December 5, 2001
quite seem to make sense to place a pop-punk 311 wannabe rock
group before Ben Folds. This assertion makes even more sense when
you take into account the point behind the title track to Folds'
solo album, Rockin' the Suburbs. The song is a trashing
of Limp Bizkit and the other bands out there who "rock out"
and "kick ass," so why would you put one of these bands
before Ben Folds?
I don't know
complaints aside, Ben Folds puts on a spectacular live show. Playing
to a near-capacity house at Madison, WI's Orpheum Theatre for
local radio station 92.1's annual Jingle Ball, Folds showed the
audience that not only has he grown with the release of his latest
album, but he's also grown in the quality his live performance.
The show opened
with "Not the Same" followed by "Zak and Sara,"
both off the latest album. Unfortunately for Ben, he broke a string
on the piano after "Zak and Sara." Still, he managed
to work around it and it didn't impede on the show.
from Suburbs, Folds focused primarily on a more mature
sound than previous shows with Ben Folds Five had produced. Together
with a backing band of two guitarists/keyboardists and a live
drummer, Folds overwhelmingly pleased the audience of mostly college-aged
With an encore
composed primarily of Ben Folds Five-era songs, and Folds on solo
piano, he managed to please the entire audience with standards
of "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" and "Philosophy,"
along with a stunningly beautiful rendition of "Evaporated"
(a rarely-played song from Whatever and Ever Amen).
surely matured, both in sound and in technique, since his earlier
days. Still, even with the new backing band, the show retained
a fun quality, due mostly to the great chemistry that was apparent
throughout the stage.
Ben Folds demonstrated what makes a great show: good songs, mastered
skills, and a great attitude. Who cares if the opening band sucked?
It's a small price to pay.
like Ben Folds...
Not the Same
2. Zak and Sara
4. Annie Waits
5. Still Fighting It
6. Hiro's Song
7. Losing Lisa
8. The Ascent of Stan
9. Fred Jones Pt. 2
11. Make Me Mommy
12. Rockin' the Suburbs
13. Eddie Walker
15. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
17. Song for the Dumped