Last night I went to see the sold out Ben Folds/Rufus Wainwright/Ben Lee show at PromoWest Pavilion.
I'd never heard any of Ben Lee's music, but he was pretty cool. And he knew his role in the concert ("the next song is the perfect 'shuffling in' music"). Ben Folds came on next and kicked much ass. Any performer that utilizes stage banter AND audience participation is tops in my book. He transformed the audience into a chorus singing "ah ah"s during "Not the Same" (as cool as that was, I was really looking forward to being part of the horn section of "Army," but he didn't do that song last night). It was great to hear "Gone" (one of my faves of his) live. He brought Rufus Wainwright out to sing the chorus of Wham's "Careless Whisper." The highlight, though, was his take on Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit" - classic. He left the stage after only playing for little more than an hour, which was a bummer. No one in my posse (me, my cousin, his girlfriend) is much of a RW fan, so we opted to go to a bar rather than see him perform.
Trivia: The photograph for the "Jesusland" page in the Songs for Silverman CD's booklet was taken around City Center Mall in Columbus. Neat!
My question is this: Has Ben Folds' fanbase gotten younger? Seriously, when I first discovered his music, the overwhelming majority of the people in the audience were still wearing shortpants (likely bought at Abercrombie & Fitch). There were only a handful of people in the audience around my age (read: aging pseudo-hipsters). And oh, the eye candy. I hadn't felt this much like a dirty, old man since I saw Mean Girls in the theater. The crowd provided as much entertainment as the music. Besides the aformentioned PYTs, there was the extremely wasted guy laying on the ground in front of us, whose girlfriend got more and more pissed off at him as the show progressed. Then there was the group of high school guys smoking cheap-ass supermarket cigars before trading up to the wacky tobaccy. Ah, youth. We saw Ben Folds' only black fan (my theory is she was duped into going to the show by her friends). My favorite, though, was the solitary middle-aged Asian man who was constantly smiling while he held a cup of beer that was bigger than him. Sadly, he disappeared sometime after Ben Lee's set. Vaya con Dios, good sir.
PromoWest is an outdoors/indoors venue. I'd only been there once, to see an indoors Stephen Lynch show (he described the room as looking like a "gay prison"). Incidentally, Lynch filmed a bit for his DVD on Columbus's own Gay Street. But I digress. I'd never been to an outdoors show at PromoWest and I was impressed with the set up. We had lawn seats at the very back and still had a good view. The music wasn't too loud. It was refreshing to leave a show without a bad case of concert ear.
To sum up: good show, although next time Ben Folds rolls into town I hope he isn't co-headlining or playing with a full band.
Oh yeah - no concert post would be complete without the obligatory "Ticketmaster sucks" comment: Ticketmaster sucks.