Last Thursday night, Ben Folds, just a little begrudgingly, rocked Charleston’s suburbs. Don’t get me wrong. He was charming, polite, witty (and even nerdier in person), but he couldn’t resist the chance to get in a few barbs at North Chuck’s less-than-attractive landscape. “When I come to Charleston, I usually come to the center part of town,” he said. “The nice part.” He then improvised a lovely little song about strip malls and eating at the Golden Corral. But it was all in good fun.
After an opening set from the Miniature Tigers, Ben and his four bandmates started things off with the dramatic “Way to Normal,” very reminiscent of Yes. The first half of the set they played a lot of newer rockin’ stuff, epileptic lights flashing, Ben hunched over his grand piano a little maniacally. After several songs, the band left the stage and Ben took things down a notch to play some solo songs. During this time, the audience started to show its rude side. Despite being the most intimate part of the concert, people constantly got up, squeezing by everyone on the row to get a beer, or in the case of one big girl in the front row who got up at least six times, to get a tray of snacks (Seriously??). Then someone else yelled for Ben to “just play the piano” when he was in the middle of telling a story about hitting a bear while on tour. He then climbed on top of his piano and proceeded to tell a much more drawn-out version of the story to spite the bitch. Take that, rude audience. The second half of the show featured a lot more of his classic stuff, like “Zak and Sarah,” “Army,” and “Rockin’ the Suburbs.” While the restless people in the crowd pissed me off, the majority demonstrated their love for Ben by singing along to most of the songs, clapping and calling out when appropriate (as in the climactic “F*ck!” in “Rockin’ the Suburbs”). The only songs I missed were “Song for the Dumped” and “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.” We clapped long and hard for the encore, and Ben wrapped up the show by conducting the audience in an beautiful, angelic sing-along.
Thanks Chuck for sharing the pics!
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City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.