Wow! It’s been a long time between posts here on the ol’ blog, but I’m taking the time to put a quick one up here to talk about yet another personal Ben Folds live show experience for me.
This time, Alison and I went to see Ben Folds perform solo — just “Ben Folds and a Piano” (as the tour is known) — at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ. As I found out during this show, Ben Folds apparently lived in Upper Montclair for a brief period several years ago, so there was some reminiscing on Ben’s part and then a weird moment when somebody from our row — we were three rows from the stage — started having a conversation with Ben about somebody he knew from his short time living in the area.
It was my first time at the Wellmont and I must say it’s a nice venue…and the sound was great from the third row. We bought ourselves a couple of drinks in the lobby and I was concerned we’d have to down them before heading to our seats, but the orchestra seating area actually has at least a couple of bars toward the back and the seats are all individual chairs on a hard floor so I guess they’re not concerned with spillage like more traditional theater venues.
Anyway, onto the show itself…the opener was a fantastic Australian singer-songwriter named Kate Miller-Heidke, who performed with her musical partner/husband Keir Nuttall on acoustic guitar. KMH, as I’ll call her, showed off her amazing voice in her first number, “Our Song,” a beautiful track from her 2008 CD Curiouser (iTunes link). But she followed that up with very intelligent, witty and profanity-laced pop songs that were catchy, funny and amazing. The best moment was when KMH moved over to piano and performed her “Are You F*cking Kidding Me?” — which really should have the parenthetical subtitle (“The Facebook Song”). It is a cleverly written track describing her reaction to receiving a Facebook friend request from an ex. Fortunately, for those of us in the U.S., the American release of Curiouser includes a live version of the song as a bonus track. If you like beautifully sung, intelligent, mature pop music that ranges from heart-wrenching (“The Last Day on Earth”) to hysterical (“God’s Gift to Women”), then definitely check out KMH.
As for Ben Folds…well, he was brilliant as usual. Unfortunately, I spent most of the first song getting up and down to make room for people moving in and out of our row because some freakin’ kids sitting in the row behind us — without tickets for those seats — thought they could just direct people who had those tickets to sit in the row in front of them — our row — without there being any consequences. Of course, when people showed up to sit in those seats as Ben started playing, all hell broke loose in our row. At one point, I just yelled out “This is ridiculous.” One couple responded that it wasn’t their fault because the kids were in their seats in the row behind us. I replied loudly, “Don’t worry. I know (and turning to the row behind us)…it’s all their fault because they don’t know how to read a freakin’ ticket!” At that point, the kids took their sense of entitlement and finally went to their proper seats and order was restored.
From that point on, though, the show was great…Ben talked about seeing a video by Insane Clown Posse that was going to stick with him forever. He then tried to play his song, “Sentimental Guy,” but kept cracking up at the thought of the Insane Clown Posse video and couldn’t even get through the first verse of the song. After three or four attempts, he just moved on to another song (near the end of the show, Ben finally got around to getting through “Sentimental Guy”).
Unfortunately, Ben didn’t play “Zak and Sara,” which is a personal favorite (I also found this odd because one of the t-shirts being sold at the merch table featured an illustration inspired by “Zak and Sara”). However, he did play old favorites like “Kate”, “Emaline” (after someone yelled it out from the audience), “Narcolepsy”, “One Angry Dwarf” and the always-amazing “Philosophy”…so that made up for it.
Oh, actually, there was one more encounter with the “Entitlement Kids”…right after the show ended and people started heading to the exits, a couple of the kids who were sitting in the wrong seats came back to reunite with their friends who did have tickets for seats in the row behind us. One girl decided to walk on the seats and spill some of her drink on me as she went by. I was all set to lecture the kids, but was led out of the theater by Alison to avoid any conflict.
But it was a great night of music overall. Ben was his typical outstanding self and KMH was a fantastic musical discovery.