Beth and I went to see Ben Folds at Kings Theatre on Saturday night. I'm surprised that we were able to get tickets pretty late, and the theater wasn't full. I recently checked to see if there were still any tickets at the same venue for St. Vincent in December, and both nights were sold out. This was the first time we'd seen Ben in some time, and he still puts on a great show. It was just him with a piano (well, except when he had the opening act, Tall Heights, join in on "Still Fighting It"), and he explained his inspirations for the first few songs he played. "Your Uncle Walter" was based on a construction worker who used to get drunk and tell young Ben what he'd do if he were President, and that the song has now taken on more of a political significance. "Not a Fan" was inspired by a guy at a concert who insisted on knowing what "Brick" was about because, even though he wasn't a fan, his girlfriend was. The guy ended up pulling a knife and being removed by security, and he figured that the guy and his girlfriend couldn't be on the same page. He had people sing the harmony parts during "Bastard." And he ended "Steven's Last Night in Town" the same way he did at a show we attended years ago, with an extended drum solo on a set that the roadies built as he played.
The second part of the show was the request section, where he had people write their requests on paper airplanes and throw them at the stage.
He picked up ten at random, and while he did say he'd skip anything he didn't remember how to play, I'm not sure he actually had to do so. It ended up being seven Ben Folds Five songs and three from Rockin' the Suburbs, which could have just been coincidence, but it might be a little sad for Ben that nothing from the last sixteen years was included. He didn't seem bothered by it, though, and it was a good set. Ben admitted he hadn't played some of them in a long time. Beth couldn't think of a request, but when Ben played "Don't Change Your Plans," she said that's what she would have chosen if she'd thought of it. The venue had a curfew, but Ben wanted to do an encore anyway, so he played just the first verse and chorus of "One Angry Dwarf."
Yesterday, we went to a memorial service for our friend Gina, who died in August. I feel like pretty much everyone else there had known her better than we did, but I guess that's neither here nor there. It was billed as a celebration of life, so while it was definitely sad, it wasn't a somber affair overall. We had cake, a champagne toast, and cheese and crackers; and several people shared stories about Gina.