(First a word from Kurt) Cristina sent me a text message one day demanding I buy tickets to Ben Folds at Tulane‘s McAllister Auditorium. Kind of odd since she never demands anything. I logged in and purchased the tickets. She was excited; I wasn’t.
I have no problem with Ben Folds. I just don’t really care. I was doing this for her. That was until I heard the opening act was going to be Minus the Bear.
I first heard about them around 2002 with the release of Highly Refined Pirates their first LP. Any band that names a song “Thanks for a Killer Game of Crisco Twister” will catch my attention. In fact, their song titles are catchier than most other bands’ songs. The music lived up to the title. Clever and playful melodies that take you somewhere. Learning they were going to be at the show now made me excited for the gig.
They didn’t disappoint. Even though they aren’t presently on tour they were tight and seemed to be having fun. The crowd on the other hand was truly there to see Ben Folds. I truly was the odd ball out in that I was there to only see them plus I was a frontrunner for the oldest guy in the place.
They finished their set with “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse” which is my favorite song of theirs. While were in Paris, I would annoy Cristina by singing the song. How couldn’t I with lyrics such as “we have to plan our day, the Rodin and D’Orsay.” Yet, the day we did have planned the D’Orsay was closed. Well, at least we got to sit on “park bench that’s older than my country.”
Cristina’s turn to now talk about the amazingness that is Ben Folds. (Yes, Cristina wrote this.)
Ben Folds is one of those people I’ve wanted to see since college. With or without Five, with The Bens, any way you slice him, I adored his music. Unfortunately, I’ve never come close to seeing him live. As I’m randomly checking facebook after school one day, I see he’s coming to Tulane University. For $15. Are you kidding me?!
When Kurt and I arrive, I immediately see some old college friends. Sweet! We catch up with them while waiting in line, and manage to all get about 5th row when we enter the auditorium. Though Kurt was super excited for Minus the Bear and stood up and danced the whole time, I enjoyed them while sitting. As soon as Ben Folds came on the stage, I became the geeky fangirl I’ve always been, taking my turn to stand up and dance.
Ben Folds was everything I knew he’d be. It was just him and his piano, beautifully and masterfully singing his best songs. He was so energetic, funny, and engaging with the audience. The crowd, most of them college students, were extremely into him, which I thought was awesome that he was still touching people musically.
Though singing crowd favorites like Army, Still Fighting It, Zak and Sara, Annie Waits, and Brick, he left out my absolute favorite song, The Luckiest (which I know he plays live still!). During B****es Ain’t S***, he pulled a girl audience member up on stage to sing it as he played the piano accompaniment. She did such a great job, and the audience was so supportive and singing along with her. Such a great moment for her! He also made up two different songs about New Orleans on the spot, solidifying my belief that he is a musical mastermind. At one point, they pulled out a drum set and he did an awesome drum solo, making the crowd go wild. He ended the show with Not The Same, having the audience take part with the “ahhh ahhhhhhh” harmonies.
In all, it was everything and more than what I hoped for. Checking this one off the bucket list for musical acts I must see.
Here’s clip of him I shot while singing Brick. Sorry for the weird in and out of focus thing that seems to be going on, I think the strobe lighting was affecting my camera’s focus. Enjoy!