Ben Folds Concert Review

I know y’all have been waiting with baited breath for this submission. I would have posted sooner, but I had other things on my mind, plus I was waiting to see if someone would post the set list for the show on the Internet somewhere, but, alas, nobody has. I remember most of the songs that he played, though not the order. I do remember that he played a variety of songs, including a lot of songs from the Ben Folds Five days. He also mentioned that he hurt himself playing at “the piano bar across the street” before his set, which was kind of upsetting, because I think we would have rather seen him do that then watch Jukebox the Ghost and Out of the Blue perform. Not to say that they were not good openers for Mr. Ben. He has a knack for picking good openers. At WestCONN, he had Julia Nunes rocked the bitch on her ukulele, and the Boston show had Missy Higgins, who has been getting some play on VH1 and Top 40 stations, even
Muzak at the grocery stores. We still went to the piano bar afterwards, hoping that he would show up again, but it was to no avail.

Anyway, below is a list and a little snippet about each song.

Lovesick Diagnostician – This is the “fake” version of the song “Dr. Yang” from his latest album “Way to Normal.” If you haven’t heard the story, Ben Folds did the album, then “leaked” a fake version of the album on the internet, with songs that he and his touring band just recorded in a few hours one day. This song is about a guy who goes to his doctor for help with his girl issues. He can’t get his girlfriend back and now she won’t take his calls. He is hoping Dr. Yang will give her a call and let her know that he is not crazy anymore and that she should take his calls.

Dr. Yang – The real version of this song is not as good as the fake, in my opinion. This was the case with a couple of the fake songs that he did.

Effington – A song about a town called Effington that Mr. Folds past one time while riding the tour bus. It is somewhere in Indiana or Illinois, because he is “on his way to Normal, Illinois.”

Free Coffee – For this song, Ben puts a tin of Altoids in his piano and plays the song through a distortion thing, making it sound really nifty. If you get one Ben folds song off of iTunes, this would be the one to get, especially the live version.

Bitch Went Nutz – This is also a fake song, hence the “z” spelling to differentiate from the real version “Bitch Went Nuts.” This song is about a Republican lawyer who is a rising star at his law firm. Until he brings the wrong girl to the “Christmas office party” and she starts spouting “off her liberal garbage” to “all [his] bosses and all [his] friends.”

Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hits His Head) – This song is kind of a tribute to “Benny and the Jets” with similar musical sounds. But the song is about a concert in Hiroshima, Japan that Mr. folds fell of the stage and gave himself a concussion and a bloody nose, playing the first few songs
with “blood on the keyboard.”

Brainwascht – This was a Song of the Week back in December or so. It is about some former musical partners that started to be retarded towards Ben, then tried to dime him out in one of their songs, which he refers to as a “bad country demo.” Good stuff!

Zak and Sara – From the album “Rocking the Suburbs,” this is a concert staple. I think he has played this at every concert since that particular album came out.

Fred Jones, Pt. 2 – A little bit slower song, about a guy that gets fired from his newspaper job after 25 years. I think this was the first time that I have heard it, but I could be mistaken. He might have played it with the symphony in Philadelphia. I’ll have to check my notes.

Not the Same – Another super great song. A “true” story about a guy who does ecstasy at a party and climbs a tree, passes out, and wakes up the next morning a born-again Christian, then proceeds to proselytize the good word.

Rockin’ the Suburbs – Title track from said album. I don’t really like this song live because he plays the opening on piano, while the album version is a rocking guitar riff. Memorable for the video with some new phat dance moves that I am in the process of learning, also an appearance by “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Jesusland – Off of his second solo album “Songs for Silverman.” A song about the “urban sprawling” of America and a fictional amusement park called Jesusland where the city around the amusement park does not live up to the Jesusland feeling.

Landed – I think this is a break-up song, and also about not listening to crazy exes or something.

Philosophy – From the first Ben Folds Five album, like “Best Imitation of Myself.” Good stuff.

Best Imitation of Myself – One of my all-time favorite Ben Folds songs. This is from the very first album of Ben Folds Five, called, coincidentally, “Ben Folds Five.” I didn’t really start listening to Ben Folds until “Whatever and Ever, Amen” but I did go back and buy this
album eventually. Has some great songs, like “Jackson Cannery” and “Underground.”

Boxing – He played this song by himself, just him and the piano. The song is about Howard Cossell for some reason, and is a great ballad.

Annie Waits – A song from “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner,” the commercial album that was not commercial enough and ultimately led to the break-up of the band.

Army – The ultimate audience participation song. Usually he will split the audience between saxophones and trumpets for the musical breakdown, but he didn’t do it this time, but everyone figured out what to do. Good times.

Lullabye – Another ballad, and one that I heard for the first time live in New Haven. For this one, he was by himself again, and mentioned that he is working on a new album with Nick Hornsby. For this song, he had an author give him the words, and he wrote the music. What results is a song about a “small flight in the middle of the night” with “Uncle Richard, me, and James Earl Jones.”

Bastard – Another song from “Songs for Silverman.” About a bastard. I think.

Alice Childress – I think he also played this by himself, but I can’t remember. He played it though.

I think there was another song, but I can’t remember what he played as an encore right now. I’ll have to update that later.

Again, I encourage everyone to go to a Ben Folds concert while you are young. I think I am going to follow him around on whatever tour he is on for a few months when I get back from my upcoming deployment. I’ll be a “Foldsite” like my mother the Grobanite.

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