Exclusive Ticket Giveaway: BEN FOLDS
July 6, 2011
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Ben Folds and St. Louis go way back.
Thirteen Sixteen years, in fact. As front man of Ben Folds Five, with his solo career, and let’s face it, even with his astute and dignified judging of two rounds of NBC’s a cappella contest The Sing Off, Ben Folds has wowed audiences with his intelligence, talent, smart ass sense of humor, a few tossed piano stools, frantic keyboard stomping, and his signature piano punk for pussies. Here is a brief timeline, mostly crowd-sourced on Facebook, of an entire teenager’s life full of Ben Folds shows in St. Louis.
Riverport Amphitheater — August 19th, 1995 Ben Folds Five, POINTFEST IV (w such gems as Matthew Sweet, Jewel, etc)
Thank you, JAMIE ELLIS, who pointed out that I’d missed one, and incidentally, the only Ben Folds show she’d ever seen. I was a junior in high school and not allowed to drive that far away from my house at the time.
Riverport Ampitheater — July 24, 1997 H.O.R.D.E. fest Tour, (w Toad the Wet Sprocket, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Primus, etc.)
GEOFF LEVEINE “HORDE was my 1st time seeing Ben live. Played the side stage. Spotted Ben watching Toad The Wet Sprocket on the main stage.”
Thanks again to GEOFF! In the process of researching this show I came across the archives of our (Ben Folds Five spazzes) list serv, “The Magical Armchair.” The list was great for show reviews, guitar tabs, sheet music, sweet ASCII art, and just the knowledge that there was always someone dorkier than you.
The American Theater — February 14, 1998 Ben Folds Five w/Jude
This was the first concert I’d ever attended, if you don’t count storyteller Bobby Norfolk of Gator Tales fame, and I never do. The American was a beautiful venue and it barely contained the throng of nerds who didn’t sit once through the whole show.
Mississippi Nights — February 17th, 2000 “The Bens” tour, Ben Folds, Ben Harper, Ben Lee
The Pageant — September 29th, 2001 [Thanks to Geoff in the comments!]
Mississippi Nights — June 20, 2002
MIKE RENGEL “The ‘Ben Folds and his Piano’ tour, the tour he was doing to get recordings for Ben Folds Live. Great gig!”
ERIN JAMESON “Oversold and ridiculous, like all Mississippi Nights shows were. I had to sit down in the middle of the crowd so I didn’t pass out. Still, it was a pretty fun night.”
The Pageant — Nov 10, 2002 with Duncan Sheik
DAVE MCCUTCHEON: “Ben was still establishing his credentials as a crowd-pleasing maestro — I recall a splendid early version of ‘Not the Same’ where some folks were still confused over the inclination of the singalong chorus; it’s sort of like thinking back to when little kids were falling over their own two feet before growing up to be gymnasts.”
BEN FOLDS BARB on the Internet (so you know it’s real): “Opened with ‘Careless Whisper’ how cool is that?!”
Set list also included Ultimate Sacrifice (!), Last Polka, and Song for the Dumped in Major, Minor, and JAPANESE.
Simon Rec Center, Saint Louis University — October 8th, 2004 w/Ben Lee
DIANA BENANTI “The show started late because Ben wanted to watch the Bush-Kerry debate.”
The Fox Theater — June 23, 2004 with Rufus Wainwright and Guster
A triple bill in the beautiful Fabulous Fox. Ben was in the middle on this one, and pulled Rufus out to do George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” with him, voted best cover by the RFT. He conducted the game audience through BFF material, working from the stage, including a gorgeous a cappella version of “Army.”
Scottrade Center — July 2005, opened for Weezer
The Pageant — December 17th, 2005. River of Toys Show with Collective Soul, Vertical Horizon, & Natasha Beddingfield
Did *anybody* go to this show?? I remember it sold out really fast.
Brookings Quadrangle, Washington University — Spring 2006, Walk In, Lay Down
Riverport Amphitheater — June 20th, 2007 Opened for John Mayer
The Pageant – October 16, 2008
Huge production to promote Way to Normal. He played tracks from the album along with the fake versions of the songs he’d leaked online before its release. Band members wore huge foam smiley face costumes. The lighting and projections were crazy.
The Pageant – September 28, 2009
DAVID MCCUTCHEON: “[Ben Folds] shrunk The Pageant to the size of The Duck Room with makeshift intimacy in his conducting of the crowd.”
It was the first time I remember Ben being genuinely impressed with St. Louis’ choir skills. For me, it is the concert every Ben Folds show has to live up to.
Chaifetz Arena – April 16, 2010
DOOMED. The tickets for this show were pretty spendy by my standards, but I happily dropped serious bank to see him. It wasn’t until we arrived at the massive venue on SLU’s campus that we found out all the students got in for free. The sound was puny; loud, drunken assholes with Chat Roulette signs everywhere, and we were all very sad. But we got to see Ben play the drums (while the kit was being assembled, no less) and the pictures were still pretty fantastic.
The Pageant – January 30, 2011
DAVID MCCUTCHEON: “The ‘sleazy’ performance, with Folds and Co. covering Ke$ha. Fun fact: I requested my favorite of Folds’ solo renditions, Emaline, at 4am the night before via Twitter. Folds was gracious enough to play it during his solo tenure. [watch Emaline on You Tube]
The Ke$ha cover was because the band agreed to play whatever song was on the top of the iTunes chart the day of each show. It contained considerably more musicianship than Ke$ha’s version, but yeah, it was still kinda skeevy. Ben also recorded bits for a youtube video mashup, which quickly became tiresome…
But then he released THIS:
Which begins with St. Louis and straight up ends in a THANK YOU VERY MUCH ST. LOUIS!!!!!!!!