While Ben Folds may sound like old news to some, I am here as a witness to tell you that he is possibly in the best form of his life. Admittedly I’m a little biased, as Ben Folds Five was my favorite band from the time I was fourteen until I graduated from high school (and discovered Fugazi).
The tickets read “Ben Folds and Piano” and that was exactly what we got. Folds proved his musical prowess and the fact that when you rock the piano as hard as he does, you don’t need a backing a band. The audience sang along to every word of every song and Folds used this his advantage, taking a few moments before a number of songs to “teach” the audience a simple harmony or two to act as his backing vocals. The effect was excellent.
Unlike some shows where the band simply plays the entirety of their last album and then leaves the stage, Folds was full of chatter and stories, including the fact that Atlanta was the test market for Ben Folds Five final failed album and our city’s extreme dislike for the album’s first single was part of the reason for its ultimate failure and the bands subsequent break-up. This didn’t seem to get Folds down at all though as he seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself for the duration of the show.
For fans of Folds, this was an amazing show and one would have to imagine that even those wavering on the fence would have to have been drawn in not only by Folds’ showmanship but by his always amazing skill at bringing music that rocks out of something as seemingly basic as a piano.
(thanks to @cjtracon for the great pics!)