Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ben Folds at the Mann Center

Ben Folds at the Mann Center with members of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
Ben Folds Philadelphia
Sorry but the Mann Center never fails to make my camera very aware of its limitations!!
Uploaded this vid, "The last polka":

Setlist started with a rocking "Zak and Sara" followed by "Smoke" and then a number of songs that included "One down and 3.6 to go", "Landed", "Gracie", "Jesusland", "The ascent of Stan" and others and ended with only one encore, "Lucky". It literally poured with rain that night (hurricane Hanna), I was soaked as many others there, and towels and plastic bags turned to ponchos abounded. Thankfully it stopped raining before the end of the show... still I had never seen the Mann that full -though it wasn't totally sold out. People were real fans, constantly cheering and singing along. But too many wouldn't stay in their seats and spent the night leaving and returning, find that a bit rude.
He would talk in between some of the songs, telling really funny stories. Ben is a fantastic pianist, the orchestra sounded very good in some songs (loved loved loved the woman that directed it - he said too that she was his favourite), a little weird or excessive in others (like that song about parking problems, was kind of funny to hear with those luxurious arrangements...). Also the piano's sound was sometimes turned too low so it was hard to hear it at its quietest parts, specially at the beginning of the act. Speaks volumes about his humbleness but really, we want to hear him. Plus, as a result, it made him play it a bit too hard at times. He did play two songs alone: "One down and 3.6 to go", and "The last polka".
Anyway, he comes up with these tunes that you seem to already have in your heart. "Smoke" (a song I had never heard before that night, I'm a real Folds newbie) was the best to me, magic. Personally like it much more than the cd version.
When the show was over he left through the usual back door as quietly as possible, looking down at his shoes walking over the puddled pavement, looking like he hoped nobody would notice him. Somebody asked him where he was going for drinks, he answered "unless it's at the airport..". Then a group of people managed to take a photo with him -in a rush- and he disappeared into the night.

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