Live Music Shenanigans

Inspired by: F10-D-A” (2015) from the Ben Folds (with Y Music) album So There

I have seen Ben Folds perform live at least a dozen times, though the number is probably closer to 20 the more that I think about it. Aside from probably the first time I saw him – the X96 Big Ass Show in 1999 – it never fails that some jackass will scream from the audience “Rock this bitch!” at some point. It’s something that started at the early Ben Folds Five shows, when the “Five” were booking “rock clubs” and people would be surprised when there were only three dudes, one of which was playing a piano.

What followed was usually an improv of a song, usually including the name of the city where he’s playing or the venue or whatever else. He included a version on Ben Folds Live, from a show in Chicago. For some reason, some fans think that this is a good thing. Sometimes it can be cool – it’s still pretty cool seeing him do it with a full orchestra – but you can definitely count me as one of the people that think it doesn’t add much to the show.

After all, I’ve been at concerts – usually with a symphony, where it takes a little longer to bring it all together – where he’s had to cut the show short because he was going long and there was a time limit on how long he could play. I’d much rather see a fully arranged version of almost any other song than an improvised thing that takes ten minutes to put together, just to satisfy the people who want to be a part of the show.

That’s how I feel about “F10-D-A,” which ends up being a play on “Effed in the A” (haha so clever!) with a capable chamber music orchestra that put together a pretty decent album with him. Granted, it was probably thrown together in a few minutes and all that, and maybe I’m just an old man yelling at clouds on this point, but I don’t need more “Rock this bitch” in my life, I need less.

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