Ben Folds Five had not been on stage together in thirteen years. The last time they were on stage here in LA, there was not even one single iPhone trying to get a steady shot of the action. Not one person was "tagged" and no one tweeted about it! I would have loved to have been there! It's ok though, I made it to the Wiltern for their set last Thursday and it was a gloomy day in LA but a beautiful night in the venue.
Every doppelganger of my college-age crush came out to the show. You know the look, the guys that were hipsters before being a hipster was actually a thing. It was a beautiful sight. They were all there swaying along with the music with the 30 something couples that were enjoying a night on the town, so much so that they were described by their, too-cool-for-school seat neighbors, as belligerent.
Ben Folds Five came out onto the stage with the lights down and after a quick nod to the audience, began with The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind‘s “Michael Praytor, Five Years Later,”. Two songs into the set, Folds, turned to the audience and with a childlike smile, thanked the audience for joining them for the night. He turned back to the piano and kept up with the music.
It was easy to assume that most people there had grown up with Ben Folds Five CD’s in their collection and this was a bit of a much needed flashback for them all. Every audience member sang along later in the set when the band began Landed. It was a lovely group sing along for everyone. Surprisingly though, the band did not make it exclusively a flashback night. There were seven songs played from their newest release, The Sound of the Life of The Mind. The album has been well received and the music retains the feel of Ben Folds Five.
Brick was a surprising song to hear that night. Of course they should play it, it's the song that brought them to the spotlight years ago. It is just surprising that the audience will, on the arm of their date, belt out:
"Now that I have found someone, I'm feeling more alone Than I ever have before She's a brick and I'm drowning slowly"
So Romantic! Really though, it was a lovely, if heartbreaking song to hear live. If given the chance to go to a show, I highly recommend it. If you grew up loving the band, you will have a fantastic flashback night with new music thrown in and if you are just now getting into their sound, the live show is the only way to truly experience it.
Till next time, my friends, see you at the show!