Friday, January 26, 2007

Ben Folds - Sheffield City Hall

Every time I've seen Mr Folds, (three now) it's been a completely different experience. My first gig at Sheffield Octagon was utterly euphoric - it went from a sit down gig to a rocking, free-wheeling juggernaut filled with requests and improvisation. Then the show at Brixton Academy was a proper Rock Gig. Ben powered through (in a good way), the band were huge, and the audience sang every word.

Then there was last night at Sheffield City Hall, and it was different again. The watch-word of the night - fun. The guys looked like they were having a blast which is always the most beautiful thing for a fan to see. The set list was great - the recent songs really come alive when played live, and older songs were re-invigorated. Underground-with-a-band was something I'd come to think I'd never get to see, so that was pretty special for me, and Evaporated, one of the most beautiful song Ben has ever written, brought a gorgeous hush across the audience... It was a sit-down gig throughout, but there was loads of audience interaction (including a guy who was dancing so energetically in the aisles that he was invited onstage by Ben to do 'an interpretive dance') and a massive amount of improv and messing around, especially with Ben's new toy, a red synth keyboard. That's an absolutely fabulous addition, and hopefully it's not a fad.

The band were great when they were rocking out, but sometimes they were smaller but funkier and I absolutely loved that. Sam Smith from The Comfies was on drums, taking over from the lovely Lindsay who's really hurt at the moment - and he was an utter hero. This was his third gig with Ben and Jared Reynolds on bass but my God you'd never know it. And Jared... well I love the guy. He's got such an amazng presence that I often get drawn to looking at him. He makes me feel that when I'm going to see Ben, I'm going to see a band, not a solo artist, such is the importance of what he brings to the table. Ben? Well, he was a generous, rocking, beautiful, funny, sensitive, potty-mouthed mutha as always. Just being able to sit there and watch him play feels like a massive honour. His canon is now so huge, so strong, that every song feels like a killer.

Right, being just three rows back I've got some kick-ass photos on my camera, but there they shall stay til I get access to my card reader in a couple of days, but needless to say you'll get to see them.

"We can be happy underground..."


Dean said...

I was waiting for that post :D

Sounds cool, am eagerly awaiting sunday's gig now!

AnnaWaits said...

Glad you're up for it :D Should be a good one!

Mellie Bean said...

Sooo jealous and glad that you had a good time. I am linking your entry over on ye badgerboard, btw ...

AnnaWaits said...

Oh thanks so much :) I'll pop over!

Stu said...

Anna, great review - very similar to the Hammersmith show that I commented on here:

Great blog!