and “Way to Normal.”
One of the highlights of the evening was his cover of “Bitches Ain’t Shit”. He claimed that he didn’t sing the second verse, and asked if anyone in the audience was familiar with it. A girl near the front jumped up right away, and he helped her onto the stage. After first apologizing to her mother, she sang a duet with Ben Folds. She knew every freakin’ (profane) word. Yes, I was a little jealous.
We got to hear two songs off his upcoming album, which has lyrics written by Nick Hornby. I don’t think I can wait for it to be released. It’s going to be epic, quite frankly. I mean, it’s got a song about Levi Johnston. With lyrics taken from his Myspace page, and a full choir and strings. “Shooting moose and kicking ass” just calls for orchestration, don’t you think?
He played two songs that require audience participation: “Army,” where the audience sings a two-part “trumpet” solo, and “Not the Same”, which require 3-part harmony. I’m a music nerd, and this thrills me to no end. Walking in with a group of random strangers and being coached to make music with them is so much fun. A group of 1500 people singing harmony is pretty remarkable.
In a similar moment, hearing most of the theater yell “FUCK!!” during “Rockin’ the Suburbs” made me picture the citizens of Central PA rolling their eyes and praying for us.
Close to the end of the show, he treated us to a performance of “The Luckiest,” which is possibly my favorite song of all time. I cried, I couldn’t help it. He hadn’t performed it on the last tour, and I’d been hoping to hear it since I got the tickets. When he started the intro, I immediately felt overwhelmed and was choking back tears. I loved it. That moment is why musicians create- to enable someone for one moment to let emotion overtake them and have a completely visceral response.